cod. 1005854

Academic year 2020/21
1° year of course - Annual
Professor responsible for the course unit
LEONELLI Giovanni Francesco Martino
integrated course unit
12 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Course unit structured in the following modules:

Learning objectives

The course aims to provide basic knowledge of the physical phenomena that occur in the atmosphere to explain the different climatic conditions that characterize the earth's surface. The second part of the course, mainly carried out through exercises, provides the basic knowledge for a profitable use of the topographic map, a fundamental tool for reporting the geological data collected on the ground. Ability to trace topographic profiles and delineation of hydrographic basins. Knowledge on the use of QGIS is mainly based on various practical computer activities.



Course unit content

The course provides knowledge on the shape of the Earth, on the motions of the planet and the effects of the inclination of the Earth's axis; on the structure and physical characteristics of the atmosphere and solar radiation; on atmospheric pressure and winds; on atmospheric humidity, types of precipitation and phenomena of cyclonic perturbations; on terrestrial climates and their classification.
It also provides the theoretical and practical elements of classical and digital cartography and the notions for the management of geographic data through the use of geographic information systems (QGIS software)

Full programme

Elements of astronomical geography: the solar system, planets, main characteristics, motions, distances and dimensions.
Planet Earth’s motions, revolution and rotation, inclination of the axis, height and declination of the sun, the latitude. Solar forcing, energy balance, the seasons.
Duration of day and night, time measurements and longitude.
Earth's magnetic field, cosmic particles and aurora borealis.
ATMOSPHERE: Structure and chemical composition of the atmosphere, meteorological phenomena. Measuring instruments for temperature, precipitation, pressure, humidity, wind speed, insolation. Atmospheric pressure, isobars, convective cells, winds, meteorological systems. The greehouse effect.
TERRESTRIAL CRUST and LITHOSPHERE: plaques, distribution of the continents in the climate system.
HYDROSPHERE: seas and oceans, tides and lunar motions, mascaret, sea currents, Ekman spiral, surface and underground waters, glaciers, ice sheets and pack ice
BIOSPHERE: outline of global biogeography, the interactions between the physical and biological environment, spontaneous vegetation as a climate indicator, types of forests, grassland, savannah, steppe, desert, tundra. Carbon cycle
The climates, their latitudinal and altitudinal distribution, classification according to W. Köppen and to A.N. Strahler, natural variability and climate change.
History of cartography and measurements of the Earth dimensions (outline)
Classification of maps; general maps and thematic maps.
Reference ellipsoids and azimuthal cartographic projections; of conical and cylindrical development; Geographic grid and calculation of the coordinates of a point (Rome40 and ED50 datum).
Triangulations and photogrammetric survey (outline).
Cartographic organs and official Italian cartography.
Gauss-Boaga cross-grid and UTM and calculation of the coordinates of a point.
Characteristics and methods of use of the GPS system (Global Positioning System).
Cartographic symbols.
Altitude representation of the terrain, contour lines, altitude of a point, distance and acclivity between two points
Execution of the topographic profile.
Delimitation of river basins.
Features of the Regional Technical Card.
Overview of numerical cartography.
General features of a GIS.
Specific features of QGIS, a Free and Open Source Geographic Information System
The main commands:
for the management of the working environment, the layers;
for the management of the raster data;
for the management of vector data;
for database management.
Geoprocessing and query
digital cartography in the geoportals; data acquisition and WMS services
digitalization and georeferencing of cards
Change of coordinate systems and change of datum
Import of points and lines acquired in the field with GPS.


Strahler A. “Fondamenti di Geografia Fisica”, Zanichelli 2015
Strahler A.N. “Geografia Fisica”, Piccin 1984
Casati, Scienze della Terra Vol. 1

Perego S.: Cartografia . Lettura delle Carte Topografiche, -2010.
Migliaccio F., Carrion D. Sistemi informativi territoriali. UTET, 2016

Slides of the lectures, scientific paper given by the professor

Teaching methods

The course is carried out through lectures and practical activities on maps and computer, 12 credits, for a total of 96 hours. Acquired knowledge of the most commonly used commands for the visualization and analysis of the cartographic works, the digitalization of cartographic data and the creation of layouts through QGIS. Practical applications of using a GIS are performed along the course.
The slides used to support the lessons are uploaded on a weekly basis on the Elly platform. To download the slides, you need to register for the online course. All lessons are also recorded on the Teams platform and can be viewed deferred, if necessary, within about one month from the delivery of the lesson.
The slides are considered an integral part of the teaching material, and are to be used to integrate the information received during the course with the necessary insights to be done individually on the indicated textbooks. Non-attending students are reminded to check the didactic material available and the information provided by the teacher through the Elly platform.

Assessment methods and criteria

The 3 exams relating to the Physical Geography, Cartography and GIS course must be passed in sequence:
- Physical Geography (one oral exam, 1 vote)
- Cartography (one practical exam, 1 vote)
- GIS (one practical exam, 1 vote)
The final grade for the Physical Geography, Cartography and GIS exam is given by the average of the 3 grades obtained in Physical Geography (1 grade), Cartography (1 grade) and GIS (1 grade). The final grade is recorded on the GIS exam, after passing it.

The exam of Physical Geography takes place through an oral interview. Four questions of [8/30] each will be asked (the grade of 32/30 corresponds to 30L), for a typical duration of around 30-40 minutes. If a question is completely unanswered or completely wrong, the maximum mark achievable in the exam will be [22/30].
The grade of the oral exam is communicated immediately at the end of the exam itself

Practical exams.
You can access the Cartography exam only if you have passed the oral exam of Physical Geography.
The GIS exam is accessed only if the Cartography test has been passed.

- Cartography Mod: the exam is divided into two parts (the grade of the first part is added to the grade of the second part). The Cartography Mod. is passed if an overall grade> = 18/30 is obtained and if no serious errors are made in the second part (ie no grade with 0).
1st part) Coordinates of a point in the 4 coordinate systems (UTM kilometric, Gauss-Boaga kilometric, Italian geographic and international geographic) [10/30], theory test of 5 questions with closed answers [5/30].
2nd part) construction of a topographic profile [10/30] and delimitation of a hydrographic basin [5/30] from a topographic map.
The grade of the practical exam is possibly communicated within 24 hours

- Mod. GIS: Execution of an exercise to verify the knowledge acquired in data management and use of some fundamental functions of QGIS. The problem to be solved is based on the exercises seen during the course and is divided into 3 parts of [10/30] each.
The grade of the practical exam is possibly communicated within 1-3 days

Other information

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