Geography 355: Geographic Information Systems & Science

Syllabus: Spring Semester 2019
Meeting: TBA

Instructor: Dr. Nathan Rowley

Course Description: Geographic Information Systems & Science (GIS) are an integrative set of concepts and technologies, including data capture (scanning, digitizing, GPS), data analysis, and visualization / display / output (mapping & cartography). This course consists of an overview of the concepts, functions, and use of GIS software and hardware combined with a service-learning/community/regional project that engages the students in an actual GIS application. The project focuses on an application where students work with people in other departments at OWU or from outside of the university.

Course Prerequisites: None (but Geog 222 or 353 help)

Paperless Course: I am reducing paper use in this course. We still have text books, but all course “handouts” (syllabus, schedule, readings) will be digital. In addition, I would like all materials you “hand in” (reports, evaluations, etc.) to be posted on your course blog or emailed to me as a PDF or Word file. For help with formatting digital stuff, see my Digital Submissions Guide.

Lab Computer Skills Required: Students in Geography 355 need basic competence in the Windows operating system, Excel spreadsheet, ArcGIS, and basic internet skills (blogs, searching). Students will be expected to take initiative to learn additional details about the software and to solve problems as they arise. Students should expect to spend time outside of scheduled hours to complete course work.

Text and Readings: There are two texts for this course: The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis, vol. 1 (1999) and Getting to Know ArcGIS, 4rd edition (2015). Earlier editions of the Getting to Know ArcGIS book may not correlate with the latest version of the software. Additional readings will be assigned.

Course Format: Follow the schedule to the best of your ability and do what I ask. You have some wiggle room, but please don’t get more than a week behind. Reading some stuff, then doing a tutorial, then doing a project.

Evaluation: Students will maintain a relatively detailed course blog that describes their activities in the course. Students will complete a mid-semester take-home evaluation (reflecting skills using GIS software and data) and an end of semester evaluation of their work in the course with a suggested letter grade (with supporting material). Additional exercises will be assigned when appropriate.

Science Center & GIS Access

Instructor will forward a list of students in the class to public safety, to gain card access to the Science Center. In addition, students will be provided with an access code to get access to the GIS lab (207 Science Center). Together that gives you 24 – 7 access to the GIS lab and everything you need to complete the course.

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