Open Courseware and Resources

- Geography: study of the earth and its features, inhabitants, and phenomena.

About Geography

What is Geography?

A basic definition might be: “the study of the Earth and its peoples.” and this is generally true even among professional geographers who typically study the physical environment (the Earth and it’s four biospheres), the human environment (society, culture, religion), or the interactions between the two (environmental geography or just environmental science). A broader definition is that geography is the study of spatial patterns and relationships: how do soils, biomes, cities, and cultures vary across space, and what does this mean? Geographers like to say we look for patterns and processes, rather than universal laws like you might find in more “mature” sciences like physics. The closest thing geographer’s have to a universal law was articulated by Waldo Tobler: "Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things." That is, we expect things that are closer together to be more similar to those that are far apart. Is this always true? Sadly, no. Although it is not a universal law like gravity, Tobler’s law holds up most of the time and underlies much of the scientific investigations within the field. (Based on 'What is Geography?' with kind permission of GeoJunk.)

Why Study it?

Video . . . . . .


  • "Geographers examine changing patterns of vegetation to study global warming; they analyze where ethnic groups live in Bosnia to help understand the pros and cons of competing administrative solutions to the civil war there; they map AIDS cases in Africa to learn how to reduce the spread of the disease." - Alexander Murphy
  • Geography by William C Robinson.

OER Courseware Modules

Resources available for reuse by teachers and learners worldwide; Energy and Mineral Engineering, Geography, Geosciences, Materials Science, Meteorology, Earth and Environmental Systems, Earth and Mineral Sciences Writing

A Workshop on Geographic Information Systems

technical skills in the use of GIS software, qualitative methods skills in data and document gathering, analyzing information, and presenting results, potential and practicality of GIS technologies in a typical planning setting, applications

Geography of California

Regions Basin and Range (Geology, Landforms, Climate and Vegetation), Cascades and Modoc Plateau, Sierra Nevada, Central Valley, Peninsular Ranges, Los Angeles Basin Transverse Ranges (Geology, Landforms, Climate, Vegetation), Ecological Impacts of European, Southern California (Development, Rise of Ornamental Horticulture, Arts & Crafts Movement, Architecture (Craftsman, Mission & Spanish Colonial Revival, Santa Barbara), Urban Water Imperialism, Colorado River

Open Web Mapping

design, develop, and implement custom web mapping applications using open standards and open source software, open source software packages for web mapping, pointers to commercial solutions where appropriate

Cartography and Visualization

Visual Thinking and Visual Communication, Creating a Reference Map for Use in Emergency Management, Multiple Representations, Representing Volumes and Surfaces, A Deeper Understanding of Coordinate Systems and Projections, Multivariate Representation and Geographic Visualization, Capstone Project

Cartography and Visualization

reviews cartographic design, production and visualization in the context of geographic information systems (GIS): readings, project


Quotes, Definitions, Travel, Maps, Trends/Problems, Use and Users

Advanced Issues in GIS

spatial interpolation, error and uncertainty, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and Multi-objective decision making: spatial data sets

Geography Classes

  • California Geography - principal natural, economic, political and cultural characteristics of the various sub-regions, special attention to principles governing location and distribution of these phenomena
  • Cultural Geography - investigates human landscape and its relationship to physical environment, principles governing location and distribution of various cultural phenomena such as language, religion, agriculture, industry & urbanization
  • Physical Geography - area distribution of various features of the physical environment as they relate to man's occupance of earth's surface, explain these relationships through fields of geology, meteorology, climatology, cartography, hydrology, geomorphology, and pedology
Syndicate content