Introduction to GIS
Course Number: S603 (L595)
Number of credits: 1.5
Instructors: Hamid R. Ekbia
Time: First Summer Session, May 9-21, 2008
The main motivation for this workshop (and others of its kind) is what could be roughly called the "spatial turn" in the current academic and intellectual thinking. As in various other areas of behavioral and social sciences, students and scholars in information science, library science, cognitive science, and public administration increasingly find themselves dealing with behaviors and phenomena with a strong spatial component. The spatial turn is technologically manifested in the pervasive use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which has already entered the activities of people with diverse interests and goals. This equally applies to those interested in modeling and simulation, analysis and design, or operation and planning – e.g., in information organization and visualization, resource matching and management (in health, environment, education, etc.), disaster response and relief operations, and policy and decision-making. With GIS, for example, one can link information (attributes) to location data, such as scientific papers to people, people to universities, and universities to locations. One can then layer that information to get a better understanding of how information as an embodied phenomenon moves around in geographic space. What layers are chosen depends on what questions need to be answered. Traditionally the spatial dimension is dealt with, if at all, in an implicit manner by incorporating an abstract space in models and analyses. GIS, however, makes it possible to include space explicitly, giving a more "realistic" character to analytic and modeling work.
This workshop serves as an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), with an emphasis on modeling techniques. The purpose of the workshop is to introduce modeling techniques in GIS to students in the above disciplines. The workshop will follow a case-based approach, where techniques will be taught by using domain-specific examples. Each session of the workshop will introduce a major topic in GIS modeling as well as an example GIS model in a domain relevant to student interests. LIS/MLS students will benefit by learning about common digital data sources of geographic information available in the United States, their formats, and uses. MIS and cognitive science students will learn techniques for spatial analysis and modeling, and SPEA students will learn about GIS applications in public administration, city government, and environmental protection, etc.
Bolstad, P. 2008. GIS Fundamentals, 3rd Edition. Atlas Books, Inc.
No prior knowledge of GIS software is assumed, as part of the workshop will be dedicated to this goal. Familiarity with database systems and SQL will be helpful, but not necessary. (Completion of S511 is recommended but not required.)
Friday, May 9: Introducing ArcGIS
Bolstad: Chapter 1
In this session, following a brief introduction to the conceptual foundations of GIS, we will learn how to work with the ArcGIS software package, how to define and create layers, to overlay layers, and to generate map from that. We will use these to create a basic model in GIS.
· Fundamentals of GIS
· Introduction to ArcGIS
· How to build a simple GIS model
Getting started with ARCGIS Desktop (Virtual Campus): Module 1
· Explore a GIS map and get information about map features.
· Preview geographic data and metadata.
· Add data to a map.
· Describe the structure of a GIS map.
· Explain how a GIS represents real-world objects.
· Change the way features are drawn on a map.
· Access feature information in different ways.
· Describe spatial relationships of map features.
· Describe how GIS can be used to solve problems.
Find potential sites for a youth center
Monday, May 12: Geographic Data Types
Bolstad, Chapter 2 and 4
Traditionally, geographic data is represented either in raster or vector form, both of which are then digitally captured in databases. In this session, we learn about these representations and data structures, and apply them in building a model of land use.
Getting started with ARCGIS Desktop (Virtual Campus):
Module 2: Creating Map Symbology
Module 4: Organizing Geographic Data
· Group features into classes and apply symbols to each class.
· Compare different methods of grouping features into classes.
· Correct visual distortion caused by differences in area.
· Show proportional amounts on a map by normalizing data.
· Describe two common data models used to represent geographic data.
· List different geographic data formats.
· Identify data formats in ArcCatalog.
· Determine the data source of a layer in ArcMap.
· Create a geodatabase.
· Add data from different formats to a geodatabase.
Explore geographic data
Create a project database
Wednesday, May 14: Data Collection and Database Design
Bolstad, Chapters 7, 8
Geographic data can nowadays be obtained from a variety of sources such as satellites, GPS readings, mobile or remote sensing devices, online data repositories, etc. In this session, we will get to know examples of each of these, and build a model of disaster relief that draws upon a variety of such data sources.
· Data collection methods
· Data sources and repositories
Module 1: Exploring the Geodatabase model (Virtual Campus)
Module 2: Creating a geodatabase
· Explain how the geodatabase stores geographic data.
· Understand the differences between the types of geodatabases.
· Describe the three primary components of the geodatabase.
· Name other components that can be stored in a geodatabase.
· Understand how raster data is handled by the geodatabase.
· Access information about a geodatabase and its components.
Create a geodatabase and add data
Homework 1 (Extracting Census Data and Simple Queries): Due Monday May 19.
Friday, May 16: Spatial Analysis
Bolstad, Chapter 9
GIS does not only provide useful representation and visualization tools, it also provides unique analytical techniques. We will discuss some of the basic GIS techniques and operations of spatial analysis, and examine their application in environmental decision making.
Module 1: Getting started with ArcGIS Spatial Analyst
· Understand how ArcGIS Spatial Analyst fits into the geoprocessing framework.
· Set up an analysis environment.
· Run Spatial Analyst operations using a tool dialog box, the command line, and a model.
· Convert between feature and raster data.
· Reclassify data.
Work with Spatial Analyst tools (Virtual Campus)
Monday, May 19: Geocoding and Network Analysis
Bolstad, Chapter 9
Geocoding is the process of spatially referencing point features based on the address of the feature and knowledge of an address range for the linear network. Geocoding is often combined with network analysis to determine shortest path or time travels to a set of locations. Route finding, allocation and flow are commonly modeled in networks.
· Geocoding addresses
· Understanding networks
· Proximity and connectivity
Module 1: Geocoding basics
· Create an address locator.
· Geocode addresses from a table.
· Find individual addresses.
· Standardize address and reference data.
· Interpret geocoding results.
· Rematch addresses automatically and interactively.
Geocode and rematch addresses
Wednesday, May 21: Spatial Models
Bolstad, Chapter 13
In this last session, we will discuss some applications of spatial and cartographic models.
· Cartographic models
· Spatio-temporal models
· Agent-based models
Lab activity: TBD
This project will bring together all the GIS skills that you have learned in the workshop. You can either design your own project or do the project that will be assigned to the whole group (and its complexity will depend on the overall progress that we make at the workshop).
Due date: June 15th
· Class exercises: 50%
· Homework 1: 20%
· Final Project: 30%