00455 - Geography

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Climate Action Oceans Life on land

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

The student will have knowledge on Cartography, Earth system, meteorology, oceanography and geography. In particular the student will be able to: - read topographical maps and make topographocal profiles; - explain the most important natural phenomena that occur on the Earth; - read photographs from a naturalistical point of view.

Course contents

Students will be introduced to the World on which we all live, its position in the Universe and the characteristics of its lithosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. They will also acquire practice in the reading of maps in different scales and in recognising the main rock types.

The course is subdivided in 5 sections: astronomical geography, meteorology, oceanography, continental water and cartography.

The astronomical part has the aim of placing the Earth in its spatial environment and comprises the following lectures: introduction, optical instruments, astronomical observation, historical astronomy, the Sun, motion of the Earth, the Earth, the Moon and the notion of Time.

For what concerns Meteorology the lectures are: introduction, physical concepts, air motion, clouds and precipitation and climate with notions on Biogeography.

Oceanography consists in: Earth System, History of oceanography, Sea Floor, physical and chemical characteristics of the ocean water, waves, tides and ocean currents.

In the part regarding continental waters one will see: water cycle, surface waters and subterranean waters.

The lectures on Cartography will be dedicated mainly on the reading and the understanding of topographical maps in different scales, even though some theory on mapping will also be given.

Durino laboratories the students will also learn to recognise the main rock types outcropping at the Earth's surface.

Several hours will also be dedicated to the consultation of the world's map, through Google Earth, to explore the most important geographical sites and understand their geographical and naturalistical context.


There are no Books that cover the entire contents of the Course. Therefore notes prepared by the lecturerwill be given to the students. However, for who is interested, some good books that can be acquired are:

Bosellini Alfonso (1998) - Le Scienze della Terra e l'Universo intorno a noi.Volumi A e B. 628 p., Italo Bovolenta Editore

Casati Pompeo, Pace Francesco (2002) - Scienze della Terra. Volume 2. L'atmosfera, l'acqua, i climi, i suoli. 689 p., Città Studi Edizioni.

Lupia Palmieri Elvidio, Parotto Maurizio (2000) - Il globo terrestre e la sua evoluzione. Quinta edizione, 596 p., Zanichelli Editore

Marshak Stephen (2004) - La Terra. Ritratto di un Pianeta. 797 p. Zanichelli Editore.

McKnight T.L., Hess D. (2005) - Geografia fisica. Comprendere il paesaggio. 649 p. Piccin Nuova Libraria, Padova.

Press Frank, Siever Raymond,Gotzinger John, Jordan Thomas H.(2006) - Capire la Terra. 672 p. Zanichelli editore

Strahler Alan, Strahler Arthur (2006) - Introducing Physical Geography, 4th edition. 728 p., Wiley & Sons.

Teaching methods

Lectures will be sustained by powerpoint presentations.

For what concerns Cartography 16 hours will be spent  in the laboratory working on Maps.

Other 16 hours of laboratory are dedicated to the recognition of hand-held rocks.

Assessment methods


The exam is composed of two separate parts.

The first practical part of Cartography-Geography-Rocks is held in December or January (during the laboratories) and allows to have the exam (cartography needs to be passed before having the exam).


During the exam on Cartography the student has to position 2 points on a 25000 topographic map using UTM, Italian and European geographical coordinates, while of a third given point these coordinates will have to be calculated. For all three points the altitude has to be defined using the quoted points and altitude lines. On millimetric paper an altitude profile has to be constructed along the line that connects the three points, in a given vertical scale. To end with a river basin has to be delimited passing on the highest points (divide). The entire cartography part is worth 6 points (on 30). 

The student will be asked to describe 10 locations (taken out of a list of over 300 places around the world). This part is worth 5 points (on 30).

The student will have to describe and identify three rock samples (two chosen by the student, one given by me) (worth 3 points).



The examination on Astronomy-Hydrosphere-Meteorology-Oceanography is an entirely written part consisting in 16 questions (one points each), followed by an oral interrogation. This is worth 16/30. 

Teaching tools

The lectures on astronomy, meteorology, oceanography and the hydrosphere will take place using powerpoint presentations. The Cartography part will make extensively use of topographical maps in different scales. Rock types will be explained through hand specimens.

Office hours

See the website of Jo Hilaire Agnes De Waele