Geography 355: Geographic Information Systems & Science

Syllabus: Spring Semester 2014

Meeting: Monday + Wednesday 2:10 – 4:00 pm: Science Center 207
Instructor: Dr. John Krygier
Office: Science Center 206
Office phone: 740-368-3622
Office hours: MW 12-2 pm (or by chance or appointment)

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 three texts for this course: N. Schuurman GIS: A Short Introduction (2004), The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis, vol. 1 (1999) and Getting to Know ArcGIS, 3rd edition (2013). 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: Geography 355 is a collaborative and project oriented course. Students will be given the opportunity to shape the direction of the course, what we do during our meeting times, how the course projects are developed, and what exactly we will complete (and how we will present it at the end of the semester – the web, formal presentation open to other OWU faculty and students, etc.). As such, students are expected to attend all class meetings (please let instructor know ahead of time if you will miss a meeting) and participate fully in the course presentations, tutorials, and course 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 Access: Spring 2014

Instructor will forward a list of students in the class to public safety, to gain card access to the Science Center.

Science Center building open:

  • Mon – Fri 7am to 10pm
  • Sat 7am – 6pm
  • Sun 7:30am – Midnight

GIS Lab (Sci Ctr 207) door open:

  • Mon – Fri 7am -7pm

After Hours access: Students in Geography 355 have OWU ID card access to the Science Center via the west entrance (on the atrium level). Also, please request a code from Krygier to get after-hours access to the GIS lab.


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