Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems: Theory and Applications

This course is a survey and technical introduction to the analytical uses of spatial data and geographic information systems from an urban and regional planning perspective. Students choose any site in the United States to study. The first half of the course focuses on the compilation, documentation and evaluation of data and maps. The second half of the course examines the formal theory and logical capacities of the major forms of geographic information systems that generate new information to test hypotheses. We consider a series of examples. Relational Database Management Systems are used to explore complex regional commuting patterns. Vector-Relational GIS is used to explore relationships between demographic patterns and urban amenities. Raster GIS is used for broad-scale site selection and view corridor studies. Image Processing GIS is used to digest a time-series of satellite imagery into a four-decade study of metropolitan expansion.