Penn State has made its popular Maps and the Geospatial Revolution MOOC available as a self-paced online course. The course expands on the video series that came out in 2011. Each lesson is comprised of written and video lectures, video activities, mapping assignments, and questions at end for extended discussions. The course content is provided as “a free resource that you may use and re-use under a Creative Commons License.”
A description of the course:
This course brings together core concepts in cartography, geographic information systems, and spatial thinking with real-world examples to provide the fundamentals necessary to engage with Geography beyond the surface-level. We will explore what makes spatial information special, how spatial data is created, how spatial analysis is conducted, and how to design maps so that they’re effective at telling the stories we wish to share. To gain experience using this knowledge, we will work with the latest mapping and analysis software to explore geographic problems.
The course is divided into five lessons:
How to Learn GISLesson One: The Geospatial Revolution; highlighting the massive changes in geospatial and mapping technology in recent years and their impact on people from all walks of life.
Lesson Two: Spatial is special; an exploration of spatial thinking and geographic thought to provide the context necessary to understand the underpinnings of the Geospatial Revolution.
Lesson Three: Spatial data; how spatial data is created, what makes it different from other types of information, and how it is managed using new technologies.
Lesson Four: Spatial analysis; basic techniques for solving geographic problems that take spatial relationships into account.
Lesson Five: Cartographic design; fundamentals necessary to design great maps to tell compelling stories about geographic patterns.