EGEO 350

Preliminary Syllabus

Location: AH 16 9:00-1:00, M, T, W, Th, F, June 19-29
Instructor: Michael Medler
Office: AH 210, 650-3173
Office Hours: Every day, after class

GIS Specialist: Stefan Freelan, AH 205, Email: 650-2949

Registration Note: The official 'prerequisite' for this course is Huxley Major Status. Non-Huxley majors wishing to take the class should contact Michael.

Course Objectives

This course provides an introduction to the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and ArcGIS software. It includes both theoretical and practical elements, providing both a general understanding of the subject and hands-on experience. The course begins with the basic elements of a GIS and progress quickly into the use of GIS software for spatial analysis. Reading assignments are moderate but expectations for interactive class participation and lab work are high. This includes regular attendance (extremely important), active class participation in discussion, quick assimilation of computer software techniques and the ability to work effectively with others in the lab.

Basic computer literacy is essential and, though not a pre-requisite, statistical experience is extremely helpful (as are computer graphics, spreadsheet and/or database experience). Students unfamiliar with (at the very least) the Windows operating system (including Windows Explorer), email, the internet and the Microsoft Office suite (Excel, Word) are strongly encouraged to seek outside tutorial assistance at their earliest opportunity.

Note that while this class serves as a stand-alone introduction to GIS and ArcGIS, it also provides the foundation for the ongoing WWU EGEO-450/451/452/453 course series and the GIS minor.

Specific topics covered include:

  • GIS Applications & Overview and The possibilities & limitations of GIS
  • ESRI’s ArcGIS software, Query, analysis and display of spatial data
  • The relationship of tabular and spatial data
  • Cartographic fundamentals
  • Database & project management
  • Types of spatial data available, Sources and processing required
  • Exposure to advanced GIS concepts and techniques

Texts & Materials

Digital Books

(provided, J:\saldata\ESRI_misc\esri_books\ )

  • Getting_Started_with_ArcGIS.pdf
  • Using_ArcMap.pdf
  • Using_ArcCatalog.pdf
  • GIS_Dictionary_ESRI.pdf

These ‘books’ are published by ESRI and come with ArcGIS. Selected readings will be assigned (or recommended) from these to supplement the text and Virtual Campus materials. Students are encouraged to not print these documents.

ESRI’s Virtual Campus

Learning ArcGIS 10

A series of on-line exercise will be used from the ESRI Virtual Campus (registration for the Virtual Campus is free to WWU students). Lab assignments will include a combination of work from the Virtual Campus and exercises using local and other datasets. (notes on using the Virtual Campus) (Data for Learning ArcGIS 10 is located on the JDrive at (J:\saldata\data_ESRI\data_virtual_campus)


ArcGIS 9.2 (ESRI) - Available in AH-16 (the Spatial Analysis Lab), AH-05, and most of the main campus Windows computer labs.

Evaluation copies of this software are available (requires Windows NT, 2000 or XP and the bigger the better). See Stefan for a CD.

Course Materials

(things to buy)

Recommended: USB portable drive or other large format storage medium (i.e., . Rewritable CD’s and stacks of floppies are not recommended. CDR’s are a good way to archive projects at the end of the quarter, but not recommended as a day-to-day storage medium.

Assignments (80 pts total)

There will be a total of 8 Lab assignments (10 pts each). Labs will draw from class readings, the Virtual Campus exercises, and in-class lectures and examples using local data sets. Content of the assignments is cumulative.

Assignments are due by the end of class on their listed due date. If you cannot get an assignment done by this time late assignments lose 20% per day late. Late assignments more than 4 days late are worth 0 pts. The only exceptions to this will be when a university approved Leave of Absence is provided (i.e., for medical reasons or a family emergency, refer to the WWU Division of Student Affairs for details). You can earn 10 bonus points if you turn in all labs on time, and 5 bonus points by completing all the virtual course and handing in a printed certificate of completion.


Quizzes may occur on any day at any time of class. The times below are only a guideline.


Date Labs and Exercise listed by Due Date Lecture Powerpoint
Week 1 June 19 Introduction
GIS Definitions
Survey, Lab 0, Survey Key, Lab 0 Key
What is a GIS?
Week 2 June 20 Lab 1, Lab 1 Key
Getting Started with ArcGIS Desktop
Raster and Vector
Week 3 June 21 Lab 2, Lab 2 Key
Creating Map Symbology
Week 4 June 22 Lab 3, Lab 3 Key
Referencing Data to Real Locations
Quiz #1, Quiz #1 Key, 10:00-11:00
Week 5 June 25 Lab 4, Lab 4 Key
Organizing Geographic Data
Week 6 June 26 Lab 5, Lab 5 Key
Creating and Editing Data
What all maps need
Getting Started with GIS Analysis
Week 7 June 27 Lab 6, Lab 6 Key
Working with Geoprocessing and Modeling Tools
Spatial Analysis
Week 8 June 28 Lab 7, Lab 7 Key, PDF version
Designing Maps with ArcGIS
Remote Sensing
TM Band Page
Week 9, June 29 Lab 8 Terms to Know
Quiz #2, 10:00-11:00
What All Good Maps Should (Must) Have

Quizzes may occur on any day at any time of class. The times above are a guideline only


  • Quizzes: 10% (5% each)
  • Labs: 80%
  • Attendance and participation: 10%
Page Updated 10.15.2013