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Tufts OpenCourseware
Map of tree canopy cover in the Boston area. (Image courtesy of B. Parmenter, 2007.)
Highlights of this Course

GIS, a computer-based tool for storing, mapping, and analyzing spatial information together with non-spatial data, is very helpful when studying urban and environmental topics. This course focuses on introducing students to the use of geographic information systems in the urban/suburban/metropolitan environment. Students will learn to use GIS and how to frame spatial questions for research and teaching as well as gain technical expertise.

Course Description

This course will focus on introducing students to the use of geographic information systems (GIS) in the urban/suburban/metropolitan environment.  Students will learn to work with urban spatial databases (including data sets pertaining to land use/land cover, parcel records, census demographics, environmental issues, water, transportation, local government, community development, and businesses). Technical topics to be covered include finding and understanding sources of information for metropolitan spatial databases, integration of data from a variety of sources, database structure and design issues, spatial analysis capabilities, data quality, and data documentation.  Technologies covered include GIS, online data retrieval, and the use of GIS data in other applications such as Google Earth. While learning GIS skills, students will complete a mapping/analysis project of their choosing and present the results in a poster and short paper. The course will use ArcGIS 9.2 software.

Please note that the course as presented here does not contain the full content of the course as taught at Tufts. The included content is based on material the Tufts faculty and instructors choose to include, as well as factors such as content preparation, software compatibility, and intellectual property and copyright restrictions.
Course Faculty
Barbara Parmenter
Course Length
36 Hours