Welcome to Geography 47

Maps are the major tool of the geographer. A map to a geographer is what a paintbrush is to an artist or good cooking equipment is to a gourmet cook--an essential tool. Many geographers believe that maps can be used to illustrate almost any problem or issue. In fact, maps play such an important role in geography that the discipline has been described as the "art of the mappable". In the hands of a geographer, a map is a means to an end, and that end is a better understanding of the world.

The purpose of this course is to introduce the new technology associated with geography and the field of mapping. If you want to learn about computer mapping, geographic information systems, remote sensing, global positioning systems and other state-of-the-art technologies, then this course may be for you. In addition the course looks at how maps can be used to communicate information in a variety of ways. From professionally prepared cartographic data to maps appearing almost daily in the newspapers and magazines, a variety of map sources and types are used to illustrate how maps can speak a language of their own.

History of Geography 47

This course was first offered at the University of Missouri in the late seventies and was called Basic Map Interpretation and Remote Sensing. At that time most maps were produced manually and pen and ink, rulers, protractors and lettering templates were the "state-of-the art" map making techniques. This course covered map basics, including air photo interpretation and an introduction to remote sensing. The one semester format allowed enough time to thoroughly cover the subject matter

The evolution of the computer as a mapping tool began in earnest in the early 80's and as satellite imagery, geographic information systems, and more complex spatial analysis began to expand the discipline, this course had to mutate...or basically split into several new introductory courses because of the explosion of the subject matter. Geography 47, The Language of Maps is now an introductory course in mapping sciences for the Department of Geography. It is followed by Geography 247, Introduction to Geographic Information which is a required course for all geography majors.