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Viewing: GIS 280 : Introduction to GIS

Last approved: Tue, 29 Aug 2017 08:01:35 GMT

Last edit: Mon, 28 Aug 2017 21:04:11 GMT

Catalog Pages referencing this course
Change Type
GIS (Geographic Information Systems)
Dual-Level Course
Cross-listed Course
Introduction to GIS
Intro GIS
College of Natural Resources
Parks, Recr & Tourism Mgmt (15PRT)
Term Offering
Fall and Spring
Offered Every Year
Spring 2018
Previously taught as Special Topics?
Course Delivery
Distance Education (DELTA)
Online (Internet)

Grading Method
Graded with S/U option
Contact Hours
(Per Week)
Component TypeContact Hours
Course Attribute(s)

If your course includes any of the following competencies, check all that apply.
University Competencies

Course Is Repeatable for Credit
Stacy Supak
Teaching Assistant Professor

Open when course_delivery = campus OR course_delivery = blended OR course_delivery = flip
Open when course_delivery = distance OR course_delivery = online OR course_delivery = remote
Delivery FormatPer SemesterPer SectionMultiple Sections?Comments
LEC7070NoThe enrollment corresponds to the 'DE' section. An additional 001 section listed below will be delivered via the 'INTERNET'in the same way as the DE section
LEC6060NoThis enrollment corresponds to the 'INTERNET' section due to a cap on DE enrollment as requested by DELTA (see above)

Is the course required or an elective for a Curriculum?
SIS Program CodeProgram TitleRequired or Elective?
15FWSCICBFisheries & Wildlife - Conservation Bio Required
15FWSCIFFisheries & Wildlife - Fisheries ScienceRequired
15FWSCIWFisheries & Wildlife - Wildlife ScienceRequired
15ENVTBSEnvironmental Technology & Mgmt BSElective
15ENVSCBSEnvironmental Sciences - BSElective
15FORMTBSForest Management BSElective
15NTRUDNatural Resources - UndeclaredElective
15NATREBSNatural Resources BSElective
15NATREECONatural Resources - Ecosystem AssessmentElective
15NATREPOLNatural Resources - Policy and AdministrationElective
15PRTNRRParks, Recreation, Tourism Management - Parks & Natural Resource RecRequired
11AGEVTESMAg and Environmental Tech - Environmental System ManagementRequired
11AGEVTASMAg and Environmental Tech - Agriculture Systems MgmtElective
11SLDLDEVSoil and Land Development - Land DevelopmentElective
11SLDSSCISoil and Land Development - Soil ScienceElective
17BIOSCEECBiological Sciences - Ecology Evolution Conservation BioElective
14ENEBSEnvironmental EngineeringElective
This course provides an overview of the operations and functions of geographic information systems [GIS]. Students develop a fundamental understanding of geographic information management and analysis methods. Emphasis is placed on the nature of geographic information, working with spatial data, and elementary geospatial analysis and modeling techniques. Students learn effective operation of GIS software and gain exposure to GIS tools that support these emphasis areas. Extensive independent learning and computer experiences include online laboratory sessions, alongside optional online or in-person weekly help sessions.

This course action is part of a restructuring of our former dual listed GIS 410/510 course. Please see the accompanying GIS 510 course action for additional details on that change. We are removing the dual listing of GIS 410/510 and transitioning the GIS 410 content to a lower level to make GIS more accessible to undergraduate students earlier on in their studies. 

Overwhelmingly during our consultations with programs that currently recommend GIS 410, making the course a lower number will open up more possibilities for their students and for programs across the university. In combination with our other new undergraduate GIS course, GIS 205, we are also slowly building up capacity to eventually offer a minor in GIS to students across campus and this course action is a move in support of that endeavor. We have observed a lot of demand and requests for such a minor by students and programs, so this is a step in that direction. 

This course is meant to replace GIS 410 and the content from 410 has been transferred to this new course number in addition to some expanded content reflective of the lower course number. 410 was created and connected to GIS 510 initially almost 10 years ago simply out of the need to quickly have something available for undergraduates. As the field has matured and more and more students show interest in GIS, we realized that much of the content in 410 could and should be delivered at a lower level. In all of our consultations this is seen as a very beneficial move.


