Courses in Geographic Information Science

Core Courses

STAT 22000. Statistical Methods and Applications. 100 Units.

This course introduces statistical techniques and methods of data analysis, including the use of statistical software. Examples are drawn from the biological, physical, and social sciences. Students are required to apply the techniques discussed to data drawn from actual research. Topics include data description, graphical techniques, exploratory data analyses, random variation and sampling, basic probability, random variables and expected values, confidence intervals and significance tests for one- and two-sample problems for means and proportions, chi-square tests, linear regression, and, if time permits, analysis of variance.

Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Prerequisite(s): MATH 13100 or placement into MATH 15100

GEOG 20500. Introduction to Spatial Data Science. 100 Units.

Spatial data science consists of a collection of concepts and methods drawn from both statistics and computer science that deal with accessing, manipulating, visualizing, exploring and reasoning about geographical data. The course introduces the types of spatial data relevant in social science inquiry and reviews a range of methods to explore these data. Topics covered include formal spatial data structures, geovisualization and visual analytics, rate smoothing, spatial autocorrelation, cluster detection and spatial data mining. An important aspect of the course is to learn and apply open source software tools, including R and GeoDa.

Instructor(s): L. Anselin
Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): STAT 22000 (or equivalent), familiarity with GIS is helpful, but not necessary

GEOG 28000. GIScience Practicum. 100 Units.

This applied course in geographic information science builds upon and refines knowledge and geocomputational expertise gained in the GIScience sequence. Students will develop a multifaceted GIS project incorporating spatial thinking in design, infrastructure, and implementation. Projects could include the development of a web application, dynamic dashboard, interactive storytelling map, infographic-driven policy brief, or research article and are encouraged to link additional disciplines like health, sociology, economics, or political science.

Instructor(s): T. Schuble
Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisites: GIScience I and GIScience II

GEOG 28202. Geographic Information Science I. 100 Units.

This course introduces students to a wide range of geospatial technologies and techniques in order to explain the basic theory and application of geographic information systems (GIS). To do this, students will use open source or free software such as QGIS and Google Earth Pro to complete GIS lab exercises that cover a range of topics, including an introduction to different types of geospatial data, geographic measurement, GIS, principles of cartography, remote sensing, basic GIS mapping and spatial analysis techniques, remote sensing, and specific geospatial applications such as 3D modeling and geodesign. By providing a general overview of geospatial technologies, this course provides students with a broad foundational knowledge of the field of GIScience that prepares them for more specialized concepts and applications covered in future GIS courses.

Instructor(s): Kevin Credit
Terms Offered: Autumn

GEOG 28402. Geographic Information Science II. 100 Units.

This course investigates the theory and practice of infrastructure and computational approaches in spatial analysis and GIScience. Geocomputation is introduced as a multidisciplinary systems paradigm necessary for solving complex spatial problems and facilitating new understandings. Students will learn about the elements of spatial algorithms and data structures, geospatial topologies, spatial data queries, and the basics of geodatabase architecture and design.

Instructor(s): M. Kolak
Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): GIScience I

GEOG 28602. Geographic Information Science III. 100 Units.

This advanced course extends and connects both foundational and functional GIScience concepts. Students will be introduced to advanced programming and scripting languages necessary for spatial analysis and GIScience applications. Additional topics include customization, enterprise GIS, web GIS, and advanced visualization and analytic techniques.

Instructor(s): M. Kolak
Terms Offered: Spring.
Prerequisites: GIScience I and GIScience II


GEOG 20273. Urban Spatial Archaeology I. 100 Units.

Space and time are fundamental concepts in urban spatial science. In this course, students will gain substantive and technical knowledge on how to analyze space and time through the tools of urban spatial archaeology. Specifically, this course will introduce students to various historical data sources on Chicago and New Orleans to digitize, then conduct a spatial historical analysis of any topic of their choice. By taking a historical approach to the study of time and space, students will walk away from the course with (1) ways to conceptualize time and space when studying urban issues, and (2) skills for designing a project to empirically demonstrate the workings of time and space in the real world. At the end of this course, students will be expected to have produced a historical dataset for a research paper that will be completed in the next course sequence.

Instructor(s): R. Vargas
Terms Offered: Winter. Cancelled - Not offered in 2018/19
Prerequisite(s): GEOG 20500 and GEOG 28202

GEOG 24600. Introduction to Urban Sciences. 100 Units.

