Empirical methods in Physical Geography

Undergraduate course, RWTH Aachen, Geography Dept., 2014

Field seminar within the Geography Bachelor programme at RWTH Aachen University.

Newly introduced course; the syllabus had to be created from scratch. Implemention as an interactive field excursion filled with practical tasks (mapping, measuring, calculating) and experiments, many of which had to be self­designed live by the students.

Learning aims

Second­semester students are introduced to field methods, bringing theoretical subject matter from preceding lectures to practice.


  • Introduction to geomorphological field work
  • Orientation and measurements with compass and GPS
  • Drilling sediment cores with a Cobra device
  • Different approaches to measure runoff
  • Geomorphological mapping basics
  • Soil profile sampling (Puerckhauer)
  • Geodetic measurements with a Tachymeter
  • Slope and valley profiles