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GIS for Geoscientists

Author Profile
Barbara and David Tewksbury

Hamilton College
Private four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


Introduction to basic concepts in computer-based GIS emphasizing hands-on practice in portraying and analyzing spatially referenced data sets to produce a variety of types of digital products and to solve geologic problems. Practice using data from multiple sources, including data downloaded from online sources, field-collected data, and published map data. Emphasis on mastery of basic skills and techniques using ESRI ArcGIS software.

Course URL:
Resource Type: Course Information
Special Interest: GIS
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Course Size:

less than 15

Course Context:

This is an upper division course for geoscience majors. Students enrolling in this course must have had a previous course in geoscience that addresses GIS.

Course Goals:

Students will be able to:
Students will also develop a personal GIS portfolio and resource collection that will be useful to them in the future as they encounter problems that can be tackled using GIS either in future courses or in a job.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Assignments are progressive and build on skills and increase in independence in problem solving. The course is project-based with minimal lecture, and projects focus on problem-solving and analysis, rather than simply on GIS techniques. Assignments incorporate goals-related skills (e.g., data download and prep, work flow charts, independence in problem solving and analysis) and students are assessed on whether they are successful in tasks that demonstrate these abilities. **Note: over the course of spring semester 2011, I will be adding downloads the ArcGIS 10 versions of each of these exercises. Versions for ArcGIS 9.3 will remain available for download as well.

Links are provided below to all course activities:


Students are assessed on the quality of their GIS work in each project, on the results of their analyses, on their ability to propose and carry out an independent investigation, and on the quality and future usefulness of their GIS portfolios.


Tewksbury GIS syllabus spring 2010 (Microsoft Word 1.1MB Jul21 10)

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