20 Geography, Planning & Environment

British Columbia in a Global Context

Author: Geography Open Textbook Collective

Contributors: Arthur Green, Aviv Ettya, Siobhan McPhee, Britta Ricker, and Cristina Temenos

Description: Over the course of four days in June, 2014, five faculty members from across British Columbia supported by a facilitator, librarian, researcher, illustrator, programmer, and instructional designer created this book. This involved drawing on our own research, teaching, and experience and working with the team to put it all together into an online format; one which would be accessible to students and educators alike.

Beyond the unique way in which this book was created in a book-sprint process, there are other elements of this book that make it unique. First, it takes a holistic approach to first-year geography, incorporating elements of physical, human, and regional geography, as well as bringing in methods and perspectives from spatial information science.

Pedagogically, this book incorporates elements of service learning and suggested service learning activities, recognizing that the study of geography is deeply connected to the communities we live in. Many of the suggestions for service learning are illustrated through the use of case studies from across BC.

The book is aimed at a first-year or introductory geography student and would be suitable for a first-year geography course on BC.

Collecting and Mapping Data

Author: Janet Silbernagel

Description: Whether checking camera traps in the rainforest, working with citizen scientists, or downloading the latest satellite imagery, we all work with conservation data, and much of it is mappable! Finding, accessing, and mapping various forms of spatial conservation data is our focus here. You will learn how to collect and import spatial features from the field, use web-based map tools to engage citizens, and incorporate the best available spatial data from public domain sources. These lessons will prepare you for further spatial analyses of the data, or for generating simple map and report documentation.

Earth Science

This text includes introductions to concepts from level I earth science courses, from geology to water systems. It was developed through Lumen Learning and a professor of Geology and Earth Sciences from Santa Ana College.

Includes: exercises and summaries.

Environmental Biology

Author: Matthew R. Fisher and Editor

Contributors: OpenStax, Kamala Doršner, Alexandra Geddes, Tom Theis, and Jonathan Tomkin

Description: This open textbook covers the most salient environmental issues, from a biological perspective. The text is designed for an introductory-level college science course. Topics include the fundamentals of ecology, biodiversity, pollution, climate change, food production, and human population growth.

Includes: instructor resources, student resources, and summaries.

Environmental Issues

Authors: Andrew Frank

Contributors: OpenStax, Alexandra Geddes, Tom Theis, Jonathan Tomkin, Matthew R. Fisher, Andrew Frank, and Kamala Doršner

Description: This open textbook covers the most salient environmental issues, from both biological and social science perspectives. The text is designed for introductory-level university environmental science, environmental issues, or environmental politics courses. Topics include the fundamentals of ecology, biodiversity, pollution, climate change, food production, sustainable energy and human population growth as well as environmental justice and environmental communication.

Environmental Science: A Canadian Perspective

This environmental science text has been positively-reviewed and has been successfully adopted by other faculty. It covers introductory concepts in environmental science, from ecosystems to sustainable development.

Includes: instructor resources, student resources, and summaries.

Environmental Science

Author: Bill Freedman

Description: This textbook is intended to provide an introduction to environmental science and sustainability at Trent. The textbook is adapted from the well-known Canadian text Environmental Science by the late Bill Freedman, a professor at Dalhousie University. The book is about environmental issues that are particularly important in Canada, and the ways they are being dealt with by governments and society-at-large. This book was written from the ground-up to provide Canadian information and examples. This national context is integrated throughout the text, along with North American and global data that provide a broader perspective. Special Canadian Focus boxes illustrate important examples of environmental issues in our national context. At the same time, Global Focus boxes enhance the international context for learning about issues, while In Detail boxes examine particular topics in greater depth.

Geographic Information System Basics

This geographic information systems text has been positively-reviewed. It covers introductory concepts in GIS, from augmented maps to vector files.

Includes: instructor resources, student resources, and summaries.

Geosciences LibreTexts Library

A collection of open textbooks, assignments, and other educational resources on the subject of geosciences.

Includes: lab experiments, case studies, interactive applications and worksheets.

Human Geography

Authors: Christine Rosenfeld and Nathan Burtch


Welcome to Human Geography! If you are interested in how humans interact with the environment and how human systems are geographically distributed over space, then you’ve found your place.

