GES2050 - Digital Earth - Schedule

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Fall 2015

Aug. 24 - Introductions, The Digital Earth Idea, Setting the Stage for Digital Earth


1) Student and instructor introductions
2) The Digital Earth idea
3) Course objectives and logistics
4) Course overview: To provide an introduction to key geographic / spatial information technologies in exciting ways
5) Computing and Windows basics: File Explorer, directory structures, file and folder naming conventions, copy/paste, the utility of NotePad, the 'snipping' tool, more...
6) Finish PART ONE of Exercise One before leaving class today

Before class next week:
Make as much progress as possible on Exercise One (your GES2050 website)

Aug. 31 - Evolution of Digital Earth Concept, Brief History of GIS


1) Evolutioin of the Digital Earth idea
2) A brief history of geospatial technologies
3) Finish all of Exercise One before leaving class today

Sept. 14 - Cartographic Basics - LAB ONE


1) Cartographic basics: map scale, datums, projections, coordinate systems
2) Example of a well-thought out map

Lab One Due by 5:00 pm Sept. 20

Finish Lab One: Asking Questions of Maps - Interacting with the 'This Dynamic Planet' Map

Sept. 21 - Goals of Map Use, Data Models (R/V), Virtual Globes, Google Earth - LAB TWO

1) Goals of map use (cartography cubed)
2) Data models - raster and vector
3) Virtual Globes (VGs)
4) GE demos: Machu Picchu, Peru; Seattle, WA 3D buildings / street view; Grand Canyon, AZ; weather layers

Before class next week:
Read the following two documents:

  1. Congressional Research Service Report, Jan., 2010 - Geospatial Information and Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Current Issues and Future Challenges (PDF)
  2. Butler, D. 2006. The Web-Wide World, Nature, Vol 439

Lab Two Due by 5:00 pm Sept. 27
Finish Lab Two: Documenting the Variety of Cultural / Physical Geography in El Paso County, Colorado Using the VG Google Earth

Sept. 28 - Common Geospatial Data and Imagery (and where to get it), SkylineGlobe - LAB THREE

1) Discuss readings
2) Common geospatial data file types (e.g., DOQ, DRG, DLG, DEM, TIN, GeoPDF, SHP, TIGER SHP, KML, plus GOES and Landsat)
3) Online Govt. and commercial data delivery portals (e.g.,, US Census Bureau,, Center for LIDAR Information Coordination and Knowledge (CLICK), Landsat Global Information Viewer (GLOVIS), NOAA Satellite and Information Service)

Before 5:00 pm Oct. 4
Finish Lab Three: Estimating the Extent of Urban Sprawl on Long Island, NY, and Other Exciting Geographic Explorations Using the Virtual Globe SkylineGlobe

Oct. 5 - Global Positioning Systems (GPS) Theory

1) Primary and secondary data
2) GPS theory
3) Practice with GPS receivers (to prepare for next week's GPS data collection)
> collect ONE waypoint at fire hydrant near main entrance (nw corner) of parking garage, write lat. / long. on the board
4) Review Excel spreadsheet (to prepare for next week's GPS data entry process)

Oct. 12 - Global Positioning Systems (GPS) In Practice - LAB FOUR, PART I - data collection / data entry

1) Group field work: Collect waypoints across campus (using a large scale (e.g., 'zoomed in') GE image of the UCCS campus as a guide, students collect / average waypoints using Garmin ETREX GPS receivers
2) Group data entry into database:

NOTE: The two documents used in class today (data_collect.docx and gps_to_gis.xls) are in Brandon's faculty outbox here: ges2050\lab4docs

Before this Friday @ 5:00 pm:
Email Brandon your group's Excel file for review FROM YOUR UCCS email account - MAKE SURE all group members are included (CCed) on the email, using their UCCS email account.

Oct. 19 - Global Positioning Systems' (GPS) Integration with GIS; GIS in Theory and Practice - LAB FOUR, PART II - GPS in GIS

1) Demo - ArcMap interface, important components, common tasks
2) Georectification (what you are doing in Lab Four)
3) Lab Four

Before 5:00 pm Oct. 25
Finish Lab Four: GPS and GIS - Using Control Points Collected in the Field to Georeference a .jpg of the UCCS Campus

Oct. 26 - Test One

Nov. 2 - NO CLASS - Applied Geography Conference, San Antonio, TX

Nov. 9 - Geographic Visualization (Geovisualization) - LAB FIVE

1) Geovisualization theory
2) Geovisualization practice:
> Case study: lightning climatology of Colorado
3) Lab Five

Before 5:00 pm Nov. 15
Finish Lab Five: Geovisualization and Pattern Discovery - Draping Geology and Cultural Features over Topography

FRIDAY NOV. 13 - FIELD TRIP TO NWS PUEBLO. WE ARE TAKING A SHUTTLE. Meet in Lot 580 (free parking) at 9:00 am. We'll return by 1:30 pm.

Nov. 16 - Remote Sensing (RS) - LAB SIX


1) Image compression
2) Remote sensing basics -- electromagnetic radiation (EMR) and the electromagnetic spectrum, platforms, geostationary vs. polar-orbiting satellites, four resolutions, active/passive RS, applications
3) RS in archaeology - an example using Landsat (a short NOVA video)
4) Lab Six

Before 5:00 pm Nov. 22
Finish Lab Six: Remote Sensing - IDRISI: Using Landsat Imagery and NDVI to Distinguish Vegetation near Pueblo, Colorado

Nov. 23 - Geomorphometry / Digital Terrain Modeling; Spatial Analysis - LAB SEVEN

1) The role of scale in measurement
2) Techniques for measuring the complexity of lines and surfaces in digital environments
3) Tips for Lab Seven: Glacial features, volume of 1/2 a cylinder
4) Lab Seven

Before 5:00 pm Nov. 29
Finish Lab Seven: Digital Terrain Modeling and Geomorphometry using Peter Guth's MicroDEM


Nov. 30 - Neighborhood Operations, Data Interpolation - LAB EIGHT

1) Spatial data interpolation: a few methods
2) Roving windows (neighborhood operations)
3) Lab Eight

Before 5:00 pm Nov. 31
Finish Lab Eight: Spatial Analysis and DEMs - Mountain Geography: Investigating Colorado Fourteeners Pixel by Pixel

Dec. 7 - TED Talks,, and Exam Two review

1) TED Talks GIS-related videos:

2) In class group exercise: Test Two review

Dec. 14 - Test Two - Time

Schedule may change. Changes announced in class and posted here.