Geography & Geospatial Analysis

Faculty & Staff


Philip L. Crossley, Ph.D. headshot
Professor of Geography
Phone: 970.943.2800
Office Location: Kelley Hall 217
Shannon Sprott headshot
Lecturer in Geography
Phone: 970.943.3021
Office Location: Kelley Hall 211


FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of courses offered by Western Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 GEOG 110 - World Regional Geography (3 credits)

A survey of the major regions of the contemporary world-defined according to a combination of biophysical, cartographic, cultural, religious, linguistic, political, and economic criteria. Emphasis is given to understanding regional characteristics and processes, and to relationships between events and processes occurring in different regions. Current events of major importance are incorporated where appropriate.

 GEOG 120 - Introduction of Human Geography (3 credits)

A thematic study of cultural landscapes and the processes by which people create and modify them. Topics of discussion range from ancient to modern, rural to urban, local to international, and include themes as diverse as the origins and spread of agriculture, migration and immigration, urban morphologies and social interactions, ethnicity, development and underdevelopment, and environmental concerns.

 GEOG 222 - Our Digital Earth (3 credits)

Using primarily on-line data and sources of maps, aerial photographs and satellite images, students develop and apply understanding of basic principles and techniques of map interpretation, communication with maps, and the appropriate use and interpretation of aerial photographs and satellite images. The course emphasizes both the skilled use of these standard tools of geographic analysis and visualization and communication of data and analysis with free on-line mapping tools and location-enabled mobile phone applications.

 GEOG 250 - Geography of North America (3 credits)

A survey of the major biophysical, cultural, and economic regions of the United States and Canada. Major themes of human geography including demography, migration, land use change, and ecological concerns are addressed in appropriate regional contexts. Prerequisite: GEOG 120 or sophomore standing.

 GEOG 340 - Introduction of Geographic Information Systems (3 credits)

An introduction to the concepts and techniques of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Topics covered include fundamentals of mapping, data formats, data acquisition, and quantitative analysis of spatial data. The laboratory component emphasizes practical applications of GIS to contemporary problems including but not limited to watershed analysis, land-use planning, environmental assessment, and market analysis. Prerequisites: GEOG 222 or GEOL 105; college-level mathematics requirement with a minimum grade of "C-"; junior standing or instructor permission.

 GEOG 351 - Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean (3 credits)

A thematic study of the physiographic and cultural regions of Latin America and the major historical and contemporary geographic processes that characterize the region. Major topics of discussion include climate and physiography, environmental concerns and human rights, the nature of Latin American cities, pre-Hispanic and modern agriculture, and the nature of contemporary economic processes in the region. Prerequisite: GEOG 120 or sophomore standing.

  • Minor


Geographers study places, natural and human-altered landscapes and processes by which people make their livelihoods and give their lives meaning. Geospatial analysts build on the traditional tools of geography by combining data, maps and aerial images to analyze landscape processes and change over time from perspectives not always visible from the ground. Our unique location in Gunnison Valley offers insights into often clashing livelihoods and its example allows students to study and recognize the influence of global trends on local spaces. 

The Program

The Geography & Geospatial Analysis program emphasizes the study of human geography while offering courses in other disciplines to better understand the natural environment. 

Students will learn how to:

  • Recognize overlapping processes from the past and present, such as how a city's layout reflects centuries-old land ownership and the current economy. 
  • Identify multiple interacting processes, such as areas of urban growth and changes in a city's tax policies. 
  • Understand how places came to be through maps, photos and satellite images. 
  • Analyze spatial patterns of human activity using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). 

Careers & Opportunities

Geography and geospatial analysis skills allow you to work in a variety of fields, including: 

  • Archaeology
  • City and county planning
  • Corporate logistics
  • Criminal justice
  • Energy management
  • Humanitarian relief
  • Marketing
  • Peace Corps
  • Spatial analytics
  • Wildlife biology

Learn More

Reach out to Philip L. Crossley, Ph.D. for more information.