Geographical information systems - Geog3740

I will teach this course again in Spring 2018.
Here is my last Course Outline - Changes will be made!


When: Monday, Wednesday, Friday:11:00 - 11:50

Room: C-756

Instructor: Dr. Stefan Kienzle
Office: Water & Environmental Science Building: WE2012
Phone: 403.380.1875
Office Hours: Any time, please make an appointment


Class Notes:

Test Center:



Lab Instructor: Jackie Montain , Labs:

Section Day Time Location
1 Tuesday 8:00 - 10:40 am
Thursday 3:05 - 5:45 pm

Recommended Textbook (only this book will be referred to in class!):

Chang, Kang-tsung (2013): Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, McGraw-Hill (7th edition, earlier editions are also OK)


Other good GIS textbooks:

Burrough, P.A. and McDonnell. R.A. (1998): Principles of Geographical Information Systems, Oxford University Press
Lo, C.P. and Yeung, K.W. (2002): Concepts and techniques of geographic information systems, Prentice-Hall
Longley, P.A., Goodchild, M.F., Maguire, D.J. and Rhind, D.W. (2001): Geographic information systems and science, John Wiley & Sons

Course Description

This course introduces students to the functions and uses of geographical information systems while following the principles and concepts of geographical information science. Students will learn how to apply ArcGIS, the leading desktop GIS, and how to plan GIS projects. Students gain valuable insights and concrete hands-on experience in the processes and pitfalls of constructing complex GIS databases. Hands-on tutorials in the GIS laboratory complement the lectures, which are filled with live demonstrations of GIS procedures.

A goal is to teach a sound understanding of the key principles of GIS, proper GIS practices, error detection, and learn the basic use of the ArcGIS software.


Each week has a specific topic which will be covered during the lectures and associated labs (slight deviations in the order are likely to occur):

Week Topic Associated Lab Exercises
Jan 8 - 10
Introduction to course, Review of Geog2735
no Lab
Jan 13 - 17
Working with Tables, GeoReferencing, Map Projections
Lab 1: Warm-up Lab: GeoReferencing, Table editing, simple Queries
Jan 20 - 24
Databases, Map Projections
Lab 2: Map Projections
Jan 27 - 31
Relationships, Query Exercises
Lab 3: Table Joins, Relates and Queries
Feb 3 - 7
History of GIS, Map Making
Lab 4: ArcGlobe & Google Earth
Feb 10 - 14
Spatial Joins, GeoProcessing
Lab 5:Review Lab
Feb 17 - 21
Reading Week
Reading Week
Feb 24 - 28
Mid-term Exam Lab Exam 1: Labs 1 to 3
Mar 3 - 7
Editing, Topology, GPS Lab 6: Constraint Analysis
Mar 10 - 14
Raster Analysis
Lab 6: Raster Analysis 1
Mar 17 - 21
Map Algebra
Lab 7: Raster Analysis 2
Mar 24 - 28
GeoCoding, Networks
Lab 8: GeoCoding, Area-Weighting
Mar 31 - Apr 4
Interpolation, NTS, MAUP
Lab 9: Review Lab
Apr 7 - 11
GIS Applications
no Lab (Flex Lab)
Apr 14
Data quality, GIS Applications, Wrap-up
Lab Exam 2: All labs


Lab Assignments

A main emphasis of this course is hands-on experience, which will make successful students more employable. In the Labs, students are instructed and guided how to work with GIS to solve problems. During the labs, students will be able to ask questions, so that they can carry out given tasks independently. Lab exams are open-book exams, where students have to apply GIS by carrying out steps that were covered during previous labs. DO NOT under-estimate the lab tests: you will be required to carry out small GIS projects on your own, using scientific methods and understanding the results.

The ArcGIS software is available in all student labs on campus; therefore, student can work on assignments or train themselves almost any time. Students are also provided with the opportunity to install a one-year license of the full ArcGIS 10.1 version on one home computer.


Plagiarism is an extremely serious academic offence and carries penalties varying from a written reprimand and failure in an assignment, to debarment from the University. Any student found to have plagiarized or cheated in this course would receive a mark of zero on the work in question, in addition to a written reprimand copied to the Registrar’s Office. Definitions and policies regarding plagiarism can be found in the University of Lethbridge Calendar.

Use of electronic devices in class

Students are NOT allowed to use cell phones, PDAs, iPODs or similar devices in class. If student do use the devices, they will be asked to leave the class, as this strongly disturbs other students.


A student who misses an exam, quiz or lab exam without prior excuse or written documentation (e.g. doctor’s note) will receive zero marks.

Marks will be posted on Moodle. A cumulative percentage mark will be determined using the weighting scheme below and converted to a final letter grade as follows:

Grading Proportions


Percent of
overall grade

8 Lab Assignment @ 2.5% each


Lab Exam 1


Lab Exam 2


Midterm Exam


Final Exam




Grading Scheme



90.0 - 100.0


85.0 - 89.9


80.0 - 84.9


76.7 - 79.9


73.4 - 76.6


70.0 - 73.3


66.7 - 69.9


63.4 - 66.6


60.0 - 63.3


55.0 - 59.9


50.0 - 55.0


0.0 - 49.9


Other Requirements

 You are reminded to ensure that your e-mail account is never full, otherwise you will not be able to receive e-mail.

In order to back up your lab assignments and GIS data, it is recommended that you have a USB Flash Drive.