Updated Geog 355 (Independent Study) for Fall 2020

August 23, 2020

Fall 2018 offering of Geog 355: Delaware Data, Midterm, and Project

September 30, 2018

Regardless of your position on police bunnies, we are nearing the halfway point of Geog 355 and I have a few updates for you:

  1. You are diligently compiling your progress on the readings and ArcGIS tutorial, on a blog created for the course. Please continue to update me as you add blog postings. Roughly follow the course schedule.
  2. Get going on the Delaware Data Inventory, and complete (with a blog posting indicating such) by Sunday, October 14.
  3. Review the postings from last spring on the Delaware Neighborhood project:
    1. https://gisci.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/week-2-updates/
    2. https://gisci.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/week-3-updates/
    3. https://gisci.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/week-4-updates/
  4. Janelle is working on getting some background information on the Neighborhood Mapping project and she and I will be in touch about the project in the near future.
  5. Once you finish the Delaware Data Inventory and ArcGIS tutorial, you can get going on the Midterm Evaluation. This will be a butt-load of fun and will put your brain deep into the world of doing stuff with GIS. Due Friday, October 26.

Week 3: Updates

January 30, 2018

After our rousing meeting on Monday a few things can be reiterated:

  1. Please create your class blog and get me the URL by Thursday
  2. Please consult the course schedule and make a single weekly blog posting that includes
    1. reading notes (so I know you read the stuff)
    2. progress on the tutorial (when we get to it)
    3. project ideas, work on proposal, and updates
    4. other pertinent stuff (such as progress on your writing option, if you are doing one for this course)
    5. email me when you post your weekly post (no later than the Sunday at the end of the week)
  3. Lets plan to meet on Mondays at 1-2pm until further notice.
  4. I’m going to look into ArcOnline accounts for us
  5. We seem to be settling into the Neighborhood Mapping project
    1. scale is an issue:
      1. Delaware has wards (four of them, look it up)
      2. Below that scale, there are neighborhoods (“Downtown”)
      3. Below that scale, there are smaller neighborhoods (“Downtown SoWill” – downtown south of William St.)
    2. sometimes neighborhoods correlate with subdivisions (“Wesleyan Woods”): GIS data on subdivisions
    3. subdivisions have HOA boundaries (Home Owner’s Association): GIS data on HOA in Delaware?
    4. demographic data: from US Census: blocks, block groups, Census tracts (see below: two graphics)
      1. demographic data can be used to create neighborhoods, but this is a bit dangerous (why?).
      2. demographic data can be associated with neighborhoods (say, poverty rate), but this might also be a bit dangerous (why?)
      3. if the City wants to be able to match demographic data to neighborhoods, the neighborhood boundaries have to follow census boundaries (block, block group, etc.). This is important to build into the neighborhood boundary making from the start.

  1. Preliminary proposal, due Friday, February 9. This may be one big proposal, or several related smaller proposals. We’ll figure that out.
    1. Details on Project Proposal
  2. Go back and, individually, complete the Defining and Mapping Neighborhoods stuff from the previous update. Put on ye blog!
  3. Teh major issues: preliminary: these may be sub working groups and writing options if need be:
    1. Literature on Neighborhoods
      1. Academic – Planning, Urban Studies, Geography, etc.
      2. Other literature
    2. Literature and info on methods for determining neighborhoods
      1. surveys
      2. historical research (on Delaware)
    3. Using GIS to map and communicate neighborhoods
      1. including ArcOnline to make the data easily available

Please email or talk to me if you have questions along the way. Bothering me is better than you not doing what you are supposed to do!

Week 2 Updates

January 23, 2018

First: Create your course WordPress blog and email me the URL (by this Friday, January 26)

Second: Do the stuff as suggested on the course schedule.

