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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Geography (GEOG)

GEOG 485 GIS Programming and Customization (3) Customizing GIS software to extend its built-in functionality and to automate repetitive tasks.

GEOG 485

GEOG 485 GIS Programming and Customization (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

GEOG 485 is an elective course in the Master of Geographic Information Systems degree program. It is also one of the optional capstone courses that lead to Penn State's Certificate of Achievement in Geographic Information Systems. The course consists of readings, quizzes, projects, and discussions about constructing tools that solve geographic problems not easily solved using out-of-the-box GIS software. Students learn to use the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) programming environment to add functionality to ArcGIS 8.x. No previous programming experience is assumed. The course covers programming basics like object-orientation, COM, object model diagrams, loops, if-then constructs, and modular code design, as well as GIS-focused topics such as working with maps, layers, tables, and performing queries. Students who successfully complete the course are able to automate repetitive tasks, customize the ArcGIS interface, and share their customizations with others. The course is ten weeks in length and requires a minimum of 8-12 hours of student activity each week. It is offered quarterly (starting in January, April, July, and October).

General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Fall 2007
Prerequisite: GEOG 363 orGEOG 484;CMPSC 101 or equivalent

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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