Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems: Theory and Applications

Universities have always been places where scholars and professionals learn to deal with information. To compile information as a basis for inquiry and credible arguments, and to properly document information for sharing with colleagues or clients are fundamental aspects ofscholarship. This course addresses issues of scholarship in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Gathering and Sharing GIS Data Layers The first half of thecourse explores the Nouns of GIS. Students choose a site (inthe United States) and compile a base dataset from various sources,including circulation, hydrography, landmarks, georeferenced aerial photographyand scanned maps, demographic data, terrain and land cover. This datasetwill serve as the basis for several analytical statements about the site and its context with maps that serve to illustrate the text. The product foreach student at mid-term is a 10-page document of text and maps, along witha well-documented geographic dataset, on a CD, suitible for sharing. GIS-Based Inquiry The focus of second half of the course is on building and evaluating complex statements using the associative or transforming operations of GIS to derive new information. The fundamental operations of Vector-Relational, Raster, and Image Processing Geographic Information systems will be surveyed, alternately with discussions and demonstrations of applications. In weekly lab assignments, students will practice forming questions that can be explored though analytical GIS techniques, documenting the critical steps and choices made in geographic analysis. In each case, the vlaidity and utility of the derived information will be considered. This work will result in several more pages of each student\’s portfolio of analytical text with illustrative maps.