2 Weeks / Credit Bearing

Mapping Today: Technology and Spatial Thinking (3 credit): GEO 108

Sat. July 14 & Sun. July 15 mandatory move-in & orientation 

Class runs July 16 – July 27, 2018 

This is a regularized undergraduate course delivered through classroom-based instruction and homework.  The class may consist of both Summer College and undergraduate students.

Course Description:

Decorative Map Image

This course explores the roles of spatial technologies and data in society, with emphasis on understanding basic concepts as well as ethics, access, and privacy. We will study and practice using GIS, GPS, remote sensing, cartography, and social media technologies, and examine how these play a role in both our understandings of space and daily lives. This class is aimed at students interested in understanding how spatial thinking affects how we interact with the world. The first few classes therefore focus on basic map interpretation skills as well as the histories of different map varieties, components, and purposes. The second set of topics center around a variety of interrelated remote spatial data collecting technologies: aerial photography, observation satellites, and GPS. The final set of topics explore GIS technology, data analysis, and future implications of spatial technologies and media for our lives.

Each of the ten days of the course is broken in to two paired lecture/activity modules intended to complement one another around a single (or two closely related) topics. In addition to in-class activities and lectures, students have a selection of several readings for each day that will fit in to our activities and discussions. Students should come prepared to discuss the material and practice the concepts through a variety of hands-on exercises. Through these various activities, students will receive an engaged introduction to geographic ways of thinking. Students completing this class will have experience with: reading and interpreting a variety of different forms of mapping; producing and analyzing spatial data through a number of different mapping technologies; a foundation for performing well in other classes within the geography department; and, perhaps most crucially, a critical perspective on those ways of seeing, assessing, and navigating the world we typically take for granted. Grades will be based on exam performance, quality of work in the exercises and activities, participation and engagement, and mandatory attendance of all ten course meetings.

To learn more about Geography at Syracuse University visit GEOCUSE

Program Costs:

Please visit our program costs page for more detailed information.

*Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.

*Students must be 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date.

Instructor Bio:

Jesse Swann-Quinn is a PhD candidate completing his dissertation in the Geography Department at Syracuse University. He has previously served as primary instructor, teaching associate, and teaching assistant in a variety of courses at Syracuse University, the University of Arizona, and Colgate University. These include: World Cultures, Global Community, Principles of GIS, Cities of the World, Human Geography & Global Systems, Introduction to Photography, and Mapping Today. He also helped develop a two-day Public Political Ecology field course for undergraduates at UA and regularly involves students in his research projects.

Jesse’s research addresses political geographies of the environment, and concentrates on the geopolitics of mineral and metal mining in both post-Soviet space and the Adirondack Mountains. Focusing on publicly oriented scholarship, Jesse was a 2016 Public Humanities Fellow through the New York Council for the Humanities. In the past he served for two years as the assistant editor and then editor of you are here: the journal of creative geography, and before returning to graduate school he made wildlife documentaries as an associate producer for National Geographic Television.