Third: Make a single weekly blog posting that includes

  • reading notes (so I know you read the stuff)
  • progress on the tutorial (when we get to it)
  • project ideas, work on proposal, and updates
  • other pertinent stuff (such as progress on your writing option, if you are doing one for this course)
  • email me when you post your weekly post (no later than the Sunday at the end of the week)

Writing Options: if you want to keep the writing option, please do the following

  • let me know you are doing the writing option (email) before Friday February 2
  • include a paragraph or so describing the writing option paper
  • outline of the paper due by Friday March 2
  • draft of the paper (rough is ok) due before spring break


We are headed towards a preliminary project proposal, due Friday, February 9. This may be one big proposal, or several related smaller proposals. We’ll figure that out.

It seems like we are levitating towards a group effort on defining and mapping Delaware Neighborhoods

  • If you are interested in working on something else, talk to me.

We will work with the GIS Coordinator for Delaware (Rachel Hostetler) and her office (including Janelle Valdinger)

Brad B. is doing an internship at their office this semester, and will work on the project there and as part of our course. Janelle works there, so she will be able to help with coordination between the Coordinator and ourselves.

Defining and Mapping Neighborhoods: each of you…

  1. What is a neighborhood? Dig around (internet, library resources, etc.) and write-up a paragraph. Write another paragraph on neighborhoods (Delaware or otherwise) you are familiar with
  2. Find three examples of neighborhood mapping: like Columbus Neighborhood Map
  3. Sign up on Nexdoor.com (try your Delaware or actual home address): it’s a kind of social media but limited to neighborhoods. How do they determine what a neighborhood is?
  4. Literature search: defining and mapping neighborhoods: find five potentially useful sources that address ways that neighborhoods are defined and mapped.
    • Like this: “Defining Neighborhoods for Research and Policy” by Claudia Coulton (Cityscape, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2012, pp. 231-236)
    • Be creative with your keywords: “neighborhood” GIS or “neighborhood” “define” “mapping” etc. Don’t include sources that are not particularly relevant.
    • When you find a good source on Google Scholar, click on the link that says “Cited by” and this will take you to additional sources that cite the source (and, thus, were published later). This is a good way to find additional sources. Full text links (for some sources) are to the right of the source.
    • If you find a good source, but there is not a full text link, use our Library resources to find the full text (Summon and online databases).
    • Email and talk to Krygier
  5. Five sources from these sites (or others):
    1. Search Google or Bing (in general)
    2. Search Google Scholar
    3. Search Summon (via OWU Library: the All search on this page)
    4. Search our online databases
  6. Create a brief annotated bibliography of your sources and put on your blog: what’s that? Look here.
  7. Begin to sort out major issues in the topic, to help us form sub-groups: for example:
    1. Theoretical literature on how neighborhoods are defined
    2. Methods for determining neighborhood boundaries (including surveys, etc.)
    3. GIS and mapping and neighborhood determination
    4. And so on… these could be the individual writing option papers (which, at the end, we compile together into a handbook on the topic).

A few additional issues:

  • We may have Brad work on a prototype project that shows us how we can go from the data to ArcGIS to ArcOnline. Look up what ArcOnline is about.
  • We may be able to work on a second set of more natural “neighborhoods” – Anthropogenic Biomes (article) and a previous course project “A Proposal for Delaware County Anthromes.” Review the Proposal document and jot down a few notes in your weekly posting.



Geog 355, Spring 2018: Week 2: Getting Started

January 22, 2018

  1. Review syllabus, schedule, readings, blogs
  2. Updated Projects page with examples of proposals, reports, maps, etc. for selected projects
  3. Discuss Project Ideas

Updated for Spring 2018 Version of Geography 355

November 2, 2017

Geography 355 GIS Blog Updated for Spring 2014!

January 6, 2014


M J 13: Introduction to Course, Course Projects, and Course Blogs

January 6, 2014

Deer with basketball stuck in antlers

Geography 355: a follow up to Geography 222 & 353

  • But no prereq!  Why?  Problems with this! Or not!
  • Best to take 222 then 353 then 355 – but any combination OK
Geographic Information Systems (GIS): technology & methods for analyzing spatial / geographic data (data with a geographic location associated with it).

Different ways to teach a geographic information systems (GIS) course like this one:

  • Lectures + series of exercises (Geog 222)
  • Lectures + one big exercise broken into parts (Geog 353)

Or get away from those formats: even more open, flexible, interactive: this class:

  • Student presentations of readings (w/some by me)
  • Self guided tutorial (w/my & classmates help)
  • Applied, real-world group project or projects (practicum, service learning, etc.)

