[an error occurred while processing this directive]   Computer Resources GIS Manual  

Guidelines for Documenting Place-Based Studies

Developing a capacity to compile, produce, evaluate, and share information is one goal of a university education. The following Design School courses: Fundamentals of GIS, Site Systems Representation I and Site Systems Representation II are each geared to developing and communicating critical ideas concerning places and scenarios using data, and evaluating these representations as models that more or less improve our understanding of a particular aspect of a place, or some aspect of the modeling process. In this endeavor there are three important things to learn and to demonstrate:

  • What is the name and the institutional context of the person who has performed this study?
  • What are the Intentions and Questions that are the impulse for this study?
  • What information sources and prior scholarship are the basis for our representation?
  • What are the critical aspects of the context of the area of interest?
  • Of course there should be some maps, diagrams or three dimensional renderings that communicate something useful or interesting with respect to all of the above.
  • Each graphic should have a caption explaining the entities and relationships that are shown and how these improve our understanding of the place, a scenario, or the problem of representation itself.


  • Conceptualizing Models for Scholarship and Decision Support
  • Understanding and Documenting Critical Aspects of Data
  • Elements of Cartographic Style

    Technical Standards and Tips

    These guidelines will be useful for any of your professional or scholarly work; in the context of the aforementioned GSD classes, your grades will suffer markedly if you fail to follow them. Handling, remarking upon and archiving document submissions from a class full of students can be problematic when the documents are technically awkward. As a student, or as a professional, you should endeavor to make sure that your documentation is stable and streamlined and that it isn't frustrating for your client to handle.

    Final Format:The documents should be submitted in Adobe PDF format so that they can be opened in the Acrobat viewer which has no risk of modifying the document or passing macro viruses. unless noted otherwise, all documents should be formatted for an 8"x11" page, landscape format so that they are easily viewed on a computer screen or printed out. In general, you can expect that your work will be viewed on-line, so it is OK to include animations or other hypermedia. Landscape format is better suited to on-screen viewing than portrait.

    Keep images and text next to eachother. Your project will be evaluated on how well your images and text support eachother. So make it easy and put your related text and images next to eachother on the same page.

    Single PFD Document, Multiple Pages, Reasonable Size YOur work is going to be uploaded and downloaded over the internet. It is important that you make this no more difficult than is necessary. All the pages of your document shoiuld be in one PDF file, and this file should not be any larger than, say 20 megabytes. There are save options in acrobat that will let you reduce the size of the document, if these don;t work for yuou then consider including lower resolution graphics.

    Keep Backups of your Data and Documents Be sure to save your intermediate data files, models and draft documents so that you can make suggested revisions for the final! Ib case the instructor's copy of your project is lost. You will be responsible for being able to proivide another copy.


    The simplest workflow for preparing your work is to simply use the layout view in ArcMap to create a series maps with a captions as single PDF files. Then use Acrobat Pro (Document > Insert Page) to compile these into a single file. If you have pages that are not coming from arcmap, you might compose these in another tool (e.g. Microsoft Word), save them as PDf, and again, use Acrobat Pro to interleave these intop thge document. Acrobat pro is available for installation from the gsd l:\public\software folder.

    Submit files through courseware It is very difficult to keep track of random files submitted on CD or attached to email messages. Unless otherwise noted, all assignments should be submitted to courseware using the link provided on the assignment page. Beacuse space in the instructor's email inbox is limited, assignments submitted through email may be completely disregarded.

    Font Problems: Another potential problem with pdf documents is that they may use fonts that are copyrighted and not included with the file. This is a bad problem since the file will reference the fonts from your computer and will look fine, until it is viewed on a computer that does not have your special fonts. To check this in acrobat , turn off Advanced->Use Local Fonts to see what your file will look like if it depends only on the fonts imbedded in the document.

    Export a JPEG --The safe way to put graphics in your document Considering all of the potential gotchas with exporting graphics as emf, you may want to simply export your graphics as jpg. When you do this, just make sure you adjust the options for DPI so that all of the important map detail is legible.

    Screen Capture there are some situations when you need to capture an image of something on your screen, and the export functions of your software aren't any help. This is particularly true when you need to show a part of the software interface, such as a menu or a dialog box. In cases such as these, you can always capture an image of your screen with the Prinscreen button. Consult your operating system help documentation for details on how this works. Once captured, the image can be pasted into your word document and cropped apropriately using word's image formatting tools. If you do a lot of screen capturing, you may want to invest in a good shareware screen capture tool like Snagit.

    Embedding Animations in a PDF Document: Animations can add a lot of information to a digital document using a very small amount of real-estate. Animations are particularly useful for showing the relationships among elements in a three dimensional scene. Click Here to view a pdf document with embedded animations -- including tips for creating your own!

    Backups: it is the responsibility of each student to keep backup copies of all work until the final course grade has been issued. The instructor is not responsible for work that is permanently lost for any reason.