Geographical Information Systems

Undergraduate course, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, 2018

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enable the representation and analysis of spatial processes. This course will provide an understanding of the theory and concepts underlying GIS, providing an introduction to the field of GIScience. The course will give students hands-on experience working with spatial data and GIS software on a weekly basis. Topics covered in the course will include spatial data models, spatial data acquisition, database management systems, and basic processing and analysis operations used in GIS. These concepts will be illustrated via case studies which highlight the application of GIS in various contexts (e.g., resource management, crime, business, public facilities, health and disease) and a term project which brings together all skills and concepts learned in the course.

In the lab assignments, students will learn how to process spatial data for analysis, perform geoprocessing operations on vector and raster data, and formulate and carry out a GIS project.

Course Goal and Learning Outcomes The goal of this course is to understand basic concepts of GIS and spatial data. By the end of the course, students will be able to apply concepts and techniques of GIS to the creation, editing, management, and processing of spatial data. The specific learning objectives for this course are:

  1. Understand how GIS and spatial data represent reality
  2. Perform basic spatial data editing and management operations
  3. Apply GIS methods and concepts to real-world problems
  4. Carry out a basic GIS project from start to finish