Fall, 1998 Dr Ronald Briggs

GR 3.126 972-883-6877 (o), 690-3442 (h)



Office hours (in GR 3.126 or 3.206):

Mon 4:00-6:00; Tues/Thurs ; 6:30-7:00

& by appointment or drop-in

POEC 6381

Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

GR3.808/3.206 Tues—7:00-9:45 p.m.  

This course introduces Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and their applications. These systems are becoming the core of local (city, county) government operations, are being rapidly adopted by state and federal governments to manage operations from highway planning to environmental resource conservation, and are playing a major role in businesses as diverse as market research, site selection, real estate, civil engineering, and geophysical exploration. Additionally, academic research in disciplines ranging from the Social Sciences to Geoscience is using GIS to expand research possibilities and productivity. In the vernacular, they are one of the killer apps. of the nineties, with substantial potential for further development and application.


GIS is a combination of software and hardware with capabilities for manipulating, analyzing and displaying spatially-referenced information--that is, information which is referenced by its location on the earth's surface. By linking data to maps, a GIS can reveal relationships not apparent with traditional item-referenced information systems and data base management products, and by displaying information in a graphic form can communicate complex spatial patterns succinctly. This course will introduce the concepts needed to use GIS effectively and correctly, and develop basic proficiency in GIS software usage. Examples will primarily focus on urban and regional analysis, though business, environmental and geological applications will also be included.


The course will comprise both lecture and lab. The lab component will focus on the use of ArcView (Version 3.0) software in a Windows NT environment in the Green Computer Lab (GR3.206). (The software will not be available in the university’s McDermott Microcomputer lab.) Should you desire your own copy, it is available at a student price of $250 (Version 3.0) from ESRI, Inc. (call 1-800-447-9778 to order). Alternatively, you may borrow a copy of the software for use on your machine at home for this course only, providing you agree to the terms of the loan.


This course is one of a series for the Certificate in GIS at the University of Texas at Dallas; five courses are needed to receive the certificate. If you wish to pursue the Certificate in one year, also sign up for POEC6382 GIS Implementation and Management.


There are no formal prerequisites, however students will be expected to have competence in microcomputer use and familiarity with Microsoft Windows 95 and file management (directories, subdirectories, copying, etc). Evaluation will be based upon a midterm exam (25%), final exam (35%), and five lab projects (40%). Although some class time will be allocated to lab instruction, additional computing work outside of scheduled classes, will be necessary for successful course completion.


Readings and Schedule—Fall 98


Course Texts

DeMers, Michael Fundamentals of GIS (New York: John Wiley, 1997

ESRI, Using ArcView GIS—Version 3.0 Edition (Redlands, CA: ESRI, Inc., 1996) (optional)


Other GIS Texts

Keith C. Clarke Getting Started with Geographic Information Systems (Upper

Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1997)

Star, J. and John Estes Geographical Information Systems: An Introduction (Prentice Hall 1990)

Martin, David Geographic Information Systems: Socioeconomic Applications (London: Routledge, 2nd. ed., 1996

Chrisman, Nicholas Exploring Geographic Information Systems (New York: John Wilet, 1997)


Other Books on ArcView

Getting to Know ArcView (Geoinformation International, 1997 2nd ed. for Ver. 3)

Hutchinson, Scott and Daniel, Larry Inside ARCVIEW GIS (Santa Fe, NM: Onward Press,1996)

Hohl, Pat and Mayo, Brad ArcView Exercise Book (Version 3) (Santa Fe, NM: Onward Press, 1997)

Razavi, Amir ArcView GIS/Avenue Developer’s Guide (Santa Fe, NM: Onward Press, 1997)

(To purchase books from Onward Press, call: 1-800-223-6397)


Supplementary Materials

Huxhold, William E. An Introduction to Urban Geographic Information Systems (New York, Oxford University Press, 1991)

Longley, Paul A., Michael Goodchild, David J. Maguire, David W. Rhind Geographical Information Systems: Principles, Techniques, Management and Applications (Cambridge, England: GeoInformation International, 1998) (2nd ed. of Maguire, Goodchild and Rhind).

