Department Personnel










GEOG 204: Geography of Economic Activities (3)

... Location, Location, Location!

How many times have you heard it said that location is the key to the success of a business, the cost of an apartment or value of a home, or even the wage rate paid by employers? Did you also know that location, not soil, is the primary reason why corn and soybeans are grown in Illinois? Have you ever wondered why older cities like Chicago and New York have such dominant downtowns while the downtowns of newer cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix are hard to find?

  • Discover how economic principles shape the geography of the world around us, and how geography affects our own behavior as consumers.
  • Explore agricultural systems throughout the world, from subsistence to hi-tech.
  • See where current patterns of world population growth are placing the greatest pressure on land and agriculture resources.
  • Learn how culture affects the value of natural resources, regardless of where the resource is located.
  • Understand industry location as the consequence of rational economic decision-making.
  • Discover why competing firms producing similar products might want to locate in close proximity to one another, and why shopping malls are a natural consequence of our own shopping behavior.
  • Learn how the geographic distribution of cities relates to basic consumer behavior and why large cities offer a wider variety of goods and services than smaller cities.
  • See how gender, culture and income influence your day-to-day geography.
  • Understand why international trade is a win-win situation, right down to you the consumer.
  • Learn how nations protect trade interests through organizations like OPEC, NAFTA, and the European Union and whether these institutions really work.
  • Explore the current state of "economic development" throughout the world

What General Education Objectives are met in Geography 204?

Through the use of graphic models, students are introduced to the deductive scientific method and learn critical thinking skills. Lecture material emphasizes cross-national and cross-cultural comparisons, stimulating global awareness and sensitivity to cultural diversity. Understanding the interrelatedness of peoples and nations integrates knowledge from anthropology, economics, political science, and demography as well as physical geography and environmental science.

Facts about Geography 204:

Course Offered: Both spring and fall semesters: 3 credit hours
General Education: Fulfills a social science distributive area requirement and addresses the following general education goals: analytical thinking, multi-culture and gender awareness, applying various modes of inquiry, and appreciation of environmental sensitivity and cultural diversity, through a combination of lecture material, readings, and independent assignments.
Course Goal: To provide non-geography majors with a basic understanding of global resources, agriculture, manufacturing, and trade (markets), and how economic forces influence the geography of human activity.

GEOG 256: Maps and Mapping (3)

Maps have been used by human civilizations for well over 5000 years. Besides helping you find your way from here to there, maps are a fun way to visualize places you've never seen, explore new landscapes and environments, or remember things as they once were. Maps can even be beautiful works of art.

This course will introduce you to maps as simplified models of our world, how maps are designed and constructed, and how they are used. By the end of the course, you will come to appreciate the utility, simplicity and beauty of maps. Along the way, you'll play with GIS desktop mapping software, Global Positioning Systems and conventional land surveying equipment, and make your own maps using a variety of tools. By the end of the course you will know the importance of datum, projection, and scale; understand how aerial photography, satellite imagery, and land surveying are used to develop maps; recognize and be able to use standard map types; and also see that maps can be designed to be mislead as well as inform.

GEOG 490/690: Community Geography (3)

Team research project focusing on an issue of practical concern to the northern Illinois community. Application of geography and/or meteorology tools and methods to contemporary issues.

GEOG 560: Advanced Spatial Analysis (3)

What constitutes pattern in mapped data? The human eye is notorious for seeing patterns that may not exist and, unfortunately, spatial data violate the most fundamental assumptions of conventional statistical methods. How, then, do we analyze mapped data, test whether there is pattern, or delve further within the map to identify "hot spots" or other localized pattern?

This course covers methods for the analysis of point, line and polygon spatial data. Included are: descriptive spatial statistics, classical methods for the analysis of point and line patterns, spatial autocorrelation, kriging, spatial process models, multivariate spatial patterns, and localized spatial statistics. Emphasis is on operational spatial analysis, rather than theory. This course will be of great value to those utilizing GIS in scientific inquiry.

GEOG 561: Advanced Quantitative Methods for Geographic Research (3)

This course covers the General Linear Model and related techniques - from ANOVA, ANCOVA, correlation, and regression to factor analysis, clustering, and discriminant analysis. Focus on the proper use and interpretation of these classical methods, with emphasis on model diagnostics and understanding the inferential limits of data. Additional special topics, such as simultaneous equation models or tree regression, may be added as time permits.

GEOG 563: Geographic Research Procedures (3)
What is truth? How do we know if we truly know something? What is the role of theory building in science? How does empirical data contribute to our understanding of the world? How do we know when we can trust the results of an empirical analysis? For that matter, what is theory? What is empirical science? And why are these important questions for geography, or indeed any science?

This course serves as an introduction to research and research traditions in geography. Our purpose is to understand research and its role in creating knowledge: what make a research question research, what makes it geography, and to what extent can geographic data and geographic research questions be addressed through conventional analytic methods. We will also discuss the design of research experiments, what our purposes are and why we do things in certain ways. And finally, because research is done by people and people are fallible, we will also discuss professional ethics and responsibility.

GEOG 654: Fundementals of Mapping (3)

For graduate students with little formal background in mapping. Maps as models, tools of visualization, and forms of graphic communication. Processes of map production, including imagery and surveying. Principles of map design.

GEOG 655: Fundementals of GIS (3)

For graduate students with little formal background in GIS or computer mapping. Principles, components, and uses of geographic information systems.