Colorado 14ers, Pixel by Pixel

Abstract

This document describes a capstone learning exercise designed for undergraduates enrolled in an introductory geospatial tools course. The overarching theme of the exercise, Colorado 14ers, Pixel by Pixel, is mountain geography. While immersed in a digital mountainous landscape, students explore topics of geomorphology and geomorphometry and discover how it is possible for a summit that rises well above 14,000 feet not to qualify as a true Colorado ‘14er’. To address these topics, students examine freely-available digital elevation models (DEMs) using common geospatial analysis tools. The exercise was developed with five purposes in mind: (1) students should be introduced gently to geospatial software; (2) students should enter upper-level geography courses armed with basic computer skills and a diverse geospatial toolkit; (3) students should internalize the fact that invariably digital geographic explorations are influenced by scale; (4) students of geography should be able to identify natural and anthropogenic impacts to a landscape, and; (5) to help students conceptualize what geographers do, learning exercises should include local and interesting case studies. As an exercise intended to synthesize geographic concepts covered throughout a course, the learning objectives range from grasping broad theoretical concepts related to scale and measurement to learning specific computer skills related to directory structures and file naming conventions. Deliverables of the exercise include posting four maps and answers to nine questions to a website. The outcome of the exercise is a confident, geospatial toolsavvy student who is eager to further investigate the field of geography.

DOI: 10.4018/IJAGR.2011040102

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Cite this paper

@article{Vogt2011Colorado1P, title={Colorado 14ers, Pixel by Pixel}, author={Brandon J. Vogt}, journal={IJAGR}, year={2011}, volume={2}, pages={17-32} }