Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (ENGR 59910)

Course Description:
In this class you will learn about the basic principles of maps, their specialized contents, and how to create these maps. The class will also address approaches to map projections, reference systems, and where to find locations. The class will introduce you to basic objects such as points, lines, and polygons in addition to features and ways to organize these in classes. It will also cover principles of geographic information systems, learn about spatial analysis, and how to represent data via data models such as raster and vector formats in addition to store and organize data in a geo-database. You will get hands on experience in using GIS software and acquire basic skills to insert, create, and extract data from different sources in addition to manipulating these in the GIS environment. 4 hr/wk; one 2.0-hour lecture; one 2.0-hour Lab, 3 cr. 

                   Final Exam 30%
                   Mid term 10%
                   Attendance and participation 5%
                   Labs 25%
                   Final Project 30%
                   TOTAL 100%

Course Goals:
By the end of this Class you should be able to:
* Understand geographic concepts and how they are represented on maps;
* Understand the needs for scales, projections, reference systems at local and global scales;
* Understand Spatial Analysis and Spatial Interpolation;
* Understand Terrain features and how to analyze Terrain
* Understand Map features and and Characteristics;
* Understand the concepts of Feature Classes and Objects;
* Understand the duality of Vector and Raster formats and to convert from one to the other;
* Understand the basic principles of GPS;
* Understand the importance of metadata, geocoding, and geo databases;
* Understand the limitations of GIS approaches and thus applicability in the real world;
* Formulate, plan, execute, and present a real world problem via a class project;

A key component of this class will be the execution of a small research project. The purpose of this project is for you to take the knowledge gained and apply it to an original problem that is of personal interest to you. The required report and the final presentation are intended to give you another opportunity to hone your skills in properly documenting a research project and also to present your findings to an audience in a concise and precise manner. You can partner up with a class mate of yours or do a solo project. In case of the former I would expect the scope of the project to be a little bit large reflecting double man power.

Required Books:
“GIS Fundamentals: A first text on Geographic Information Systems”, by Paul Bolstad. 4th Edition (3rd edition is fine as well).
* For Lab: Getting to Know ArcGIS 4th Edition, by Michael Law, and Amy Collins

Recommended book and material:
“IGIS Tutorial for ArcGIS 10.1 Basic Workbook 1” by Wilpen Gorr and Kristen Kurland, ESRI Press

A USB flash drive to save your lab work if you are working on lab computers will be very useful.

Policy on Academic Integrity:

Under the CUNY Student Academic Integrity Policy - “Academic Dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion, as provided herein.” Violations of this policy fall into these areas that include but are not limited to:
  • Cheating
  •    Obtaining Unfair Advantage
  • Falsifying of Records and Official Documents
  • Plagiarizing

Here are more details on plagiarism from the CUNY academic integrity policy:
Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own.

The following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

  • Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source.
  • Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source.
  • Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the source.
  • Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.

Internet plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the internet without citing the source, and “cutting & pasting” from various sources without proper attribution.

We welcome any questions you may have concerning academic integrity and will do our best to help you understand the standards of academic scholarship. We use CUNY guidelines to sanction any incidents of academic dishonesty in our courses. Any student who violates this policy will FAIL the course.

Tarendra Lakhankar, PhD, PE .
NOAA-CREST Center, The City College of the New York
ST-185, Steinman Hall, 160 Convent Ave, New York, NY 10031
Email: tlakhankar (at) Office: 212-650-5815  Fax: 212 650 8097