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Functional modeling is incredibly important in geospatial applications and it’s so often only marginally well understood – I see so many people knowing just enough to scrape by… I have lots of colleagues who’ve done (tried to do) a fair amount of stuff and still stumble over the differences between concepts such as combined, parametric, and conditional functional models. Or the difference between direct and indirect models. Or knowing how to identify whether a situation implies a linear or non-linear model.

The topics found here are meant to rocket you to the front of the pack on all of that.

The first lesson is an introduction or re-introduction to functional modeling – to set the stage and make sure you really get it using simple and illustrative examples. The second lesson uses more examples to introduce the combined, parametric, and conditional cases. And the third lesson wraps things in a bow, clarifying a few last points and summarizing everything in a few handy tables.

Unlike our other topics so far, the lessons below contain animated whiteboard videos, meaning that you can check out the lecture and examples on your own time and at any time – now as you take the course, or in a year when you need to check in again for something your coding, or down the road.

Completing all three will also earn you a mini-badge (as long as you’re signed in).


1. Work your way through the lessons and self-assessments (under “Resource content”) below. This online format has allowed me to be more thorough in places, but as a guide, the three lessons taken together would likely be covered in a 50 or 75 minute lecture period, depending on how much discussion took place.

2. We won’t be covering this material in class so be sure to add to your “perfect set of lecture notes” as you see fit. As always, these are carefully designed to help you do well on the related quiz and final exam. Be sure your notes make everything handy because just like skipping a class, you likely won’t have time on an exam or on the job to watch the videos for the first time.

3. Once you’ve clicked through them all, you’ll pick up the associated mini-badge (as long as you’re signed in). I don’t mark the mini-badges in the course, as you know. They’re just a way for you and me to know when you’ve finished the task. As usual, the content itself will be audited through the self-assessments. And we’re always happy to help with those, so don’t hesitate.