GEOGRAPHY 404ta – Field Course

Imagery and topographic maps have long served as useful representations of the urban setting both as an aid in understanding the historical and contemporary area where you work and live and as a surrogate for looking at far places that are not conveniently accessible. However, their perspectives of the earth are not familiar ones to most people, and some training on the meaning of the images and symbols is helpful in understanding the revealed spatial patterns and processes. Each has some unique advantages and so the purpose of this class is to gain experience in gathering information these two graphic representations and relating it to the milieu.

Learning Outcomes: The central goal of this class is to provide an introduction to visualizing the urban milieu through imagery and maps and then comparing that visualization to actual urban landscapes.

By the end of this course you will have learned:

Exercises: Will be assigned at the beginning of a lab period and are to be turned in at the end of the day scheduled for completion (1 or 2 weeks later).


Mapping: Ways of Representing the World, 
Daniel Dorling and David Fairbairn, 1997
Seeing Through Maps: Many Ways to See the World, 
Denis Wood, W. Kaiser, B. Abrams, 2006
100 Topographic Maps, 
Richard DeBruin, 1992
Various handouts.
Humboldt State University: Topographic Mapping 
Topographic Maps in Metal Detecting 
Landscape examples on topo maps


First Week                      Characteristics of Cities in maps and photos
1. Identifying Features on Photos  (5)

Second Week                 Types of Images, the EM Spectrum
2. Image types (5)

Third Week                    (cont.)

Fourth Week                   Image Properties and Errors
3. Calculating Scale (5)

Fifth Week                      Images of Urban Places

Sixth Week                     (cont.)

Seventh Week                 Photos in the Field, GPS
4. Recording field info (10)

Eighth Week                   Wayfinding in the Field, the Compass
5. Campus Wayfinding (5)

Ninth Week                     GPS in the Field
6. Waypoints, Routes, Geocaching

                 Spring Break

Tenth Week                     Topographic Maps and Symbols, Grid Systems and Projections 
7.Map Reading (5)

Eleventh Week                 Interpretation of Urban Patterns on Maps
8. Observing Cities on Topo Maps (5)

Twelfth Week                 Mapping Street Info on Parcel Maps
9. A walk along Reseda (10)

Thirteenth Week             Describing a Tract
10. Describing a Neighborhood on foot

Fourteenth Week             Lab                                           

Fifteenth Week                Lab

Final (20)