Introduction to GIS through river meandering and landslide mapping
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Jun 9, 2014
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
One of the reasons I run this lab early on (week 5) is to give students an idea of what they can do in GIS as well as a basic skill-set that involves the ability to import GPS data, create shapefiles on screen, make simple measurements, and export maps. All students complete a multi-week research project later in the semester, and I want them to be able to use basic GIS analyses as a part of their final projects if they choose to do so.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- Gain familiarity with ArcGIS, including how to open files and change the display.
- Learn how to create shapefiles by importing data files and by digitizing on screen.
- Learn how to export maps from ArcGIS.
- Learn how to create hillshades and 3D images in ArcGIS.
- Learn how to make measurements in ArcGIS.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Think critically about data quality and uncertainty.
Think broadly about how to extend and refine different approaches to problem solving.
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
The lab is very methodical in order to give students a reference they can go back to should they want to perform the same kind of GIS tasks later in their final projects. Because of this, I always remind students to A) save their lab handouts and B) follow directions.
Students need to have a location where they can save large datafiles. I have them bring a flash drive because they are not able to save files locally in our computer labs.
All maps created in the assignment are turned into pdf files and posted directly to a class moodle site.
Student lab handout (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 3.2MB Jun9 14)
GIS layers for lab (Zip Archive 64.1MB Jun9 14)
Teaching Notes and Tips
There is also the possibility that strange GIS bugs will appear, as they often do.
There is one place in the lab that asks students to work on a specific bend and later on a specific bar. I tell students which bend and bar those are, but sometimes that information needs to be repeated.