Maguire, David J., Michael Goodchild and David W. Rhind Geographical Information Systems: Principles and Applications (Harlow, England: Longman, 1991)

Peuquet, Donna J. and Duane Marble Introductory Readings in Geographic Information Systems (London: Taylor and Francis, 1990)


Course Schedule


Sept. 1: What's GIS and Where's It Used?

DeMers Chap 1

Cowen, David GIS versus CAD versus DBMS: what are the differences? from Peuquet and Marble, pp. 52-61

Longley, Paul A., Michael Goodchild, David J. Maguire, David W. Rhind Introduction in, Longley, et.al. 1998 pp. 1-20

Forer, P., and D.J. Unwin Enabling Progress in GIS and Education. in. Longley, et.al. 1998 pp 747-7

Goodchild What is GIS? @ http://ncgia.ncgia.ucsb.edu:80/giscc/units/u002/

Application Examples (read/scan, as convenient, prior to midterm):

American Planning Association, Planning: Special Issue on Technology, July, 1995, 1-15

Huxhold, Chap. 3: Application of Urban Geographic Information Systems.

National League of Cities Planning Smarter: GIS as a Tool for Policy Makers, 1993

Ventura, Stephen J. The Use of GIS Systems in Local Government Public Administration Review Sept./Oct. 1995 461-467

Geological Society of America, Development of Geographic Information Systems-Oriented Databases for Integrated Geological and Geophysical Applications, GSA Today, March 1996

Business Geographics, December, 1995: Merging Technologies: EIS and Business Geographics (p. 34-36) & Boosting Sales Performance with Statistics: A Healthcare Case Study (p. 37-39)

Calkins, H. and Eagles, M. Geographic Information Analysis and Human Capital Research. A Report to NSF and HUD on a Conference in Boulder, CO, July, 1995

Waddell, Paul and Shukla, V. Employment Dynamics, Spatial Restructuring and the Business Cycle Geographical Analysis, 1993 (Vol. 25, p. 35-52) (research study based on D/FW)

Sept 8: GIS Concepts and Software

DeMers Chap 2 pp. 21-31

USGS: Geographical Information Systems (brochure).

Black, James D. Fusing RDBMS and GIS GIS World July, 1996, p. 44-47

Thrall, S. Elshaw and Grant I. Thrall Desktop GIS Software, in Longley, et.al. 1998. Pp 331-345

Sept. 15 & 22 Let's do it: Intro. to ARCVIEW GIS Software

Using ArcView GIS, Chap. 2; also parts of Chap. 5,6,7,10

Sept. 29 Terrestial Data Structures

& Oct 6 DeMers Chap. 2, pp. 32-34; Chap 3, 50-67

Using ArcView GIS Chap. 9

Map Projections (USGS brochure)

Dana, Peter H. Coordinate Systems Overview @

http://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu/education/curricula/giscc/units/u013/u013_f.html OR


Kirvan, Anthony Latitude and Longitude @


Dana, Peter H. The Shape of the Earth/ Geodetic Datums @

http://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu/education/curricula/giscc/units/u015/u015_f.html OR


Dana, Peter H Map Projections


Veregin, Howard Data Quality Measuremnt and Assessment @


Oct. 6 Project #1 due: Customer Characteristics and DayCare Location

Oct 13 GIS Data Structures

DeMers Chap 4, Chap. 7, Chap. 11, 287-311

Using ArcView GIS Chap 22

Goodchild, Rasters @


Goodchild, Quadtrees and Scan Orders @


Martin, D.J. Spatial Representation: the Social Scientist's Perspective in Longley, et.al. 1998 pp. 71-80

Hutchinson, M.F and J.C. Gallant Representation of Terrain in Longley, et.al. 1998 pp 105-124

Peuquet, Donna J. A Conceptual Framework and Comparison of Spatial Data Models, in Peuquet and Marble, pp. 250-285 (advanced)

