Geographical information systems (GIS) are powerful tools for organizing, analyzing, and displaying spatial data. GIS has applications in a wide variety of fields including the natural sciences, public policy, business, and the humanities; literally any field that uses spatially distributed information. In this course we will explore the fundamentals of GIS with an emphasis on practical application of GIS to problems from a range of disciplines. The course will cover the basic theory of GIS, data collection and input, data management, spatial analysis, visualization, and map preparation. Coursework will include lecture, hands-on activities, and Service Learning projects allowing students to put their new GIS skills to use solving community problems.
When students are done with the course they should be able to:
- Frame geographic/spatial questions within their major field
- Assess and collect data needed to answer specific geographic questions
- Perform basic spatial analyses to answer questions
- Prepare maps to effectively communicate problems, analyses, results
- Critically evaluate maps/analyses created by others
Service Learning Projects
Small groups of students work closely with community groups to design a GIS analysis, collect and analyze data, and draft a professional quality report to the community. These projects provide a means for studnets to apply their newly aquired GIS skills and more deeply appreciate how GIS is used to solve local environmental problems. The map below highlights some previous student projects.
View Wesleyan GIS Service Learning Projects in a larger map