Update 8/24/2020

Class Meeting: MW 2:40 – 4:30: 207 Science Center (GIS Lab) or outside (University Tent) or Zoom

Instructor: Dr. John Krygier
Office: 206 Science Center or Zoom
Office hours: MW 12-2 pm and by appointment or chance

This course…

Geography 353 has long been the upper-level OWU course focused on map design and map making in the context of geographic information systems (GIS, in our case ArcGIS Desktop). The course is traditionally focused on a semester-long project: students locate data, process the data so it can be mapped in ArcGIS, and design and produce a series of maps based on the data. Students learn to construct HTML pages for their work and document and evaluate their efforts in a blog.

The pandemic has led to a shift in the GIS technology we are using in Geography 353: from desktop, Windows-based ArcGIS to web-based ArcOnline. Traditional desktop ArcGIS is much more established and analytically sophisticated software, but it is not conducive to hybrid or fully virtual courses. ArcOnline has many advantages, with its basic GIS functions integrated with field data collection and the creation of sophisticated online mapping applications.

The tools we use to create maps are always evolving and changing, but many of the fundamental concepts and guidelines for effective mapping remain the same. This course covers both the concepts and the tools for mapping using GIS methods.

Text and Readings

We’ll stick with Making Maps (3rd edition, 2016) by John Krygier and Denis Wood, a piquant book with many good examples written with this course (and Geog 222) in mind. We will also use Pinde Fu, Getting to Know Web GIS, 4th edition, 2020. Because the software changes so fast, you really need to get this new, 4th edition (e-book or paperback).

Doing Stuff & Project

The general idea is to

  • read some more thoughtsy map and GIS stuff and discuss
  • do some techie stuff with ArcGIS online & related software, a few general tutorials then stuff from the Getting to Know Web GIS book
  • work on a project with the City of Delaware

Your grade will be determined by your completing this stuff and participating in the class.

To document what you do, you will create a WordPress blog (see ArcGIS Online page) and create a blog entry with a suitable title for each assigned…

  • …reading, with comments, questions, and points of discussion
  • …task (stuff assigned in the first few weeks), with comments, questions, and screenshots if necessary
  • …chapter from the Getting to Know Web Maps book, comments, questions, etc.
  • …Assignment from the Getting to Know Web Maps book, documenting your completion of the assignment

The project with the city is still being developed, and I will add details here as they are available.

I will assign a mid-term and final class assessment where you summarize progress, successes, failures and assess your efforts. More details on that forthcoming.

Computer & Computer Skills Required

I expect that all students in the class will have their own computer for the project as well as internet access. If you lack one or both, please talk to your instructor as soon as possible.

As far as the software goes: I have no doubt that you can manage to use a web browser, which serves as the host for ArcGIS Online. Alas, ArcGIS online itself will be a challenge to all but the most computer savvy of students. It’s just a lot of new stuff (for us all). It is going to take persistence and patience, with help from peers and your instructor. It should be well worth the effort. ArcGIS Online is powerful, widely used software and knowing it will be a feather in your beanie.


  • Week 2 Readings, comments, questions, ideas: 25 pts (document @ blog)
  • Week 2 Task: Blog + Account Set-Up + ArcGIS Online Basics: 50 pts (document @ blog)
  • Week 3 Readings, comments, questions, ideas: 25 pts (document @ blog)
  • Week 3 Task: ArcGIS Collector: 50 pts (document @ blog)
  • Week 4 Readings, comments, questions, ideas: 25 pts (document @ blog)
  • Week 5 Readings & PF Assignment: 50 pts (document @ blog)
  • Week 6 Readings & PF Assignment: 50 pts (document @ blog)
  • Week 7 Readings & PF Assignment: 50 pts (document @ blog)
  • Week 8 Readings & PF Assignment: 50 pts (document @ blog)
  • Week 8 Mid-Semester Evaluation: 50 pts (see Evaluation page)
  • Week 9 Readings & PF Assignment: 50 pts (document @ blog)
  • Week 10 Readings & PF Assignment: 50 pts (document @ blog)
  • Week 11 Readings & PF Assignment: 50 pts (document @ blog)
  • Final Evaluation including Delaware Project: 100 pts (see Evaluation page)
  • Participation and effort will be rewarded.

Writing Option

If you are interested in adding a writing option to Geography 353, please contact me by the end of the first week of classes. If I agree to supervise a writing option for the class, a written 1-page proposal for a writing project is due by the end of the third week of classes. A draft of your writing option work is due by the end of the eighth week of classes. The final draft of your writing option work is due by the end of the fourteenth week of classes.

Fall 2020 Pandemic Version of GEOG 353: The Fine Print

Course Delivery: Hybrid. We will meet in person, outside and inside, and those sessions will be broadcast live on Zoom. There will be other meetings that are only on Zoom. I’m trying to balance safety with a reasonable amount of in-person time.

Materials for Course: All digital: This website, the text (which are available as e-Books), and Drive for writing and presenting.

Technology: The internets, Zoom, Drive (Docs and Slides), ArcGIS Online.

Attendance: Via Zoom for virtual attendance and I will document attendance in person. When using Zoom, please turn your camera on (and microphone off, unless you are speaking).

Feeling Sick? Use the Campus Clear app to report symptoms or contact, and self-quarantine until contacted by a university official. Please do not come to in-person meetings if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.

Office Hours: Please email me and we can set up a time to meet virtually.

Engagement: Whether in-person or virtually, please contact me if you feel that you are not experiencing sufficient engagement. I am happy to work with you to improve your experience.

Academic Integrity Pledge: I pledge not to engage in cheating, fabricating, facilitating academic dishonesty, or plagiarizing, or the use of unauthorized resources in my classes, I pledge that my work will be done independently unless directed otherwise by my instructor, that my work will be original, and that my work will be my own.

Sagan Academic Resource Center: Probably not relevant to this course, but just so you know.

Course Accessibility and Disability COVID-19: Accommodations may need to be added or adjusted should this course shift from an on-campus to a remote format. Students with disabilities should make sure that they are registered with Disability Services and speak with their instructor.

Diversity and Inclusion: Ohio Wesleyan University considers the diversity of its students, faculty, and staff to be a strength essential to its liberal educational mission and Statement of Aims. Every member of the university community is expected to contribute to an inclusive and respectful culture for all in its classrooms, work environments, and at campus events. If there are aspects and/or experiences within this course that result in barriers to your inclusion or accurate assessment of achievement, please notify the instructor as soon as possible.

Needs Statement: I urge any student who has difficulty affording books, food, or other necessities, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, to contact the Dean of Students, Dwayne Todd, at or reach out to the Chaplain’s Office at for support. Furthermore, please notify the professor if you are comfortable in doing so.

Legal note pertaining to Academic Accommodations (from OWU)

“The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protections for persons with disabilities. Among other things, the legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you have, or think you may have, a disability (e.g., mental health, attentional, learning, chronic health, sensory, or physical), please contact Disability Services in Corns 315 or call 740.368.3925 to arrange a confidential discussion regarding equitable access and reasonable accommodations. If you are registered with Disability Services and have a current letter requesting reasonable accommodations, please contact your instructor as early in the semester as possible to discuss how the accommodations will be applied in the course. For more information, consult the Disabilities Services website.”