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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Timothy L. Nyerges
GEOG 463
Seattle Campus

Geographic Information Systems Workshop

Practical experience applying geographic information system (GIS) tools to analyze spatial data. Workshop format requires student-motivated projects; diverse backgrounds encouraged. Prerequisite: either 2.0 in GEOG 460 or 2.0 in GEOG 461. Offered: Sp.

Class description

Geography 463 is designed to be an in-depth experience in the use of a GIS in a group-based, workshop setting, focusing on a topic of interest to be chosen by student groups. Students are encouraged to draw together material from two or more other past learning experiences from within the Geography Department. The course fosters an in-depth intellectual/social experience.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lecture topics introduce and address project management principles to be applied throughout the quarter. Lab sessions are structured so that work groups of 3-5 students implement a single project throughout the quarter. Students will make use of GIS concepts and software training as provided in previous GIS courses.

Recommended preparation

Geography 463 is not intended to be an introduction to GIS or to a particular software package. Students must have taken Geography 460 or Geography 461 or Urban Design and Planning 422 and have permission from the instructor to verify equivalent background. Course enrollment will be by entry code only, provided by Dr. Nyerges.

Class assignments and grading

Six major phases, each making use of a critical thinking strategy for geographic investigation, will be used throughout projects in the course. These phases are: 1) User Need Phase - group members explore and clarify a topic of their interest, or identify one from a not-for-profit organization in need of investigation. 2) System Requirements Phase - Requirements take the form of lists of data, software, hardware and personnel that will be used to address the user needs. 3) Data Acquisition Phase - This phase concerns the acquisition of digital data from the Dept of Geography data storage or another organization, or the manual conversion of data. You should be aware of the costs of converting analog data. 4) Data Analysis and Findings Phase - the fourth phase involves GIS-based analysis. Findings are the information you discovered as a result of performing the data analysis. Naturally, findings are contingent on the process used to investigate, but the focus here is on what was found. 5) Cost-Benefit Phase - Perform a micro cost-benefit analysis, assessing implementation of analysis based on the functional requirements in light of the established user needs. 6) Conclusions and Presentation Phase- the final phase involves a write-up of concluding thoughts about the project and a presentation of the results and conclusions to the class.

The six phases sufficiently guide groups through the quarter, providing each group with a realistic experience implementing a GIS project. Although deviations from these phases will be permitted from time to time, this will normally only occur when a group shows significant creativity in their own direction.

Grading - 400 points possible. - Midterm exam worth 15% of final grade - 60 points. - Final exam worth 25% of grade - 100 points. - Six project stages and a final report worth 50% of grade - totaling 200 points. Stage 1: Problem Statement Report 35 Stage 2: System Requirements Report 25 Stage 3: Data Acquisition Report 25 Stage 4: Data Analysis Report 25 Stage 5: Benefit-Cost Report 25 Stage 6: Presentation 25 Stage 7: Final Report 40 --- 200

- Project Notebook worth 10% of final grade - 40 points. Each student is required to maintain a project notebook. It should be handed in at the 3rd (10 points), 6th (15 points) and 9th (15 points) weeks of the quarter. Details for the contents of the notebook are provided on a separate handout.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Prof. Nyerges' home page
Last Update by Therese A Young
Date: 04/01/1998