Course Description

This is a first course in applying computers to data analysis and modeling applications.  It has no prerequisite courses, and no previous computing experience is required.   Areas of instruction include:   

1.Use of the Unix operating system to manage files, use of the Emacs editor to enter, modify, and store information.

2.Programming using Fortran to read, modify, analyze, and summarize data, and to develop simple numerical simulations.

3.Basics of vector graphics, with simple relational graphics for exploring and presenting data and a primitive introduction to mapping, using Fortran-callable systems.

Technical information about programming will be salted with discussions of data management, statistical analysis, design of graphics and maps, concepts of modeling, and some history of all these things.  Examples and exercises will be oriented towards research and practical applications in Environmental Science, Geography, and related areas.  A longer description of the purpose of the course is here.

Course meetings
  are of two types.  The common lecture periods in 203 Pearson Hall provide most of the basic information required for the course, with a strong emphasis on ``live'' demonstrations.  The lab sessions will include brief introductions to each week’s assignment, followed by time in which students can work on assignments while TAs are available for assistance.  Lab assignments do not necessarily have to be completed during the period in which they are assigned---most students will require additional time after the lab periods.  You will receive a separate syllabus in the lab sections showing a schedule for those assignments.        

Geog 250 Computer Methods in Geography

Fall 2008

1:25–2:15 Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, Pearson Hall 203

Office Hours

Text and readings: Extensive handouts, no required text. Many good books are available for those who prefer a reference, consider this one. Any book on Fortran 90 or 95 or 2003 will be helpful—old versions (8x, 77, 66, IV) will be more misleading than useful.

Projects: Twelve laboratory assignments, mostly involving programming. The lab has a separate syllabus.

Test: three quizzes, comprehensive final exam.

The Log/Plan page


lab syllabus

Information Handouts (PDFs)




Emacs tutorial

GPL graphics

Handing in Exercises


Projects (PDFs)

1. Pine, Emacs

2. Radiation model

3. Population counter

4. Glacier speed

5. Potential Evapotranspiration

6. Regression

7. Beach Cliff Recession

8. Rain Map

9. Library regression

10. Rabbit and fox model

11. Soil temperature model

12. Contour diagram