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Assignment 6 - Basic Queries

Format: Text or PDF document. Place on Student Work Zone section of the wiki or turn in by 5pm to Barbara's mailbox, UEP office, 97 Talbot Ave

The purpose of this assignment is for you to learn and practice some of the basic queries you can perform with GIS.

In this assignment, you need to perform an analysis in which you use all of the following, in any order or in combination - there are tip sheets for each of these functions on our GIS Resources - Tip Sheets wiki (see the sections: Working with Tables and Basic Query Functions):

  • Select by attribute
  • Select by location
  • Statistics for selected features
  • Summarize by an attribute field value
  • Field Calculator or Geometry Calculator
  • Optional: Spatial Join (for aggregating point information by polygons)

For example, you could use these tools to analyze parcels in Boston which meet certain conditions for redevelopment based on their attributes and their location relative to other features or demographics, and to prioritize these according to some criteria. Or using MassGIS data you might look for potential land acquisition areas that would serve both environmental ends and provide open space for currently underserved communities. Or you may want to look at what sections of a community may be most vulnerable to a natural or man-made disaster based on census demographics, living/working in hazardous areas, and distance from emergency response facilities and evacuation routes.

It would be ideal to do this assignment as a mini-test of a project idea or at least using data you are likely to use in your project.  If more applicable, use data we have in-house or that you can download online.  But keep it very simple for this assignment! If you have trouble thinking of something, talk to the instructor or TA - we are brimming with ideas.


In addition to the tip sheets on the required functions, there are some trouble-shooting tip sheets on our Tip Sheets section that you will find helpful:

  • Defining a Map Projection - if you get a warning that a data layer's spatial reference is not defined, use this tip sheet to help solve that problem.
  • Setting up for Spatial Analysis - this tip sheet tells you how to work with data in different coordinate systems and to get your layers all into one coordinate system
  • Fixing Problems with Numeric and Text Fields using Field Calculator - this tip sheet explains how to change a text field to numeric and vice versa (e.g., in the Boston parcel assessor data, some of the attributes that should be numeric are instead text, and you need to change them to numeric before querying them (e.g., select all lots larger than 10,000 square feet) 

What to turn in:

Turn in a brief report that includes the following:

  • The goal of your analysis
  • The steps you went through (i.e., the queries you performed, in order) - you may use graphics to explain if you like
  • A map or maps that show the results along with summary table(s) you create
  • A note on why the results of your analysis are or might be incorrect (e.g., a caveat to someone reading or wanting to use these results)
  • No labels