Geographic Information Systems

EMAD DAWWAS's picture
Course Code: 
Course Outline: 



The course includes practical training on selected issues of environmental and urban issues with the focus on data collection, storage, analysis and presentation using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The course also includes applications of theoretical and practical knowledge of spatial analysis. 



The main objective of the course is to strengthen the theoretical knowledge and developing the practical sense of spatial analysis. Students are expected to gain the necessary knowledge and techniques about different types of spatial data analysis. In addition, students are expected to apply knowledge gained in a practical project.


Outcomes and


An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret spatio-temporal data.



An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs using  GIS techniques, skills.

C, K


An ability to identify, formulate, and solve geospatial problems.



An ability to communicate effectively.



Textbook and References

Bolstad, P. (2007). GIS Fundamentals: A First Text on Geographic Information Systems , 3rd Edition. Eider Press.

Booth, B. & Mitchel, A. (2001). Getting Started with ArcGIS. ESRI Press.

Burrouch, P. (1986). Principles of Geographical Information Systems for Land Resources Assessment. Clarenson Press.

DeBy, R., Knippers, R. & Sun, Y. (2001). Principles of Geographic Information Systems: An Introductory Textbook. ITC Educational Textbook Series 1.

ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) (2002). Using ArcGIS Spatial Analyst. ESRI Press.

Foresman, T. (1998). The History of Geographic Information Systems: Perspectives from the Pioneers. Prentice Hall PTR.

Hrmon, J. & Anderson, S. (2003). The Design and Implementation of Geographic Information Systems. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Ormsby, T., Napoleon, E., Burke, B. & Groessl, C. ( 2010). Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop.  ESRI Press.

Steinberg, S. J. & Steinberg, S. L. (2006). Geographic Information Systems for the Social Sciences: Investigating the Space and Place. SAGE Publications.



If any, mark

as (X)



Midterm Exams










Term Paper

Laboratory Work


Final Exam




Dr. Emad Dawwas

Number of weeks




Assignments* & Exercises**

2 weeks

(W1 &W2)

Introduction to GIS

- The  evolution of GIS and its academic origins

- What is GIS

- Components of GIS

- Fields of GIS applications

CH1 & CH3 in Foresman (1998); CH1 in Steinberg & Steinberg (2006)

In two pages describe how GIS relate to your field of interest


Exploring Arc Map and Arc Catalogue

CH1 to CH4 in Ormsby et. al. (2010)

Describe at least 10 different tools with one example for each tool.

2 weeks

(W3 &W4)

Spatial Referencing Systems and Projections

- Introduction

- Principles of Geodesy and Spatial -Referencing Systems

- Describing Coordinate Referencing Systems and Projections

CH3 in Bolstad (2007)

In two pages make a comparison between three commonly used map projections.


Geo-referencing and Projecting Spatial Data

CH13 in Ormsby et. al. (2010)

Scan a paper map or a satellite image or an aerial photo, then georeference it based on another georeferenced map or image

2 weeks

(W5 &W6)

Spatial Database Structures and Data Models 

 -Vector data model

- Raster data model

- Vector vs. raster data models

CH2 in Burrouch (1986); CH2 in DeBy et. al. (2001)

Select a hypothetical case study and justify your selection of vector and/or raster data models

CH2 in Burrouch (1986); CH2 in DeBy et. al. (2001).


Introducing basic vector and raster tools

CH5 to CH7 in Ormsby et. al. (2010)

Digitize different objects on your scanned image from the previous lab exercise

2 weeks


Vector Data Analysis

- Topology

- Attribute based analysis

- Levels of measurements

- Vector spatial operations

CH 4 in Hrmon & Anderson (2003); CH 9 in Bolstad (2007)

From the previous assignment, what vector spatial operations, attribute based analysis and level of measurement might be included in your methodology? How will they be implemented?


Working with attributes and geoprocessing: investigating Data Management and Data Analysis toolboxes

CH8 to CH12 in Ormsby et. al. (2010)

Add attributes to objects you created in the previous exercise. Run some meaningful vector operations and show the results clearly

2 weeks


Raster Data Analysis

- Introduction to Map Algebra

- Raster spatial operations

CH 9 and CH 10 in Bolstad (2007) (need scanning)

From the previous assignment, what raster spatial operations might be included? How will they be implemented?


Working with raster data: investigating spatial analyst toolbox

ESRI (2002)

Run some meaningful  raster operations and show the results clearly

2 weeks

(W11, W12)

Applications of GIS

- Case studies related to the students’ interests.

- Planning a GIS  project

Selected Journal Papers

In two to three pages, summarize one of the assigned readings


In class mini projects

CH14 to CH19 in Ormsby et. al. (2010)

Final project proposal and preliminary presentations

4 weeks

(W13, W14, W15)

GIS  in Practice

- Data collection and assembling

- Data preparation

- Data analysis

- Data presentation

No assignment


Working on the final project

CH4 to CH 8 in Booth, B. & Mitchel, A. (2001)

Final project submission and final presentations

* Students are required to present their results in the class on 5 to 10 ppt slides

** All lab exercises must be finished and submitted by the end of each lab session