Is this a GEP Course?
GEP Categories

Humanities Open when gep_category = HUM
Each course in the Humanities category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Mathematical Sciences Open when gep_category = MATH
Each course in the Mathematial Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Natural Sciences Open when gep_category = NATSCI
Each course in the Natural Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:




Social Sciences Open when gep_category = SOCSCI
Each course in the Social Sciences category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Interdisciplinary Perspectives Open when gep_category = INTERDISC
Each course in the Interdisciplinary Perspectives category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Visual & Performing Arts Open when gep_category = VPA
Each course in the Visual and Performing Arts category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:






Health and Exercise Studies Open when gep_category = HES
Each course in the Health and Exercise Studies category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to:








Global Knowledge Open when gep_category = GLOBAL
Each course in the Global Knowledge category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve objective #1 plus at least one of objectives 2, 3, and 4:


Please complete at least 1 of the following student objectives.






US Diversity Open when gep_category = USDIV
Each course in the US Diversity category of the General Education Program will provide instruction and guidance that help students to achieve at least 2 of the following objectives:
Please complete at least 2 of the following student objectives.








Requisites and Scheduling
a. If seats are restricted, describe the restrictions being applied.

b. Is this restriction listed in the course catalog description for the course?

List all course pre-requisites, co-requisites, and restrictive statements (ex: Jr standing; Chemistry majors only). If none, state none.

List any discipline specific background or skills that a student is expected to have prior to taking this course. If none, state none. (ex: ability to analyze historical text; prepare a lesson plan)

Additional Information
Complete the following 3 questions or attach a syllabus that includes this information. If a 400-level or dual level course, a syllabus is required.
Title and author of any required text or publications.

Major topics to be covered and required readings including laboratory and studio topics.

List any required field trips, out of class activities, and/or guest speakers.

College(s)Contact NameStatement Summary
College of Natural ResourcesCollege Committee;
Met with the College of Natural Resources Undergraduate Curriculum Committee to discuss the proposed changes across programs. The committee was very supportive of the proposed change and commented that the change would overall be beneficial to their undergraduate students by giving them the opportunity to pursue GIS related coursework earlier during their undergrad career and better preparing them for the other GIS components of their respective curriculums.

FER did raise a slight concern about needing to update their curriculum again after a recent revision but remained supportive of the proposed change.
College of Agriculture and Life SciencesCollege Committee;Met with the College of Ag and Life Sciences undergraduate committee to discuss the proposed change. General consensus that the change would be good for students and may actually open up opportunities in other programs that do not currently recommend the current course. This also raised the prospect of being prepared for perhaps a large influx of students in an already highly enrolled course.
College of SciencesCollege Committee;
Met with the College of Sciences Undergraduate Curriculum Committee to discuss the proposed number change. Program directors indicated no significant impacts to their programs and were supportive of adjusting the course number to better represent the content of the course and attract undergraduates at the Sophomore/Jr levels.
College of EngineeringRudi Seracino; Tarek AzizContacted both Dr. Aziz and Seracino, no concerns were raised with the proposed change
No additional resources needed, this is part of the normal teaching load for the instructor

The objectives of this course are as follows:

  • Provide an overview of GIS functions and operations applicable in a wide variety of fields

  • Teach students how to effectively operate a GIS to solve spatial problems

  • Introduce students to the basic foundations of geographic information, analysis, data and tools

  • Provide hands-on exercises to meet the above objectives and make students comfortable using GIS for issues that are of interest to them. 

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  • Define the fundamental concepts and principles of GIS

  • Identify and acquire GIS data to solve a spatial problem

  • Identify specific tools and technologies and their purpose for solving geospatial problems

  • Efficiently operate GIS software and applications

  • Construct and implement elementary spatial analyses (spatial queries, intersects, unions, etc.)

  • Apply GIS to produce effective maps and other displays of spatial data

Evaluation MethodWeighting/Points for EachDetails
Homework1200 points (67%)At least 12 homework/virtual lab exercises employing hands on experiences to learn the operations and functions of GIS software and tools
Midterm200 points (11%)In lieu of a traditional exam, a midterm assignment is given where students must operate a GIS to solve a given problem without the step-by-step guidance provided in the other homework/lab assignments based on the knowledge they have gained thus far in the course
Project400 points (22%)The purpose of the final project is for students to demonstrate what they have learned in the course by identifying and solving a spatial problem of their choosing. Students must identify two spatial questions, find appropriate data, and use ArcGIS to answer those questions.

Each question must incorporate unique GIS anlaysis techniques, such as geoprocessing, geocoding, spatial joins, etc. that go beyond simple procedures.
TopicTime Devoted to Each TopicActivity
See syllabusSee syllabusSee syllabus
Note that this course is being proposed as a modification/replacement for GIS 410, please see the GIS 510 course action accompanying this course action. The programs listed above as having this course be required/elective is based on the current reach of GIS 410 and consultations were based on this info.
aeherget (Wed, 09 Aug 2017 12:25:53 GMT): AECHH: Uploading updated syllabus at instructor's request via email 8/8/2017.
Key: 15080