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Course overview
This course will focus on introducing students to the use of geographic information systems in the urban/suburban/metropolitan environment.  Students will learn to work with urban spatial databases (including data sets pertaining to land use/land cover, parcel records, census demographics, environmental issues, water, transportation, local government, community development, and businesses). Technical topics to be covered include finding and understanding sources of information for metropolitan spatial databases, integration of data from a variety of sources, database structure and design issues, spatial analysis capabilities, data quality and data documentation.  Technologies covered include GIS, online data retrieval, and the use of GIS data in other applications such as Google Earth. While learning GIS skills, students will complete a mapping/analysis project of their choosing and present the results in a poster and short paper. The course will use ArcGIS 9.2 3 software - all students will receive a one-year license of ArcView 9.2 3 software for their home use.

The course web site, including the schedule of readings and assignments can be accessed on the web at: 


  • Required: Juliana Maantay and John Ziegler. 2006. GIS for the Urban Environment. ESRI Press, Redlands,CA.
  • Optional: Andy Mitchell, The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis, vol 1: Geographic Patterns and Relationships, ESRI Press, Redlands, CA