Environmental Applications: Geographic Information Systems

Gary Coutu

West Chester University, Department of Geography and Planning
University with graduate programs, primarily masters programs


This course reviews the principles of cartography and geographic information systems (GIS)in the context of modeling. It is also a study of how GIS software is used to enhance the environmental analysis and decision-making processes. Sotware-based models will then be spatially examined and manipulated to review the process of mapmaking and decision-making.

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


Course Context:

This is an upper-division GIS elective. There are two recommended courses for this class; and introduction for GIS (basic skills in the vector GIS model) and an applications course (raster GIS model.) This course is intended for Geography, Geology and Earth Science majors.

Course Goals:

  1. Obtain a basic understanding of geographic information system (GIS) modeling concepts, components, requirements and applications
  2. Develop skills required to create and use models
  3. Achieve competency in the use of the GIS software package, ArcGIS
  4. Competently use ArcGIS to query and analyze GIS and databases for modeling
  5. Develop skills to use models for presentation, analysis and decision-making.

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

Students begin with basic review of GIS analysis skills. This review is used to build models for scenerio-based analysis and environmental modeling. Assessment is basd upon a student's ability to examine a common data set from the point of view of various modeling techniques.

Skills Goals

  1. Group projects
  2. Presentation skills

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

A class project is used to combine the techniques presented in this course. This is completed as a land development analysis for a local municipality.


Successful use of basic data sets within each type of model covered. Student groups are assessed in terms of how the group models and presents scenarios for development.


Environmental Modeling Syllabus (Microsoft Word 71kB Jul6 10)

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