GEOG 359: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems




GEOG 256, or consent of department.

Course Description

This course offers an introduction to the concepts, principles, and theories behind Geographic Information Systems and Science (GIS), with emphasis on the nature of geographic information, data models and structures for storing geographic information, geographic data capture, data manipulation, and simple spatial analysis and modeling techniques.

Course Objectives

  • describe what GIS is; name the major GIS software available; know where to find more information
  • explain the components and functionality of a GIS and the differences between GIS and other information systems
  • understand the nature of geographic information and explain how it is stored in computer (including map projection) and the two types of GIS data structure
  • conduct simple spatial analysis using GIS software
  • design and complete a GIS project from start to finish (data capture, data storage and management, analysis, and presentation)

Course Format

The course is composed of two components: lectures and labs. The lectures will discuss the concepts, principles, and theories behind GIS and the labs will reinforce the concepts and principles through hands-on exercises and projects. Students must be clear that this is not a class on any specific GIS software. It is a course on the underpinning theory and concepts in GIS. However, students will be exposed to ArcGIS, a major commercial GIS software, in their labs.