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GIS 110
Principles of Cartography

Revised: January, 2014
Credits: 3
Instructor: Ed Nickel
Office: HTC 133
Phone: 753-2241 (office with voice mail)
E-mail: due to increased spam my email address will be provided the first day of class
Class Web Page:
Textbook: Map Use: Reading, Analysis, Interpretation Seventh Edition, by Kimerling, Buckley, Muehrcke & Muehrcke, ISBN 978-1-58948-279-1, ESRI Press ©2012. Search using the title, author, or ISBN for pricing at various discounters/used book dealers, or pay full price at the college bookstore.


CATALOG DESCRIPTION: GIS 110 Principles of Cartography. The basics of analog and digital cartography (map making). Students will be exposed to different types of maps, scales, symbols, and projections and learn how cartography and geographic information systems interact. Prerequisites: None

Welcome to GIS 110 Principles of Cartography. This course is an introduction to maps, map reading, and map making. During this semester we will cover the principles of how maps are constructed and what each of the major components are and how they can be modified to best present the subject of a given map. To complete assignments students may use any open GBC computer lab or, if available, their own computer and appropriate software.

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION: This class may be taught in a live classroom setting, online via WebCampus, or as a hybrid class. You are expected to participate in weekly discussions, exercises, as well as various quizzes, projects, and other class activities. The schedule of reading and assignments is found below. Additional assignments may be given verbally, as handouts in class, or via the WebCampus lesson modules.

CLASS PARTICIPATION: In the on-line version of this class, you are expected to post at least one original discussion and one response to other classmates' posts every week and your posts should relate to some aspect of the material we are covering during each lesson or some related issue. In the live version you are expect to be similarly prepared for and participate in every class discussion. Whether live or online, participation in class discussion is a significant portion of your grade as it indicates how well you understand the concepts being covered.

INSTRUCTOR CONTACT: I can be reached either at my office phone number shown above or via the WebCampus email, you can drop in during my office hours, or make an appointment to see me at other times. Office hours are posted on my office door and on my web site. The schedule of reading assignments, homework and tests is found below. Additional assignments may be given verbally or as handouts in class.

The successful student in this class will be able to:
  1. use navigational maps;
  2. comprehend the function of different projections in cartogrpahy;
  3. comprehend geographic coordinate systems;
  4. read and understand various types of both quantitative and qualitative maps;
  5. assess both map accuracy and uncertainty;
Learner Outcome Assessments
Measurement Method Learner Outcomes
Class Discussion 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Assignments & Hands On Exercises 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Quizzes/Exams 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Class Project 2, 3, 5


GRADING POLICY:This is a letter grade class an A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F=59% or less or W=Official Withdrawal if done before the offical withdrawal deadline. There is no curve in this grading scale. Your grade will be based 25% on class participation and discussion, 25% on your assignments, 25% on your project, and 25% on quiz results. All assignments are due by the beginning of the next class unless otherwise indicated by the instructor when they are assigned.

QUIZ/EXAM PROCEDURES: All quizzes/exams will be objective, e.g. true/false, multiple choice, fill-in the blank, etc.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: The instructor must agree in advance to any excused absences unless there are strong extenuating circumstances. Three (3) unexcused absences can result in a failing grade, in an on-line class an absence is one week when you do not participate in class or contact the instructor.

OTHER POLICIES: The student rights & responsibilities policy stated in the current GBC Catalog apply to this class. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and can result in a failing grade. This syllabus is not a contract and is subject to reasonable changes as the class proceeds.

ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Great Basin College is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to qualified students with disabilities in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A qualified student must furnish current verification of disability. The Director of Services for Students with Disabilities will assist qualified students with disabilities in securing the appropriate and reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids and services. For more information or further assistance, please call (775) 753-2271.


You should have read and be prepared to discuss each week's topics by the beginning of class. We will have significant hands on experiences with most lessons.

Readings, topics, major assignments, & quizzes/exams by week:
(Please note: this schedule is subject to change based on class progress & other factors)
Week    Chapter Topics Assignments*
Week 1: Getting started  Introduction to this class assignment 1
Week 2: Chapter 1  The Earth & Earth Coordinates assignment 2 & quiz 1
Week 3: Chapter 2  Map Scale assignment 3 & quiz 2
Week 4: Chapter 3  Map Projections assignment 4 & quiz 3
Week 5: Chapter 4  Grid Coordinate Systems assignment 5 & quiz 4
Week 6: Chapter 5  Land Partitioning assignment 6 & quiz 5
Week 7: Chapter 6  Relief Portrayal assignment 7 & quiz 6
Week 8: Chapter 7  Qualitative Thematic Maps assignment 8 & quiz 7
Week 9: Chapter 8  Quantitative Thematic Maps assignment 9 & quiz 8
Week 10: Chapter 9  Image Maps assignment 10 & quiz 9
Week 11: Chapter 10  Map Accuracy & Uncertainty assignment 11 & quiz 10
Week 12: Chapter 11  Distance Finding assignment 12 & quiz 11
Week 13: Chapter 12  Direction Finding & Compasses assignment 13 & quiz 12
Week 14: Chapter 13  Position finding & Navigation assignment 14
Week 15: Chapter 14  GPS & Maps assignment 15
Week 16:   Wrap it up! All Assignments and Discussions Due

Creative Commons License
GIS 110 original content created by Brett Bingham & Ed Nickel
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
United States License
based on a work at
Some classes include rss-podcast

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