LAND 276 - Introduction to GIS

Course Details
Course Code:
LAND 276


Calendar Description:
This introductory course will provide a foundation in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The understanding of the basic concepts of GIS is important in utilizing its tools effectively. Geographic data in spatial and non-spatial formats is unique in data analysis. Understanding the data structure or data model of a GIS dictates the analysis technique that can be used to solve a problem. Relational Database Management System is an integral component of a GIS. Basic cartographic techniques are useful in presenting data effectively. Basic understanding of statistics is useful in geographic analysis.

Date First Offered:

Total Hours: 45
Lecture Hours: 1.5
Laboratory Hours: 1.5

Total Weeks:

This course is offered online:

CPSC 101 Introduction to Computing (or equivalent); GEOG 250 Cartography: Map & Air Photo Interpretation

Non-Course Pre-Requisites:


Rearticulation Submission:

Course Content:
Describe the nature of data
-describe what is considered data
-describe how data are stored in a computer

Describe the nature of geographic data
-describe characteristics of geographic data
-compare the different levels of measurement
-determine and calculate basic statistics (Mean, Median, Mode, Variance, Standard Deviation, Frequency Diagrams)

Describe GIS data
-describe and discuss what is GIS?
-describe the nature of spatial data
-describe the nature of non-spatial data
-describe the relationship between spatial and non-spatial data

Explain and Compare the different non-spatial data models
-explain and compare the non-spatial data models
-explain the relational model
-explain the hierarchical model
-explain the network model
-explain and use Microsoft ACCESS
-describe tables
-describe data types

Explain Microsoft ACCESS
-explain Microsoft ACCESS and its purpose
-explain and use query
-explain relations

Apply and maintain Microsoft ACCESS
-apply Query to show contents of a database
-apply Select to show contents of a database
-apply Update to modify records of a database
-apply Delete to delete records of a database
-apply Create Table
-apply SQL to display records of a database

Apply export techniques in Microsoft ACCESS
-explain the difference and purpose of export techniques
-export to DBF
-export to Excel
-apply ODBC to access the Microsoft ACCESS database

Explain and Compare the different spatial data models
-explain and compare the Spatial Data Models used to represent real world features
-explain the Vector model
-explain the Raster model
-explain the Object model
-compare distortions of different Map Projections

Describe common GIS functionalities
-describe Transforming data
-explain Buffering and its purpose
-describe the Overlaying of different themes and the resultant

Describe a GIS such as ArcGIS (ArcView)
-describe the different components of ArcView
-describe the ArcMap interface
-describe the ArcCatalog interface
-describe the ArcTool interface

Apply ArcView
-use and explore ArcMap
-use and explore ArcCatalog
-use and display data
-retrieve information about features
-display and present data
-plot maps using layout
-describe Map Components (Title, North Arrow, Scale, Legend)

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion, students will be able to:
- Explain a GIS
- Apply GIS concepts
- Explain the nature of geographic data (spatial and non-spatial)
- Explain non-spatial data models and data types
- Use a Relational Database Management System (input, storage, query, output and export)
- Compare the different spatial models
- Describe uses of a GIS
- Use a GIS software (input, storage, query and output)

Grading System:

Passing Grade:

Grading Weight:
Final Exam: 30 %
Midterm Exam: 25 %
Assignments: 40 %
Participation: 5 %

Number of Assignments:

Nature of Participation:
attendance, lab and discussion and cooperation

Percentage of Individual Work:

Course Offered in Other Programs:

Laboratory Materials:

Text Books:

Optional - Shelley, G.B. et al, 2000, Access 2000 Complete Concepts and Techniques Course Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Optional - Robinson, A.H., et al, 1995, Elements of Cartography, 6th Edition (Jon Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, N.Y.)
Optional - Aronoff, S., 1991, Geographic Information Systems: A Management Perspective (WDL Publishings Ottawa, ON)
Optional - Ormsby, T., et al, 2004, Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop: Basics of ArcView, ArcEditor and ArcInfo (Redlands, California)
Optional - Burrough, P.A., 1087, Principles of Geographical Information Systems for Land Resource Assessment (Oxford University Press, New York, NY)