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Geographic Information Systems


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide researchers, policy makers and citizens with a powerful analytical framework for decision making. GIS has advanced the way in which many disciplines examine problems by incorporating components of space and time that were not previously considered.  Click the semester title to view videos of final projects for some of the GIS classes.

Introduction to GIS - Fall Semester

An introduction to the principles and theory behind geographic data and experience in the use of state-of-the-art GIS software and related equipment will be provided. This course will be taught using a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on interactive tutorials in the laboratory/classroom. Authentic cross-disciplinary case studies and examples will be used throughout the course with the goal of helping students understand the principles of Geographic Information Systems and its potential applications in their fields of study. This course includes lecture and laboratory components.

Remote Sensing - Fall Semester & Spring Semester 

Remote sensing is the collecting of information about objects without physically touching them. These remote sensing devices can be found on everything from satellites, airplanes, boats, cars, and even people. While the technology of remote sensing has applications across many disciplines, this course will focus on the use of remote sensing for archeology and environmental studies. Recent discoveries of lost Mayan ruins in Guatemala and Mexico would not have been possible without the use of multispectral satellite imagery. Understanding the land use and land cover of the entire planet would not be possible without the use of multispectral satellite imagery from the Landsat satellites. These are just two case studies that we will explore in this course. The fundamental principles of remote sensing will also be taught in this course but students will have the opportunity for some hands-on learning by using the ENVI software to do their own analysis of recently acquired data that they will analyze by doing a comprehensive class project. There are no pre-requisites for this course.

Intermediate GIS - Spring Semester

This second course in geographic information systems builds upon the theories discussed in introduction to Geographic Information Systems, and focuses on the more technical aspects of GIS. Laboratory activities teach the student to use more advanced functions of GIS software, and the fundamentals of advanced GIS analysis and display programs. The student will also learn to operate a precision GPS field data collector. Prerequisite: Anthropolgy 109.

Human Geography - Spring Semester 

The Human Geography course emphasizes the importance of geography as an analytical tool to further our understanding of the cultural variations amongst humans. The course introduces students to the importance of spatial organization within the human landscape-the location of places, people, and events, and the connections among places and landscapes-in the understanding of human life on Earth. Geographic concepts emphasized throughout the course are location, space, place, scale, pattern, regionalization, and globalization. These concepts are basic to students’ understanding of spatial interaction and spatial behavior, the dynamics of human population growth and movement, patterns of culture, economic activities, political organization of space, and human settlement patterns, particularly urbanization. Cultural concepts emphasized throughout the course are ethnicity, language, and religion. These concepts are essential to the understanding of human behavior throughout the world and knowing where these concepts are in conflict is also basic to comprehending some of the primary reasons for struggle and stress within various regions around the world.