Introduction to GIS

Spring Open
Class Standing
Mike Ruth

Introduction to GIS is the first course in the three-quarter sequence for the Certification in GIS.

This course will teach students how to use the versatile technology of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS is more than just map-making; a GIS integrates computer hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information across a wide variety of disciplines. GIS technology is increasingly used by physical and social scientists, policy makers, businesses, environmental and conservation organizations, utilities, public health providers, the military, and educators, as examples. More organizations are using spatial data and analysis to help them make decisions relating to acceptable land uses, allocation of resources and assets, fairness and social wellbeing, and many other needs.

Instruction will rely strongly on weekly hands-on labs and homework exercises to guide students through a public policy decision process from beginning to end over the duration of the quarter. Students will learn to manage spatial data and tools, mainly using the commonly known as ArcGIS. No previous experience with GIS is required. Student versions of the ArcGIS software suite will be made available for home use (but technical support is limited to college computers). Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute) makes a suite of software that is the focus of this course. 

Hi-Flex Class Format: This course is offered in a “Hi-Flex” format.  Students can attend fully in-person, fully online, or a mix of both. Each class will be offered in-person but  will  also include a zoom link for remote attendees. We will do our best to provide comparable experiences for both in-person and remote students.  Remote students can expect to engage with one another through breakout rooms, online discussion boards and other collaborative online methods.   

Class meetings will be offered in the campus CAL (Computer Applications Lab) and fully-online (Zoom). Each class session will be broadcast over Zoom to any students who elect to attend from home or other off-campus location. Note that taking this course in hybrid manner requires two computer monitors, and reliable and sufficient internet bandwidth, especially for those students relying on RDP connections to access a campus computer over the web. 

CLASS SCHEDULE: Monday nights, 6pm-10pm


Course Reference Numbers
GR (4): 30224

Academic Details



Hybrid (S)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details