Initial Publication Date: May 29, 2015

Course profile: Geographic Information Systems

Olivet Nazarene University

Upper level course, 15 or fewer students

Information for this profile was provided by Priscilla Skalac in 2007.

Jump down to Overview and Context * Course Content * Connecting to the Future of Science * Goals and Assessment * References and Resources * Additional Materials

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.

Course Content

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


A 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

Additional Materials

Download the course syllabus. (Microsoft Word 90kB Mar26 07)