Synchronous meeting time: MoTuWeTh 10:00AM – 11:15AM
Office hour: MoWe 11:15AM – 12:15PM
Academic credit: 4
Course format: lecture + lab
Instructor: Charles Chang
Title: Assistant Professor of Environment and Urban Studies
Expertise: Computational Social Science and Digital Humanities
Charles Chang’s research interest hinges on the intersections between computation and design. With the rise of smartphones and other internet-connected devices, design choices become increasingly data-driven and dependent on information’s credibility in the construction of the human habitat. Chang’s research focuses on human habitat’s design, environmental impact, and information’s credibility in the Big-Data age. His teaching interests at Duke Kunshan include computational social science, digital humanities, and urban informatics. He has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, among which are articles on Big Data and machine learning in natural science, social science, and the humanities.
What is this course about?
Geographic Information System (GIS) are computer-based systems used to collect, store, manage and analyze geographic information. This course will introduce you to the fundamental concepts upon which this technology is based. Through lectures, lab exercises and projects, you will gain an understanding of GIS and how it can be used to solve geospatial problems. You will also learn how to use GIS software to create maps, charts, images and other types of presentations to effectively communicate geospatial ideas and findings. Other related geospatial technologies, such as Global Positioning System (GPS), Remote Sensing (RS), and Cartography will also be explored.
What background knowledge do I need before taking this course?
No prior knowledge of GIS is required. However, general understanding of computation and information science is recommended.
What will I learn in this course?
What will I do in this course?
Students who take this course generally fall into one of two categories:
You might be a Computation and Design major who is on the social policy track or a student in another major (e.g. data science or environmental science) who needs to take this class to fulfill requirements. This course will prepare you for the technical challenge of GIS by helping you develop a robust understanding of geographical information systems and how to work with spatial data; this skill will be essential in future courses.
You might want to learn how GIS works so that you can bring new ideas back to your own field of study, such as computation and design, environmental science, data science, political economy, or any other majors that involve spatial analysis.
The course contains three components: lectures, labs, and projects. In lectures, you will learn the basic concepts and theories of GIS through lecture presentations and discussions. In labs, you will apply the knowledge in practice to gain hands-on experience in geospatial data collection, management, and analysis as well as map reading/making. In projects, you will synthesize the knowledge and skills learned throughout the semester to finish an integrated GIS project.
How can I prepare for the class sessions to be successful?
Students enrolled in this course should be prepared to read all the required readings before class; participate in course discussions; complete lab assignments and the final project individually with her/his earnest effort; and finish all the quizzes and exams.
What required texts, materials, and equipment will I need?
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems by R. Adam Dastrup, MA, GISP.
What optional texts or resources might be helpful?
1. GIS Fundamentals: A First Text on Geographic Information Systems, 6th Edition (2019) by Paul Bolstad. (Ebook ISBN 978-1-59399-552-2)
2. Discover QGIS 3.x by Kurt Menke. ISBN: 978-0998547763. You can purchase the pdf version from Locate Press.
3. QGIS Video Tutorials by MangoMap.
4. Discovering GIS and ArcGIS Pro, 3rd Edition (2021) by Bradley A. Shellito. eBook ISBN: 9781319348069, paperbackISBN:9781319230753 .You can rent the book through MacMillan Learning Student Store.
How will my grade be determined?
A = 93% - 100%;
A- = 89% - 93%;
B+ = 84% - 89%;
B = 80% - 84%;
B- = 75% - 80%;
C = 70% - 75%;
D = 60% - 70%;
F = 0% - 59%
Note: Weekly discussions often include 3 to 5 simple review questions that you should know from the previous lecture. It also includes a group presentation for a GIS application. Lecture Quizzes will be similar to exams where some of the questions are similar to the review questions and other questions require problem-solving techniques.
Late submission for discussions, lab reports, and the final project report will be subject to a late penalty: for each day past the due date your submission will be deducted 15% of the total points of the assignment. For example, a discussion is 15 points in total. If you turn in your responses 1 day late, the maximum points you may earn is 15-15*15% = 13.
Late submission for quizzes will NOT be accepted, EXCEPT you can provide approval there are unpreventable factors and/or unovercomeable challenges that make it impossible for you to submit your work on time. Written documents/proofs are required for medical emergencies, family emergencies, or university-approved absences.
What are the course policies?
What campus resources can help me during this course?
Academic Advising and Student Support
Please consult with me about appropriate course preparation and readiness strategies, as needed. Consult your academic advisors on course performance (i.e., poor grades) and academic decisions (e.g., course changes, incompletes, withdrawals) to ensure you stay on track with degree and graduation requirements. In addition to advisors, staff in the Academic Resource Center can provide recommendations on academic success strategies (e.g., tutoring, coaching, student learning preferences). Please visit the Office of Undergraduate Advising website for additional information related to academic advising and student support services.
Writing and Language Studio
For additional help with academic writing—and more generally with language learning—you are welcome to make an appointment with the Writing and Language Studio (WLS). To accommodate students who are learning remotely as well as those who are on campus, writing and language coaching appointments are available in person and online. You can register for an account, make an appointment, and learn more about WLS services, policies, and events on the WLS website. You can also find writing and language learning resources on the Writing & Language Studio Sakai site.
What is the expected course schedule?
|Date||Class topic||Pre-class work for students||Planned in-class activities||Assignments due|
|W 1 S 1||Introduction to Geographic (Geospatial) Information Systems||Read Chapter 1||Quiz 1|
|W 1 S 2||Introduction to QGIS||QGIS training materials Module 2 and Module 3||Lab 1|
|W 2 S 1||Understand Geospatial Data||Read Chapter 2||Quiz 2|
|W 2 S 2||Making a print map||QGIS training materials Module 4 and Map Projections||Lab 2|
|W 3 S 1||Displaying Geospatial Data||Read Chapter 3||Quiz 3|
|W 3 S 2||Creating Vector Data||QGIS training materials Module 5||Lab 3|
|W 4 S 1||Creating Geospatial Data||Read Chapter 4||Quiz 4, Exam 1|
|W 4 S 2||Vector Analysis||QGIS training materials Module 6||Lab 4|
|W 5 S 1||Managing Geospatial Data with Spatial Database||Read Chapter 5||Quiz 5|
|W 5 S 2||Rasters and Raster Analysis||QGIS training materials Module 7 and Multispectral Analysis (NDVI)||Lab 5|
|W 6 S 1||Intro to Spatial Analysis||Read Chapter 6||Quiz 6|
|W 6 S 2||Intro to WebGIS||Introduction to Spatial Data Science and Web Cartography||Lab 6|
|Week 7||Finishing your own project||Exam 2||Data processing and analysis
Visualizing project results