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Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing

Course Number: OCMB - 6100, MEVS - 5023, CZMT - 6100, and BMME- 6000

This course assumes that you have an interest in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing.  It is not intended to matter whether you consider yourself a chemist, physicist, biologist, geologist or geographer. The intention is to deliver practical experience in Geographic Information System (GIS) through analysis and visualization of spatial data gathered from tools to study the Earth, its processes, and its inhabitants. The course is designed to be accessible to anyone with a reasonable grounding in the Earth and Biological Sciences with basic computer skills and is tailored to give a general induction to a wide scope of relevant topics and spatial data.  The syllabus introduces basic Earth observation principles and image classification is dealt with by providing a grounding in the basic theory underlying image processing.  Analyses of commonly collected spatio-temporal biological data will be emphasized.  Processing, visualization, and presentation of spatial data, generated from field studies and theoretical models, will be stressed for the purposes of analysis and publication in print and on the internet.  This practical and real-world experience founded in RS and GIS theory can be brought forward to each student’s individual thesis topic.  

Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this course the student:

  • Will understand the fundamentals of GIS, its potential as well as its limitations. Remote sensing is presented as a portion of the GIS hierarchy and introduced using both marine and terrestrial examples.
  • Will demonstrate a broad understanding of remote Earth-observation as presented during the course.
  • Will be intimately familiar with the industry-standard software ArcGIS and its use in the context of RS, field, and theoretical spatial data. Upon completing the course, each student will be able to complete a wide range of tasks using ESRI Arc GIS.
  • Will have ample opportunity to conduct case studies to answer specific environmental questions. The case studies cover a complete processing stream, from data acquisition, pre-processing, processing and finally, critical evaluation of the utility of the final map product. This experience will allow students to take what they have learned from the course and spatial-analysis via a GIS to their own projects. 


A text book will not be required. All materials are provided in accompanying Blackboard course.  

Fall 2016 Syllabus

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