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Week 01: Introduction/Review of GIS


Introduction to Topic

We need to review the basics of GIS, what it is, what we use it for, why we should care, and nomenclature. We also need to cover some of the basics of WebGIS so that you can use both throughout the semester.

Why we're Covering it

Although there are prerequisites of previous GIS experience or cousework (for undergraduates) and GEOG 1800 for undergraduates, I typically find it is safe to assume you've forgotten most of what you know. A refresher never hurts. Moreover, this introduction and review will get us all on the same page.

WebGIS is something most of you have used whether you realize it or not. For example, you have probably used maps like the GoogleMap below many times:

Where we meet for class and lab.

View Example WebGIS Logan in a larger map

This is a simple example of WebGIS. Most people already intuitively know how to navigate around Google Maps. You probably don't really need instructions on how to zoom in to our campus or to know that if you click on the little symbols you will get more information about our classroom and our lab. Similarly, you've probably played around in Google Earth:

A 3D view of the same thing:

View Example WebGIS Logan in a larger map

Here is another example of a WebGIS, this one is from an ArcGIS Explorer Online Map of FEMA 100 Year Floodplains (zoomed to show around Park City). 

So the reason we are covering WebGIS
is because it is something that everyone can use, whereas as GIS software is a specialty piece of software that typically requires a fair bit of training and experience to use effectively. There is nothing particularly magical about webGIS, other than that the user only needs a browser and internet connection to use it, as opposed to GIS software installed on their machine.For you, WebGIS will not be a substitute for GIS, it will be the means by which you can disseminate your GIS products to wider audiences and non GIS users.

Learning Outcomes

These lectures, readings and Lab 01 all help fulfill primary learning outcomes 1 & 5.


Intro to Course & Review of Maps

Here we cover the syllabus, introductions and start to review maps.

Current Year:
Past Years:
Starting in 2013, we covered the syllabus, a review of GIS and intro to WebGIS on the first day.

Intro to WebGIS & Review of GIS

In this lecture (from 2012) we eased into a review of GIS and Intro to WebGIS

Additional Resources

Examples of Applications of GIS

  • ESRI Publishes a number of useful publications, which help give you an idea of the scope of applications of GIS (you can subscribe to them for free or view them on line):

Careers in GIS

Further Reading on WebGIS

Working with KML & HTML PopUps in ArcGIS

Some of you have asked how to customize the display and pop-ups when exporting to KML. You may find these help topics useful:

Examples of WebGIS at Work

Backed by ESRI ArcGIS Server:
Backed by ESRI's ArcGIS Online
Backed by GoogleMaps
Backed by Bing Maps