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  • Course Overview, Objectives, and Grading

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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  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 910.3 1 software - all students will receive a one-year license of ArcView 9ArcGIS 10.3 1 software for their home use (the software works on a PC but can run on a Mac if you have a PC emulator or BootCamp, plus a license of Windows).


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


Course Requirements
Students will be expected to attend every class and to complete all graded lab 6 GIS and written assignments - these will require additional computer/lab time outside of class. Each student will also complete a mapping/analysis project of his/her choice, assemble and document a spatial database for the project, and create a poster and accompanying short paper explaining the project and showing results. The assignments and final project will require significant additional computer/lab time outside of class (averaging 5-7 hours a week).  There are very few readings - the bulk of the work is hands-on for assignments and the final project.

Assignment points are as listed for each assignment (the total possible points for assignments add up to 70)
Final project poster and short paper - 30 points

Grading will be based on a 100 point scale as follows:

99-100 - A+
93 94-98 - A
90-92 93 - A-
88-89 - B+
83 84-87 - B
80-82 83 - B-
78-79 - C+
73 74-77 - C
70-72 73 - C-