Introductory Cartography

Humanities & Social Sciences
Geography and the Environment
Course Code
GEOG 1170
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
Would you like to create a map using just a compass? Are you interested in learning how to interpret a topographic map or aerial photograph for geography or environmental studies classes? Do you need to know how to design effective maps to communicate spatial information? This course introduces a range of topics in the field of cartography, the art, science and technology of map making. Topics include map projections,
elementary field surveying, interpretation of aerial photography and satellite imagery, cartographic methods and design, thematic mapping, and an introduction to computer mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).
Course Content
  1. Introduction
  • Development of Cartography
  • Basic geodesy
  • Map projections
  • Introduction to datum systems
  • Fundamental Map Elements
    • Concept of scale
    • Coordinate systems
    • Direction indicators
    • Data and legend
  • Analysis and Interpretation of Topographic Maps
    • Types of terrain representation
    • Contour interpretation
    • Landform measurement, identification and interpretation
    • Topographic profile construction
    • Vertical exaggeration and gradient calculations
    • Cultural features on topographic maps
  • Elementary Field Surveying
    • Use of the magnetic compass
    • Location by three measured sides, intersection and resection
    • Introductory triangulation and differential leveling
    • Compass traverse
    • Introduction to global positioning systems
  • Remote Sensing
    • Electromagnetic radiation and methods of capturing spectral reflectance
    • Types of air photos
    • Introductory air photo interpretation and photogrammetry
    • Polar orbiting and geostationary satellites
    • Basics of satellite image interpretation
  • Geographic Data
    • Nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio data
    • Qualitative and quantitative map symbols
    • Effective graphing of geographic data
  • Cartographic Design
    • Cartographic design process
    • Generalization, selection and symbolization
    • Potential impacts of the design
  • Thematic Maps
    • Qualitative and quantitative thematic maps
    • Types of quantitative thematic maps
    • Construction and interpretation of thematic maps
  • Geographic Information Systems
    • Concept of a GIS
    • Applications
    Methods Of Instruction

    The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following: lecture, labs, field work, slides/videos, individual and/or team projects and small group discussions.

    Means of Assessment

    Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.

    An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

    Labs 40%
    Project 20%
    Midterm Exam 20%
    Final Exam 20%
    Learning Outcomes

    At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

    1. Describe the development of cartographic concepts and techniques over time.
    2. Explain the responsibility of a cartographer to represent data that is accurate and consistent with the original purpose of a map, as well as cite examples of map misuses.
    3. Analyze, interpret and make measurements from topographic and thematic maps, aerial photographs and satellite imagery.
    4. Create a map from three-leg compass traverse.
    5. Synthesize the concepts and techniques of cartography through the use of a formal cartographic design process to identify and collect relevant geographic data and design a thematic map to communicate these data effectively.
    Textbook Materials

    Texts will be updated periodically. Typical examples are:

    Slocum, T, McMaster,R, Kessler, F., & Howard H. (2008) Thematic Cartography and Geovisualization 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.



    No prerequisite courses.


    No corequisite courses.


    No equivalent courses.

    Course Guidelines

    Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

    Course Transfers

    Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
    Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU GEOG 2395 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
    Langara College (LANG) LANG GEOG 2210 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
    Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU GEOG 2XX (3) 2016/09/01 to -
    Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU GEOG 250 (3) 2004/09/01 to 2016/08/31
    Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU GEOG 1XXX (3) 2010/09/01 to -
    Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU GEOG 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2010/08/31
    Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU GEOG 1XX (3) 2009/09/01 to -
    Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU GEOG 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2009/08/31
    University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO GEOG 272 (3) 2005/05/01 to -
    University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV GEOG 2nd (3) 2004/09/01 to 2009/08/31
    University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV GEOB 2nd (3) 2009/09/01 to -
    University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC GEOG 205 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
    University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV GEOG 251 (3) 2004/09/01 to 2006/04/30
    University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC GEOG 2XX (1.5) 2011/09/01 to -
    University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC GEOG 222 (1.5) 2004/09/01 to 2011/08/31

    Course Offerings

    Fall 2021

    There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.