GIS in the Public Domain

Spring 2021
Graduate Only
Class Size: 15
2 Credits per quarter
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This elective will teach students the essentials for using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to access and exploit spatial data available from a wide variety of public domain sources. The course will mainly rely on the Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc) mapping system of ArcGIS Online and its modules, including Community Analyst, and Insights for ArcGIS.

ArcGIS software is widely used in government agencies, non-profits, and corporations, world-wide. The software enables efficient access and query of vast public data libraries. Through demographic inquiry, students can learn more about the behaviors, preferences, and capabilities of people living in any area of the USA, and generate maps and infographics to support policy and resource allocation decisions.

This course is designed to be skills-oriented – the approach is learning-by-doing. Students will be guided through hands-on exercises, with faculty instruction and classroom technical support. In each exercise, students will create many maps, while gaining exposure to some of the key principles of spatial analysis and story-map creation and publishing. Students will be assigned to create and present a final presentation map of their own design at the conclusion of the course.

There is no prerequisite to take this course. MPA students who have taken the course Demographics in Web GIS are well suited to continue their GIS learning by gaining further expertise in the ArcGIS platform modules exploited in this course.

(This is an intensive weekend course that will be conducted over two weekends, and through remote (Zoom) sessions, in light of the ongoing Covid19 pandemic situation. The course will meet on Friday evening, and then half days on the following two Saturdays and Sundays.)


Spring 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

GR (2): 30221

Academic details

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


Time Offered
Advertised Schedule

April 30 Friday 6-9 pm

May 1 Saturday 9 am – Noon

May 2 Sunday 1 pm – 4 pm

May 8 Saturday 9 am to Noon

May 9 Sunday 1 pm 4 pm (Presentations)

Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting