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GGP 355 Advanced GIS


SP 2011 HO


Fox, David P.


Assistant Professor of Geography


(PhD student Geography, University of Kansas)
MA Geography, University of Missouri-Columbia
BA Geography, University of Missouri-Columbia

Office Location

Findlay-Wakefield Science Hall (SC), Room 004

Office Hours

MW 12:00-2:30 & TR 1:00-2:30

Daytime Phone



Web Page

Semester Dates

Jan. 10 - May 6, 2010

Class Days


Class Time

11:35 - 12:50 PM


GGP350 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or permission of the instructor

Credit Hours




1) Price, Maribeth. Mastering ArcGIS (3rd edition). New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006. ISBN: 978-0-07-305152-9.
2) Allen, David W. GIS Tutorial II: Spatial Analysis Workbook (1st Edition). ESRI Press, 2009.  ISBN: 978-1-58948-201-2

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

It is recommended that you purchase an additional book related to the type of GIS applications in which you are most interested.  ESRI Press, in particular, has published many books on various applications of GIS.  For example, there are titles available in specific areas such as marketing, environmental management, health organizations, land records, marine studies, urban environments, and more.  Check their website for a full listing:  NOTE: You should check the price of these books at or any other online discount/used book seller before purchasing them.
If you have a personal computer that meets the system requirements for ArcGIS 9.3 software, it is also strongly recommended that you install the 180-day trial copy that comes with the GIS Tutorial II workbook. 

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

ESRI "Virtual Campus" -

Course Description:
This course is an advanced course that will have the student learner performing theoretical, conceptual, and practical aspects of the collection, storage, analysis, and display of spatial data. Emphasis will be placed on the applications of geographic information systems. Laboratory projects involving student use of computers will be required. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

My educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, and writings.  This class, in particular, will require you to apply the concepts being learned to hands-on development of maps, databases, and spatial analysis.  My goal is to create a positive, interactive, challenging, engaging, lively, and even, at times, confusing (believe it or not) classroom environment.  But my success in doing so is largely dependent upon you--your willingness to engage in class discussion, to ask questions, to share your opinions and knowledge from other learning experiences.  I believe that education is most effective when approached as a process during which the teacher and students share equally in contributing to the learning that takes place.  Rather than being the "sage on the stage" or a "fountain of wisdom" (neither of which I am), I will attempt to guide, encourage, and facilitate your learning.  Therefore, you will be expected to come to class prepared to discuss, debate, reflect on, analyze, evaluate, and question the readings and other class material every bit as much as I am.  Put simply, I believe that you will get out of this class what you put into it.
Because of the "hands-on" nature of this course, the majority of class time will most likely consist of you actually working on lab assignments (i.e., "doing GIS"), rather than having lectures.  Generally speaking, the first class session of each week will consist of a quick review of the GIS concepts in the material covered that week and any needed instruction for completing the lab assignment.  Any remaining class time will be used for beginning the lab assignment.  The second class session will be used for continuing the lab work and discussion of common problems or questions that you may have.  You will need to spend additional time outside of the scheduled class sessions in the GIS Lab room in order to be able to complete the assigned work.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Collect and construct maps using GIS software
  2. Critically evaluate and interpret a GIS applications
  3. Analyze data sets for validity
  4. Propose a variety of uses for GIS and how it can be applied to analyze the regional and global community.

Class Assessment:
Lab assignments: During the first 8 weeks of the course, you will be expected to review and expand upon the basics of GIS learned in GGP350 and to demonstrate your ability to use ArcGIS software by completing a series of 8 lab assignments.  For the most part, these assignments will consist of completing the "Challenge Problems" at the end of each chapter of the Mastering ArcGIS textbook (Note: In some cases you may need to complete some of the exercises for the chapter first in order to be able to complete the challenge problem).  The required challenge problems and exercises are identified in the schedule below and should be completed as described in the textbook.  Lab assignments will be due by Friday of each week.

Exams: A short answer/essay exam covering the major theoretical and conceptual material discussed in the course.

Research Project: The principle focus of this course is demonstrating the ability to use and apply GIS software appropriately. Because the applications of GIS vary widely (and therefore the specific set of techniques used can vary), the major focus of assessing your learning in this course will be based on your ability to apply GIS to a specific research problem that is of particular interest to you. Ideally, the research topic will be closely related to the application that you examined for your research paper in GGP350, however, it does not have to be. The project grade includes the submission of a GIS Project Proposal (see example on pp. 16-17 in the textbook) no later than week 8 of the course (midterm). This proposal is worth 15% of the total score for the project. The work plan in your GIS Project Proposal must be scheduled so that it will be completed during the final 8 weeks of the course. An additional 10% of credit is earned by making a presentation on your project during the final exam period for the course. The remaining 75% of credit for the project will come from your creation of a poster displaying the results of your research project. It must contain the following sections: Overview/Introduction, Objectives, Methodology, Results, Analysis, Conclusion, and at least 3 maps that demonstrate the steps or techniques you used in conducting your spatial analysis. A more complete description of the project requirements and a grading rubric will be provided in class. (NOTE: You may earn 10% of "extra credit" by also presenting your project in the Undergraduate Student Research Symposium on April 30.)


Lab Assignments (8 @ 5% each) 40%
Exams (2 @ 20% each) 40% 
Research Project 20%

Final grades will be based on the following scale:
A = 100-90%
B = 89-80%
C = 79-70%
D = 69-60%
F = 59-0%

Late Submission of Course Materials:
All assessments (assignments, exams, etc.) for the lecture session are expected to be fully completed and submitted by the announced due date and time.  Any work completed and/or submitted after the announced deadline may not be accepted for grading.  The instructor reserves the right to determine whether or not late work will be accepted and how much of a grade reduction penalty is appropriate depending upon the rationale for the student's lateness and whether or not he/she appropriately notified the instructor in advance of the deadline (or as soon as reasonably possible in the event of an emergency/unforeseen circumstance) with any appropriate documentation that may be requested by the instructor for verification purposes.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

The following rules of conduct always apply:

1) Follow the GIS Lab Room rules as posted.

2) Demonstrate respect for yourself, your classmates, and your instructor at all times--even if you do not agree with their ideas or opinions.
3) Contribute to an atmosphere conducive to learning by eliminating distractions, especially from electronic devices (laptops, cell phones, iPods, etc.--i.e., turn them OFF!) or off-topic conversations with others.

4) Attend class, participate in discussions and activities, and encourage others to do so as well.

5) Arrive on time for class and do not leave early unless you have notified the instructor; also, notify the instructor promptly if you intend to make a request for an excused absence.
6) Communicate early and often with the instructor about any questions, concerns, or problems related to the course.

7) Keep your sense of humor.

8) NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, plagiarize.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

The course schedule will be posted in the course eCompanion website.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:1/15/2011 9:18:33 AM