Montana State University

MSU GPS Lab

Montana State University
PO Box 173120
Bozeman, MT 59717-3120

GPS Lab Manager:

Diana Cooksey
Tel: (406) 994-5684
Fax: (406) 994-3933
E-mail: dcooksey@montana.edu
Location: 245 Leon Johnson Hall

GPHY 457: Advanced GPS Mapping for GIS

College Office

3 credits, Fall semesters

This project-based course gives students hands-on experience with advanced GPS mapping techniques, and emphasizes data quality and documentation. Students learn advanced datalogging options, carrier phase and real-time kinematic data collection, base station setup, and use of external sensors. They also gain experience with mobile GIS, Internet map applications, complex offsets, and linking photos and audio files to GPS-mapped features. They use the advanced features of PathfinderOffice, TerraSync and ArcMap software, and are exposed to ArcPad and GPSCorrect. The course includes topic research and presentation, and service-learning project work. It requires a substantial amount of independent work and is for highly motivated students who want to gain advanced skills for future employment. Course enrollment is limited to 12 students, who are members of a working group. The small number allows for more meaningful discussions, more hands-on time with the instructor, more focused teamwork and higher quality end products.

This project-based course gives students hands-on experience with advanced GPS mapping techniques, and emphasizes data quality and documentation. Students learn advanced datalogging options, carrier phase and real-time kinematic data collection, base station setup, and use of external sensors. They also gain experience with mobile GIS, Internet map applications, complex offsets, and linking photos and audio files to GPS-mapped features. They use the advanced features of PathfinderOffice, TerraSync and ArcGIS software. The course includes topic research and presentation, and service-learning project work. It requires a substantial amount of independent work and is for highly motivated students who want to gain advanced skills for future employment. Course enrollment is limited to 12 students, who are members of a working group. The small number allows for more meaningful discussions, more hands-on time with the instructor, more focused teamwork and higher quality end products.

Students complete a mapping project, either individually or as a team, that includes high accuracy GPS mapping and makes a contribution to the local community or other entity. There is opportunity to participate in the MSU campus mapping project in one or more of the following areas: mapping/surveying/database development, delivery of map products, communication with cooperators and education of cooperators. This project aims to develop, over time, an accurate, geographically referenced map of the MSU campus that will interface with the campus CAD database and aid in emergency response on campus. Participation in this project involves coordination with MSU Facilities Services personnel.

In addition, each student chooses a special topic to research, implement and present to the class. Information and resource materials are provided by the instructor. Possible special topics include mobile GIS, GPS photo link, 3-D applications, checking the Geoid12A model in the Bozeman area, developing a terrain model using a surveyed grid or continuous topo, map of no GPS reception areas on campus (GeoXH and R8/R10), developing Internet map applications, comparison of GPS only to GPS + GLONASS, or any other relevant applications.

All required materials are posted on the class Desire2Learn site.

Instructor: Diana Cooksey (MSU GPS Laboratory Manager, Certified Trimble Mapping Trainer)


The labs for all courses are held in the state-of-the-art MSU Spatial Sciences Center (SSC) computer facility in Leon Johnson Hall Room 209. The facility is equipped with 20 fully networked computers, plus one teaching computer. Additional equipment includes a projector, document camera, and audio/visual capabilities.