This course is a grand tour of conceptual frameworks, general phenomena, emerging data and policy applications that define a growing scientific integrated understanding of cities and urbanization. It starts with a general outlook of current worldwide explosive urbanization and associated changes in social, economic and environmental indicators. It then introduces a number of historical models, from sociology, economics and geography that have been proposed to understand how cities operate. We will discuss how these and other facets of cities can be integrated as dynamical complex systems and derive their general characteristics as social networks embedded in structured physical spaces. Resulting general properties of cities will be illustrated in different geographic and historical contexts, including an understanding of urban resource flows, emergent institutions and the division of labor and knowledge as drivers of innovation and economic growth. The second part of the course will deal with issues of inequality, heterogeneity and (sustainable) growth in cities. We will explore how these features of cities present different realities and opportunities to different individuals and how these appear as spatially concentrated (dis)advantage that shape people's life courses. We will show how issues of inequality also have consequences at more macroscopic levels and derive the general features of population and economic growth for systems of cities and nations.

Instructor(s): Luis Bettencourt
Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): STAT 22000

GEOG 24700. Introduction to Urban Planning. 100 Units.

The academic study of urban planning encompasses a range of issues dealing with cities, from urban design to governance, economic development, local politics, and place. The goal of this course is to provide a broad overview of urban planning theory and history while at the same time introducing students to basic GIS applications for urban planners. This format provides students with a better contextual understanding of the wide range of issues currently facing 21st century cities, and at the same time serves as an introduction to the everyday practice of urban planning. The course includes readings from prominent urban theorists, a discussion of the historical development of the urban planning profession in the US, and GIS exercises that allow students to apply their theoretical urban knowledge to real-world planning problems.

Instructor(s): Kevin Credit
Terms Offered: Autumn

GEOG 25900. Introduction to Location Analysis. 100 Units.

Understanding the location of business activities - agricultural, industrial, retail, and knowledge- based - has long been a focus for economic geographers, regional scientists, and urban planners. This course traces the key theories and conceptual models that have been developed over time to explain why economic activities tend to locate where they do. To introduce and explain these theories, this course covers several foundational concepts in economic geography and urban planning, such as: bid-rent theory, locational triangulation, various models of urban structure and growth, urban market areas, transportation, economic restructuring, and the "back-to-the-city" movement. This course incorporates several GIS exercises to teach students the basic principles of location optimization and to help illuminate the foundational theoretical principles of economic geography.

Instructor(s): K. Credit
Terms Offered: Spring

GEOG 27155. Urban Design with Nature. 100 Units.

This course will use the Chicago region as a laboratory for evaluating the social, environmental, and economic effects of alternative forms of human settlement. Students will be introduced to the basics of geographic information systems (GIS) and use GIS to map Chicago's "place types" - human habitats that vary along an urban-to-rural transect, as well as the ecosystem services provided by the types. They will then evaluate these place types using a range of social, economic and environmental criteria. In this way, students will evaluate the region's potential to simultaneously realize economic potential, protect environmental health, and provide social connectivity. This course is part of the College Course Cluster program: Urban Design.

Instructor(s): Sabina Shaikh and Emily Talen
Terms Offered: Autumn

GEOG 28700. Readings in Spatial Analysis. 100 Units.

This independent reading option is an opportunity to explore special topics in the exploration, visualization and statistical modeling of geospatial data.

Instructor(s): L. Anselin Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Available for either quality grades or for P/F grading.
Note(s): By permission of instructor only.

GEOG 28702. Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis for Social Scientists. 100 Units.

This course provides an introduction and overview of how spatial thinking is translated into specific methods to handle geographic information and the statistical analysis of such information. This is not a course to learn a specific GIS software program, but the goal is to learn how to think about spatial aspects of research questions, as they pertain to how the data are collected, organized and transformed, and how these spatial aspects affect statistical methods. The focus is on research questions relevant in the social sciences, which inspires the selection of the particular methods that are covered. Examples include spatial data integration (spatial join), transformations between different spatial scales (overlay), the computation of "spatial" variables (distance, buffer, shortest path), geovisualization, visual analytics, and the assessment of spatial autocorrelation (the lack of independence among spatial variables). The methods will be illustrated by means of open source software such as QGIS and R.

Instructor(s): M. Kolak, K. Credit
Terms Offered: Spring, Summer

GEOG 28800. History of Cartography. 100 Units.

This course offers a grand overview of the key developments in mapmaking throughout history worldwide, from pre-literate cartography to the modern interactive digital environment. It looks at the producers, their audience, the technologies and artistic systems used, and the human and global contexts in which they developed. The course also draws on the extensive map collections of Regenstein Library.

Instructor(s): Staff
Terms Offered: Spring

GEOG 28900. Readings in Urban Planning and Design. 100 Units.

This independent reading option is an opportunity to explore contemporary debates and theoretical arguments involved in the planning and design of cities.

Instructor(s): E.Talen
Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter. Students are required to submit the College Reading and Research Course Form. Available for either quality grades or for P/F grading.
Note(s): By permission of instructor only.