Course profile: Geographic Information Systems
Olivet Nazarene University
Upper level course, 15 or fewer students
Overview and Context
Students collect GPS data, learn to create map layers using GIS software, and complete a project that utilizes GIS as a problem-solving tool. This is an intermediate level course that is required of all Geology, Environmental, Physical Science, and Secondary Science Education majors. Majors are encouraged to take the course early in the sequence, following the introductory level course(s) so they can utilize the GIS skills gained. It is also offered to other majors who have completed one laboratory science course.
The GIS course focuses on student acquisition of the basic skills needed to apply the program as an analytical tool for geological and environmental applications. Each student must develop a project for presentation as the culminating activity of the course. Throughout the semester, they work individually on the necessary steps to produce a practical solution to a problem, including: write a proposal, identify needs, collect and evaluate data, perform an analysis, and present results.
Connecting to the Future of Science
GIS technology is applicable for remote research and analysis of remote areas, planet surfaces, deep ocean, etc. The power of GIS as an analytical tool is likely to be further enhanced as technological advancements are made available.
Goals and Assessment
GoalsA student who successfully completes the GIS-GPS course should be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge of the wide range of utilities for desktop GIS.
- apply skills necessary to utilize desktop GIS to study and analyze situations.
- possess a portfolio of high-quality maps and charts using GIS.
- plan and execute a GIS project.
There are two types of examinations given to students for formative assessment of knowledge and skills attained: written and applied. Additionally, the individual project indicates whether students achieved the objectives.
References and Resources
- Price, M. (2004). Mastering ArcGIS. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Chang, K. (2006). Intro to GIS, 3rd edn. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- ArcGIS 9.2 from ESRI
- Geography Network
- The U.S. Census Bureau's Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing system
- GIS Data Resources: Geospatial Data Repositories
- The Geocommunity
- The Geocommunity's GIS Data Depot
- Illinois GIS Association Resources and Information
- Geocaching.com's Find a Benchmark