We hope that find this textbook useful and enjoyable; please dive in by clicking “Contents” to immerse yourself in all-things-human geography.

Introduction to Geomatics

Author: Scott Bell

Description: This OPEN textbook was developed as a supplement to Geography 222.3 (GEOG 222), Introduction to Geomatics at the University of Saskatchewan. GEOG 222 is a required course for all Geography majors (B.A., B.Sc., B.A.Sc., and Planning), as well as the gateway geomatics course for a Specialization and Certificate in Geomatics. The content of this reader is a mix of original content (95% to 100% of the text and most of the images) created by Professor Scott Bell while other material comes from attributed sources (attribution is included at the beginning of a chapter or section, or for the note taking guide, on each slide or at the culmination of a series of slides).

Introduction to Human Geography

This physical geography text has been positively-reviewed. It covers introductory concepts in human geography, from migration to agriculture.

Includes: instructor resources, student resources, and summaries.

Introduction to Physical Geography

Author: R. Adam Dastrup and Susan Smythe

Description: Most individuals define geography as a field of study that deals with maps, yet this definition is only partially correct. A better definition of geography may be the study of natural and human-constructed phenomena relative to a spatial dimension.

The discipline of geography has a history that stretches over many centuries. Over this period, geography has evolved and developed into an essential form of human scholarship. Examining the historical evolution of geography as a discipline provides some essential insights concerning its character and methodology. These insights are also helpful in gaining a better understanding of the nature of physical geography.

Laboratory Manual for Introduction to Physical Geography, First British Columbia Edition

Editor: Stuart MacKinnon

Authors: Stuart MacKinnon, Katie Burles, Terence Day, Fes de Scally, Nina Hewitt, Crystal Huscroft, Gillian Krezoski, Allison Lutz, Craig Nichol, Andrew Perkins, Todd Redding, Ian Saunders, Leonard Tang, and Chani Welch

Description: Physical geography lab exercises tend to be crafted for internal institutional use only. In light of the need to have online laboratory material for remote instruction, a group of geography instructors from across British Columbia (BC), Canada came together for this collaborative project with the goal of producing a cross-institutional open education resource (OER) laboratory manual for first-year post-secondary physical geography courses. The lab manual consists of 22 labs that cover an introduction to physical geography, weather and climate, biogeography, map and geospatial skills, hydrology, geomorphology, and landform identification. The majority of the labs have a BC focus; however, they are useable across Canada and further abroad. The majority of the labs have been developed so that they can be done in any order to increase instructor flexibility and promote adaptability to differing course structures and durations. Many of the labs have students using live data, or built-in flexibility with datasets for instructors in order to prevent the lab exercises becoming static over time. The lab manual is licenced under creative commons (refer to licensing information) so that the lab modules can be modified as needed by instructors to meet the learning outcomes of their students.

Mapping, Society, and Technology

Author: Steven Manson

Description: Learn how to read, use, and create maps and along the way explore how maps reflect the relationship between society and technology. Mapping is an essential form of scientific and artistic inquiry as well as a trillion dollar business. People, companies, and governments use and misuse maps and map technology to tell stories, save lives, rig elections, and spy on you.

Nature of Geographic Information

This world GIS text has been positively-reviewed. It covers introductory concepts in GIS, from data and information geography to integrating geographic data.

Includes: instructor resources, student resources, and summaries.

People, Places, and Cultures

Authors: Raymon Huston and R. Adam Dastrup

Physical Geography Lab Manual: The Atmosphere and Biosphere

Author: Michael Pidwirny

Description: This lab manual is intended as an experiential learning companion to introductory university textbooks covering the subject area known as physical geography. It contains exercises dealing with the atmosphere and biosphere. A second companion physical geography lab manual, with exercises dealing with the hydrosphere and lithosphere, is planned to be released in the summer of 2023.

The laboratory exercises in this manual have been designed to engage students with activities that promote analytical problem-solving, critical thinking, and active learning through the analysis and interpretation of data. Many questions access data from actual scientific sources on the internet, enhancing the hands-on laboratory experience for students. The exercises have been carefully designed to augment important theoretical topics usually found in the curriculum of a first-year university course in physical geography.