Oct 20 Midterm Exam & Overview of GIS on the Internet

Oct 27 Project #2 due: Texas Population Demographics

Oct 27 Let's do it: Internet Data Acquisition and Conversion

DeMers Chap 2, pp. 35-49, Chap 5,

USGS, US Geodata (brochure)

Keating, John B. The Geopositioning Selection Guide for Resource Management, Technical Note # 389, U.S. Dept. of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, September, 1993

Fisher, P.F. Spatial Data Sources and Data Problems, in Maguire, Goodchild and Rhind, Chap 13 (Vol. 1, p.175)

Dana, Peter GPS @


Nov 3. Data Preparation and Integration

DeMers Chap. 6, Chap 10

Using ArcView GIS Chap.18 thru 21

Dowman, I.J. Encoding and Validating Data from Maps and Images in Longley, et.al. 1998 pp 437-

Flowerdew, R. Spatial Data Integration, in Maguire, Goodchild and Rhind, Chap 24 (Vol. 1, p. 375)

Nov. 10 Project #3 due: Pipelines through the City


Nov. 10 Analysis and Modelling in GIS

DeMers Chap 8,9, 12,13

Using ArcView GIS Chap. 12 thru 17

Drummond, William J. Address Matching: GIS Technology for Mapping Human Activity Patterns American Planning Association Journal, Spring, 1995 p. 240-251

Landis, John D. Imagining Land Use Futures: Applying the California Urban Futures Model, American Planning Association Journal, Autumn, 1995 (Vol. 61 pp. 438-457)

Hazelton, N.W.J, Leahy, F.J. Integrating Dynamic Modelling and Geographic Information Systems, URISA Journal, Fall, 1992 47-58


Nov. 17 GIS Outputs and Application Examples

DeMers Chap 3, 67-81, Chap 14

Getting to Know, Chap. 20 (& review Chap. 21) (Version 2.1)

Making Better Maps, selections from Business Geographics

Hodler, T.W. Do Geographers Really Need to Know Cartography? Urban Geography, 1994 p. 409-410

Business Applications: market analysis, site selection, routing

Municipal Applications: land record management, citizen information

Environmental Applications: resource monitoring and geological modeling

Scan GIS World, Geo Info Systems, EOM (Earth Observation Magazine), Business Geographics, URISA Journal for examples.

Nov 24 Project #4 due: Geocoding

Nov 24 Let's do it: DEMS and 3-D Displays.

DeMers Chap. 15

Dec 1 The Future of GIS and Some Dissenting Perspectives

Goodchild and Longley The Future of GIS and Spatial Analysis in Longley, etc al 1998 pp 567-580

Goss, Jon "We Know Who You Are and We Know Where You Live": The Instrumental Rationality of Geodemographic Systems, Economic Geography , April 1995 (Vol. 71 p. 171-198)

Sui, Danial Z. GIS and Urban Studies: Positivism, Post-Positivism, and Beyond Urban Geography, 1994 (vol. 15, p. 258-278)

Dec 8 Final Exam

Dec 10 Project #5 due: Creating a Layer: Tracts for Dallas



Using ArcView GIS : its relationship with the Lab. Projects


The Using ArcView GIS text is primarily intended to help you with the lab projects, which give you hands on experience with ArcView. How you use this text is a personal decision. You might like to work through the examples in this book before tackling the projects. Or you may prefer to jump in with projects, using the book as a reference. Below is a very general guide to the chapters as they relate to each Project.

Project 1: Daycare location: Chap. 2, parts of 5,6,7,10 (purpose: general introduction)

Project 2: Texas Demographics: Chap. 3,4,6,10 (purpose: map creation and layouts)

Project 3: Pipeline: Chap 11, 12, 13, 14 (purpose: drawing and data selection)

Project 4: Housing Sales: Chap 5,8 (purpose: geocoding, graphing)

Project 5: Census Tracts: Chap 18, 20,22 (purpose: spatial editing and data preparation)