Urban Geographic Information Systems:
A Decision Support Approach
Raitt Hall 121
9:30 - 10:20 MWF Lecture; MTWTH Labs
Tim Nyerges, Professor,
Smith 402, Office hours : MTWF 10:30-11:20 AM, or by appointment
Jean Carmalt, Teaching Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org
Smith 430, Office/lab hours as announced in Section.
Matt Wilson, Teaching Assistant, email@example.com
Smith 422, Office/lab hours as announced in Section.
This course is designed as a learning experience about “GIS methods” in the context of urban and regional planning, programming and implementation-level processes to address land use, transportation and water resource concerns, particularly from a decision support perspective. The course makes use of concepts from planning, improvement programming, and implementation-level (PPI) work to inform the process of GIS methods. The course makes use of issues in land use, transportation, or water resources (LUTWR) to focus the substantive context of GIS work. We treat PPI processes and LUTWR substance within the context of GIS methods in an integrative way. This perspective leads us to issues about urban growth management in connection with community and regional sustainability in connection with approaches to integrative resource management, particularly from a decision support perspective. GIS, as an information technology, and particularly a decision support technology in a broad sense will mature, if we challenge it to address complex and demanding problems. Furthermore, we will not develop our own expertise unless we challenge ourselves to use GIS technology in complex ways. Group-based decision support of LUTWR within PPI processes is among the more complex and important topics in the 21st century – because the integration of these ideas can be a practical (as well as theoretical) foundation for addressing growth management and sustainability concerns. This course is taught at an intermediate level. Consequently, students are expected to have taken at least a beginning level course in computer-assisted cartography or GIS, and have some exposure and interest in urban studies topics.
Although there are several definitions for GIS, Prof. Nyerges’ working definition of GIS for this course that integrates three perspectives (components, processes, and purpose) is: a combination of hardware, software, data, people, procedures, and institutional arrangements for collecting, storing, manipulating, analyzing, and displaying information about spatially distributed phenomena for the purpose of inventory, decision making and/or problem solving within operations, management, strategic contexts as related to urban-regional issues. Although Prof. Nyerges’ expertise focuses on land use, transportation, and water resource issues, other urban-regional issues are treated based on teaching assistant and student interest through readings and class discussion.
The fundamental learning objectives for students in this course are to:
- Nyerges, T. and Jankowski, P. undated, Geographic Information Systems and Urban-Regional Environments: A Decision Support Approach, textbook in preparation to be published by Guilford Press, chapter readings available through the course web page.
- Selected readings – some available directly through
various web sites as indicated by specific URL, and other readings available
through UW Library electronic reserves (marked in schedule as
- Michael Zeiler, Modeling Our World, ESRI Press, 2000
- ESRI, Getting to Know ArcGIS, ESRI Press, 2004
- Two exams containing short answer essay questions (midterm is 20% of grade; final is 30% of grade = 50% of total grade)
- Six lab assignments plus a final project with presentation (50% of total grade).
Software to be used in Geography’s Sherman Lab in Smith 401: ArcGIS 9.2 running on Windows XP operating system. Software is also available on workstations in the Smith 411 Commons Room and in Smith 415C Geography Collaboratory.