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Office BGS 350
(949) 582-4398

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Geographic Information Systems (GIS)




This is an introductory GIS course designed to familiarize students with the technology, capabilities, and functionality of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geospatial science inquiry.  Principles of computerized cartography and spatial analysis are presented and interactively practiced by students using desktop GIS software.  The tools and techniques of GIS are explored, and the adaptability of GIS to a wide variety of applications useful for many disciplines is presented.   Students learn proper methods for accessing, manipulating, and managing data, making logical queries of that data, combining data sets, measuring and validating results, and then presenting their findings in a professional, constructive manner.

The class format is a computer laboratory meeting twice.  Each class session will consist of conceptual and informative lecture, group discussion, and hands-on GIS lab work covering various GIS concepts and processes.  Class attendance and hands-on GIS participation are required and an integral part of the course. The course also includes hints and guidance regarding employment and career opportunities in GIS, GIS in higher education and research, and alternative sources for GIS software, data, and applications upon course completion.

The GIS software used for this course is loaded on all computers in the classroom and is also available elsewhere on campus and off campus. All exercises are presented in a step-by-step programmed learning environment that makes acquiring the basic skills of the GIS software fun and inuitive. Students will be creating and modifying maps and data from the beginning and throughout the course.

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Identify, explain and apply GIS and geospatial concepts
  • Manipulate and access geographic data with a GIS
  • Design and produce maps using established cartographic principles
  • Create and complete an analytical GIS project

The GIS software used in this course is ArcGIS Desktop by ESRI, Environmental Systems Research Institute. ArcGIS is one of the most widely used and implemented GIS packages in both the public and private sector and has powerful visualization, display, and analysis capabilities. The many map and data analysis tools students will be working with are among the most powerful geospatial technologies in use today.

Although there are no formal prerequisites for this course, students should have a strong comfort level with a Microsoft Windows™ graphical user interface (GUI) and basic computer file structure and manipulation.


Topics Covered

Learning Outcomes

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