Cutting Edge > Courses > GIS and Remote Sensing > Activities > Introduction to GIS
Author Profile

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.

This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: Aug 17, 2010

Introduction to GIS

Tim Walsh, Wayland Baptist University

Summary

After meeting in a large conference room for introductory comments student then move to another classroom. Students are directed to map, catalog and give spatial references to items in the conference room that they just left. The activity provides insights into cataloging, grid systems and spatial referencing.

Context

Type and level of course
This is an undergraduate, upper-level elective, introductory GIS course. Although an elective, it is highly recommended for all geology majors.

Geoscience background assumed in this assignment
None

GIS/remote sensing skills/background assumed in this assignment
None

Software required for this assignment/activity:
None

Time required for students to complete the assignment:
30 minutes

Goals

GIS/remote sensing techniques students learn in this assignment
This "first day of class" activity provides initial insights into cataloging, grid systems and spatial referencing. The concepts that objects must be cataloged in order to be referenced and can be grouped differently according to attributes are introduced. The necessity of a "reference point" and development of a grid system(s) become very apparent during completion of this activity.

Other content/concepts goals for this activity
None

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
This activity introduces students to the concepts mentioned above. Students initially think it is an easy assignment until they try to spatially reference the items. The also become aware of the potential to group similar types of objects. They must synthesize their own cataloging and reference system. During evaluation their different solutions are compared.

Description of the activity/assignment

This is designed as a "first day of class' activity for an undergraduate GIS course with students having no previous GIS experience.
After meeting in a large conference room for introductory comments, including statements about objects in the room, students then move to another classroom. Students are directed to map, catalog and give spatial references to items in the conference room (chairs, tables, ceiling projector, etc.) that they just left. Students initially think it is an easy assignment until they try to spatially reference the items. Little further direction is given; students are on their own to develop a grid system with reference point and the method to register objects. The final products are a paper map page and paper catalog page(s).
After completion, the various schemes are examined and compared by the class. The instructor also later evaluates the final products.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Although the students turn in their work, the comments they make during discussion of the activity is the primary form of evaluation. Students are also made aware of the each other's work as their different types of solutions are compared.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.

URLs and References

Download teaching materials and tips

Other Materials



Comment? Start the discussion about Introduction to GIS

« Geomorphology: Were Earth-like river processes ever present on Mars?       Cascadia Great Earthquake and Tsunami Suite »