Fall 2021 - GEOG 251 D100

Quantitative Geography (3)

Class Number: 4296

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    AQ 4150, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 11, 2021
    7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    AQ 3005, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Peter Keller
    Office: RCB 7135
    Office Hours: I will try and answer e-mails with a 48 hour turn-around during the working week. Subject to COVID related SFU office hour policies I will be in my office during Tuesdays 10:30 – 12:00 am
  • Prerequisites:

    GEOG 100 or 111.



An introduction to basic quantitative techniques for the collection of geographic data. Topics include describing data, gathering samples, theoretical distributions, linking samples and populations, testing significance, and exploring spatial relationships all within practical, real-world application contexts. Quantitative.


Course Content:  An introduction to basic quantitative techniques for the collection, analysis and visualization of geographic data, including research design. Topics include an introduction to quantitative data, univariate and bivariate data description, gaining familiarity with probability distributions, confidence intervals, difference of means tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), correlation, and simple linear regression. Students will learn about hypothesis statement and their exploration and testing. Students will gain experience with real world data and applications as part of lab assignments where students will practice geographic analytical techniques. Examples will be taken from both physical, human and resource geography.

Course Organization:
Lectures:           the class meets once a week for two hours

Laboratories:     there is a weekly two hour laboratory period that will allow students to gain hands on experience and work on a dataset of their own interest

Lectures are divided into learning modules. Key concepts will be reviewed at the beginning and end of each lecture. Laboratory exercises will synchronize to lectures as closely as possible.  Students will have the week to complete all material at their own pace (abiding by the due dates for assignments).  An effort will be made to post a draft of lecture notes by 18:00 the evening before each lecture.

The content of the course is subject to minor changes

Format: F2F. The course and lab begin in the first week of the term.


At the conclusion of the course the successful student will have gained the confidence to understand and interpret the use of numerical data and their basic analysis and interpretation in geographical literature.  The successful student will be able to:

  • differentiate different types of numerical data
  • apply appropriate methods to describe, visualize, compare and analyze different data
  • select and run appropriate basic statistical tests using primarily Excel software
  • apply introductory statistics to make inferences, test hypotheses and construct convincing arguments to data in an area of interest
  • know where to learn more about statistics, numerical modelling and analysis in geographical enquiry, should this be of interest
  • explain the role of quantitative information in geographic research and applications


  • Lab Exercises (ten labs each worth 4%) 40%
  • Mid term (multiple choice and written answers) 20%
  • Final examination (multiple choice and written answers) 40%


Midterm Exam
October 25th, 2021
2:30 PM - 3:10 PM
In class

Final Exam
Date TBD
Two hous duration
Location TBD



Software will be made available to you during the course.

Technical Requirements:
Modern Windows or Mac computer capable of internet browsing and running windows Excel and SPSS.


The course does not have a required text.  Each lecture will finish with a summary of key concepts or statistical tests covered that week. There exists an abundance of websites covering statistical concepts and tests students can access to gain additional insights and explanation.  Students are encouraged to search the Internet and find reference material that suits their own learning style. However, the course was designed using two texts that are available in paperback as well as digital format.  They are:

  • Statistical Analysis of Geographical Data: An introduction by Simon J. Dadson; published by Wiley. ISBN 9780470977040 (paper) and ISBN 9781118525142 (epub)
  • Practical Statistics for Geographers and Earth Scientists by Nigel Walford; published by Wiley Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-470-84915-6 (pbk) and ePDF: 978-0-470-67001-9

The first is written in a tight and matter of fact style that can be challenging to follow for a learning style benefitting from explanation and step-by-step introductions.  The second takes more time with explanation and context.  Both texts have been identified as suggested reading.  Two additional books I have found valuable are:

  • Statistical Methods for Geographers by W.A.V. Clark and P.L Hoskins; published by Wiley; and
  • Elementary Statistics for Geographers by James E. Burt, Gerald M. Barber, and David L. Rigby; published by Guilford Press

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.