Note on license: Physical Geography Lab Manual: The Atmosphere and Biosphere by Michael Pidwirny is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Physical Geography and Natural Disasters

Author: R. Adam Dastrup, MA, GISP

Physical Geology

This textbook was written by an earth sciences professor at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia, Canada. This was done in collaboration with academics from various post-secondary institutions across BC and the rest of Canada. It has been successfully adopted.

Includes: applications, chapter summaries, exercises, and solutions.

Processing Multi-spectral Imagery with Agisoft MetaShape Pro

Author: Eric Saczuk

Description: A complete guide (including sample data set) to processing multi-spectral imagery using Agisoft MetaShape Pro with ground control points. Image alignment, generation of dense point clouds, digital surface and terrain models and orthomosaics is covered as well as the export of dense point clouds and orthomosaics to external software.

Processing UAS Photogrammetric Images in Agisoft Photoscan Professional

Author: Eric Saczuk

Description: This manual guides you through the steps of processing photogrammetric images using Agisoft Photoscan Professional acquired by a DJI Phantom 3 Professional UAS to create map products including;

  • sparse and dense point cloud
  • 3-D mesh surface and textures
  • digital surface model (DSM)
  • true orthophoto mosaic
  • 2-D & 3-D Google Earth layers

The following manual Parts provide guidance for each step of the process;

  • Project Setup
  • Generating 3-D Model
  • Creating a DEM and Orthophoto
  • Exporting Data

This manual follows from the image acquisition mission described in the manual Image Acquisition for 3-D Mapping with DJI Phantom 3 Pro.

This text has been positively-reviewed and is intended for both a broad-based introductory class on sustainability and as a supplement to specialist courses with a dimension on sustainability in their areas of study. As sustainability is a multidisciplinary area of study, the text is the product of multiple authors drawn from the diverse faculty of the University of Illinois: each chapter is written by a recognized expert in the field.

ensc 181, Terrestrial Environments, Lane Community College

Editor: Alexandra Geddes

Contributors: Alexandra Geddes, Jonathan Tomkin, Kamala Doršner, Matthew R. Fisher, OpenStax, and Tom Theis

Description: This college-level open textbook covers the most salient environmental science, specifically focused on terrestrial environments. The text is designed for an introductory-level college science course. Topics include the fundamentals of ecology, biodiversity, pollution, climate change, food production, and human population growth.

The Western World: Daily Readings on Geography

Authors: Joel Quam and Scott Campbell

Description: Two full-time Geography professors at College of DuPage have written a particular format of textbook for our course Geography of the Western World. One key feature of the textbook is that it is an open source textbook, online and free for our students (and potentially, for anyone). The other noteworthy feature of the textbook is its format as a series of essays on topical/regional geographic subjects. Given that the textbook is a free and open source textbook, there is no money to be made writing the book. My colleague and I wrote the textbook in order to contest the often exorbitant cost of regular textbooks and to create a base of knowledge that we want our students to have without the need of sifting through longer chapters. Read this and know this.

World Regional Geography

Description: World Regional Geography presents an overview of the discipline by introducing students to key themes and concepts in the discipline of geography through a study of the world’s regions. This text approaches geography as experts understand the discipline, focusing on connections and an in-depth understanding of core themes. This thematic approach, informed by pedagogical research, provides students with an introduction to thinking geographically. This text emphasizes depth over breadth by arranging each chapter around a central theme and then exploring that theme in detail as it applies to the particular region. In addition, while chapters are designed to stand alone and be rearranged or eliminated at the instructor’s discretion, the theme of globalization and inequality unites all of the regions discussed. This core focus enables students to draw connections between regions and to better understand the interconnectedness of our world. This text was written with the backward course design model in mind and the content of each chapter was structured around these learning objectives. Because of this backward design focus, the length of each chapter is considerably shorter than most traditional textbooks. The intention is for the instructor to supplement the text with problems, case studies, and news articles and to use the text as a springboard for discussing deeper issues.

World Regional Geography: People, Places and Globalization

This world geography text has been positively-reviewed and has been successfully adopted by other faculty. It covers introductory concepts in geography, from North American geography to African geography.

Includes: instructor resources, student resources, and summaries.


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