Exhibit A: GIS Texts for course (Schuurman, Mitchell, Getting to Know ArcGIS 10) and software (ArcGIS)

  • GIS: set of concepts and hardware and software
  • Data input, analysis, output
  • Capabilities and applications expanding exponentially
  • Data Input (how?)
  • Data Layers (examples)
  • Data analysis (examples)
  • Data output (printer, webmaps, etc.)
  • ex) Delaware GIS Data in ArcGIS
  • all in a social/human context (Schuurman book)

Course goal: become familiar (or more familiar) with GIS concepts, functionality, software

Exhibit B: class student projects

GIS is so popular because it is useful: many applications, but GIS applications are a lot of work!

  • Data input: where is data from?  format?  what data do you need?
  • typical: 50% to 75% of time and cost is in finding and processing data in any GIS project
  • Output: on computer screen?  paper?  WWW?  To what audience?

The complexities of an actual application

  • Understand the software, your data and the application area, the research process, goals.
  • The human context: working in a group (collaboration: group member’s varying abilities and skills), project politics, costs involved, institutions within which GIS is supposed to function

Course Goal: Learn that GIS is a bunch of software functions in ArcGIS and much more than a bunch of software functions in ArcGIS

The goal this semester is to bring together exhibits A and B

  • Learn about GIS as a software tool: its functions, capabilities
  • Apply what we learn to a real world project
  • In working through a real world application we will learn what GIS is really about much more than just software and hardware

Geography 353: Scripted project, all figured out for you, me active, you more passive

  • Useful for learning…but…

This course: a bit more active learning for all of us

  • We will work as a group (or in sub groups) throughout the semester
  • You will be active in shaping what we do and how we do it
  • The success of the course depends on your engagement in the course
  • You will push yourself and me to get the most you can get out of this course

Problems: anxiety provoking, potential for disorder and problems, unmotivated & passive students

Benefits: learn a lot in “real world” setting with real problems to solve, forced to move beyond passive lump in class, maybe even have an impact

OWU students: smart, motivated, engaged; and small class sizes

  • Upper level courses should involve real engagement (so that is what I expect)

Bottom Line: for this course to work:

  • Active participation by all students: lumpen passivity not allowed
  • Collaboration with each other and OWU and community folks
  • Students should expect to play an active and vital role in the class and in the project!

Review: Syllabus and Schedule and General Course Structure (blog)

Create your Course Blog

1) go to wordpress.com

2) sign up and create a blog

3) set up the look of the blog and create some categories

  • Class Readings
  • Class Project
  • Class Exercises
  • Evaluations
  • Personal

4) new post: introduction to you

5) new post: Schurmann reading (ch. 1) notes, comments, questions

6) new post: One GIS application area of interest, with at least 3-5 sources/links & embedded graphics

7) email me the URL to your Blog by the end of class today and have the other stuff done by class time Wednesday.

Wed. Feb. 22: Ongoing Class Work

February 22, 2012


Some things to do:

  • Sign up for the Sustainability at OWU Facebook Page. There is lots of sustainability stuff going on on campus, and this page is one excellent way to keep on top of it. Also, watch for ideas and projects related to what you are doing for your project in class. So sign up as an easy class assignment!
  • Keep working on your course project. Please prepare a project overview formatted like the one here, for a project in the Spring 2011 course. Do this by Wednesday, February 29.
  • Keep working on the ArcGIS Tutorial. You should be through the tutorial by the end of this week (Friday February 24).
  • Complete the Delaware Data Inventory as soon as possible, but no later than next Wednesday (February 29). You need to complete this before doing the 2nd part of the take home mid term exam.
  • Get going on the Take Home Mid Term Exam. The first part is relatively easy, the second part can be a bit of a bear. Don’t put it off!


I am away tomorrow (Thursday February 23) through next tuesday (February 28th) at a conference. Email me if anything comes up.


Geog 355 Blog Updated for Spring 2011!

January 5, 2011