38/42:286 GIS I: Principles of Spatial Data and Cartographic Design

Principles of Spatial Data and Cartographic Design

Instructor: Lecture, Dr. Dion J. Wiseman
Office: Brodie Room 4-07
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 11:00 am – 12:00 pm; or by Appointment
Phone: 727-9774
Email: wiseman@brandonu.ca

Course Resources

Required Text: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, 9th ed. 2019, Chang.
Optional Text: Cartography: Thematic Map Design, 6th ed. 2009, Dent, et al.
Notes: Both texts will also be used for 38/42:376, GIS II: Spatial Data Management and Analysis. Copies of both texts will be available on reserve in the main library.

Course Description

This course is designed as an introductory level GIS course for students who plan to work with and create maps using GPS or other geospatial data in their chosen field of study or future careers. The objectives are to provide you with a solid theoretical and applied background in the types and characteristics of geospatial data with an emphasis on the principles of cartographic design required to produce a technically correct and aesthetically pleasing map. The laboratory component of the course will provide students with practical experience in the use of ArcGIS software and will focus on procedures for creating and importing geospatial data, and the application of cartographic techniques used to select, classify, and symbolize those data to produce professional map products.

This course will provide you with the fundamental knowledge and skills required to work with and map geospatial, and sufficient background to build your GIS skill set through individual study. The objectives of the next course, 38/42:386 GIS II, are to provide you with the background necessary to build and manage geospatial databases and conduct relevant geospatial analysis. That course is intended for students who are either pursuing a career as a GIS technician or for those who will be expected to work with geospatial data and GIS in their future careers.

Grading Scheme

Midterm 20-30%* > 90% A+ 70 – 72% B-
Final 20-30%* 85 – 89% A 67 – 69% C+
Lab Assignments 25% 80 – 84% A- 63 – 66% C
Lab Quiz 1 10% 77 – 79% B+ 60 – 62% C-
Lab Quiz 2 15% 73 – 76% B  50 – 59% D
Total 100% * var. wght. < 50% F

Tentative Course Outline

1. Introduction

  • What is a GIS and what is geospatial data?
  • Cartography and Types of Maps
  • GIS vs. Maps
  • GISystems vs GIScience and Geomatics
  • Historical Roots and Keeping the G in GIS

2. Map Basics and Spatial Data

  • What is a Map? Types of Maps
  • Map Scale and Its Effects
  • Cartographic Abstraction & Generalization
  • Spatial Ontologies
  • Representing Spatial Data in a GIS

3. Fundamentals of GNSS

  • What is a GNSS?
  • Space, Control, and User Segment
  • How does it Work?
  • Sources of Error
  • Differential Correction and Other Augmentations

4. Geodesy and Map Projections

  • Geodesy: Ellipsoids and Datums
  • Map Projections Described
  • Types of Distortion and Errors

5. Raster and Vector Data Models

  • Continuous vs. Discretely Distributed Data
  • Topology and Why It’s Important
  • All About Raster Data Models
  • All About Vector Data Models
  • Raster – Vector Conversion

RESCHEDULED Midterm Exam TO Thursday, NOVEMBER 4th

6. Cartographic Design

  • Design Considerations
  • Visual Hierarchy and Organization
  • Essential Map Elements
  • Primary and Secondary Visual Variables
  • Labeling Guidelines

7. Choropleth Mapping

  • What is a Choropleth Map? Types
  • Spatial /Aspatial Data Requirements
  • When is it Used? Advantages/Disadvantages
  • Data Classification Schemes
  • Legend Design
  • Appropriate Projections

8. Dot Density Mapping

  • What is a Dot Density Map? Types
  • Spatial /Aspatial Data Requirements
  • When is it Used? Advantages/Disadvantages
  • Dot Value, Size, Placement,
  • Legend Design
  • Appropriate Projections

9. Proportional Symbol Mapping

  • What is a Proportional Symbol Map?
  • Spatial /Aspatial Data Requirements
  • When is it used? Advantages/Disadvantages
  • Symbol Size and Range Graded Symbols
  • Multivariate Symbols and Symbol Overload
  • Legend Design
  • Appropriate Projections

10. Other Thematic Mapping Techniques

  • What are they? Variations/Types
  • Spatial and Aspatial Data Requirements
  • When are they used?

Final Exam, December 20th, 2-5 PM

Tentative Laboratory Schedule

Dates (2021) TOPIC
Sept 9/10 NO LAB (First week of classes)
Sept 16/17 Intro to the Geomatics Lab & Getting Started with ArcGIS Pro
Sept 23/24 Importing/Downloading and Mapping GPS Data (Garmin GPS) & Map Layouts
Sept 30/Oct 1 NO LAB this week (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation; BU closed on Sept 30th)
Oct 7/8 Importing and Georeferencing Satellite Imagery and Aerial Photography
Oct 14/15 Importing and Using Online Data: Geospatial Data Portals
Oct 21/22 Lab Quiz 1: Getting Data Into a GIS
Oct 28/29 Importing & Using Tabular Data  (Statistics Canada Data)
Nov 4/5 Mapping Discrete Geographic Areas – Choropleth Mapping
Nov 11/12 NO LAB (Fall Study Break)
Nov 18/19 Mapping Discrete Point Phenomena – Dot Density Mapping
Nov 25/26 Mapping Values at Point Locations – Proportional Symbol Mapping
Dec 2/3 Lab Quiz 2: Techniques for Mapping Data in a GIS (final lab period)

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