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GIS Courses

Academics / Departments & Programs / Geo / GIS / GIS Courses

GIS Courses at Calvin

  • GEO 260/560 GIS & Cartography (4). FA and SP. This course focuses on geographic information systems (GIS) and the art and science of mapping for spatial analysis. Map-design techniques and visual communication using GIS vector and raster data forms will be explored, as well as a variety of methods for analyzing spatial relationships. Topics include those of the physical world and landscape, social justice, poverty, and a significant end-of-semester project. This course has a lecture and lab component, and lab work will give practical experience to students using the ArcGIS suite. Students will complete a GIS project tailored to their disciplinary interest and also explore religious faith in professional GIS life.

  • GEO 361/561 Advanced Geographic Information Systems(4). SP. This course introduces advanced themes in Geographic Information Systems including spatial database design, spatial algorithms, implementation and design, and advanced GIS applications including designs for community development and service tailored to individual students’ industrial application.

  • GEO 362/562 Remote Sensing of the Environment (4) FA, alternate years. This course provides an introduction to remote sensing of Earth. During the semester students engage in the physics and technical aspects of photogrammetry and satellite imagery for the study of physical and human created aspects of Earth. This course includes a laboratory component as an integral learning method using remote sensing software and drones. Topics covered in this course range from aerial photography to analysis of 3D models of terrain to the sustainability of sprawl in urban systems. Multiple themes of application will be discussed.

  • GEO 563 Spatial Demographics (4) SP. This course provides an introduction to demography and geographical analysis. Specific attention is given to the study of social, economic, and health statistics as they change over time and space, which illustrate the changing structure of human populations. Readings in demographic research and a GIS-based semester project will comprise the second half of the course.

  • GEO 564 - Spatial Statistics (4) FA. This course will provide students a foundational introduction to spatial statistics. Lectures and course work emphasize descriptive and inferential statistical approaches to geographic problems. Spatial pattern, clusters, distribution, 3D space-time, and spatial relationship using Geographically Weighted Regression will be explored. Labs will train students on the single and multivariate statistical methods available in ArcGIS. Additionally, the R-Statistical package may be utilized based on instructor preference.

  • GEO 565 - Business Location Intelligence (5) FA. This course explores the exciting world of business spatial analytics and location-based services. Topics include gravity modeling, suitability analysis for potential market location, social and economic population analysis, and business and facilities saturation. Students will complete a GIS-based project for a local Non-profit business during the semester as a Service-Learning project.

  • GEO 566 - Spatial Programming and Data Management (5) SP. This course provides students with foundational knowledge in python and map objects programing for GIS. Students will learn python programming language. Emphasis will be on ESRI model builder, scripting for ArcToolBox, and custom design workflows using Map Objects. Geospatial data management best practices, ArcGIS Server, and geodatabase design will be explored. Students will construct a custom GIS solution for a public or private business. No previous programming experience is necessary but is recommended.


  • GEOG W40 The Geography of Terrorism. This course introduces students to terrorism from a geographic perspective. The course is formatted to provide both foundational theory and practical skills as a lecture and lab. Lectures and readings will include a variety of topics on terrorism, including investigation of definitions of terrorism, various historical and modern forms of terrorism, critical theory, issues of Christian faith in relation to terrorism, Homeland Security, and the state-of-the art of terrorism research from a geographic perspective. Laboratory work will be conducted using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. Lab work will explore the spatial analysis and mapping of multiple forms of terrorism, vulnerability and threat analysis, border issues, privacy, international relations, and weapons of mass destruction.  This course may fulfill an elective in the Geography major and minor. No pre-requisite is required and the class if open to all students; however, Geography 260 is recommended.  8:30 a.m. to noon.

  • GEOG W40 GIS and Urban Environments. The urban system is explored using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The focus includes a contemporary overview of urban geography and spatial analysis principles for urban environments. There is a lecture and lab component and NO prerequisite course is required. However, GEOG 260- GIS & Cartography is recommended. Intermediate computer skills are necessary. Labs include the following themes: GIS Introduction, population dynamics, urban expansion, squatter settlements, urban planning, neighborhood demographic changes, site location placement, geo-processing, location theory & quotients, urban sprawl, air pollution, & water resource demands. Evaluation is based on Graded lab exercises and a final exam.  This course may fulfill an elective in the Geography major and Urban Studies minor..

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