GEOG 201: Introduction to Geographic Information Science

This course explores the structure, design, science, and applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The student will learn how to store, retrieve, manipulate, analyze, and display large volumes of spatial data derived from various sources. Students will learn information management techniques for a variety of purposes including planning and simulation modelling. This course will use the most popular GIS program, ArcGIS.


This course has two goals. First, you will be introduced to the technology, science, applications, and institutional impacts of GIS. Second, you will acquire hands-on instruction on the software. Each week we will spend approximately two hours on general GIS material and 15 minutes on the application of the week. There is a lab component to the course but it will be arranged on a needs basis. Teaching assistants are responsible for software instruction in the labs.


By the end of this course, you will be able to do the following:

·        explain the basic terms in GIS,

·        describe the relationship between a traditional analog map and a GIS, describe the difference between spatial and aspatial information,

·        be familiar with basic terms in database management, interpret the transformations that take place during data input and output, describe the basic analytic capacities of GIS;

·        describe the basic principles of remote sensing, distinguish between GIScience and GIS,

·        identify at least 5 major areas of GIScience research, describe potential applications and users,

·         illustrate the impact of scale, projection and topology on our perceptions of the world,

·        justify a chosen map design,

·        evaluate appropriate forms of data and levels of measurement for an application,

·        critique a GIS application from a management standpoint,

·        appraise a GIS application from a societal and ethical standpoint, and

·        solve basic spatial analysis problems with the software.

·        Lastly, for basic geospatial applications, you will be able to formulate a solution.