Summer 2019 - GEOG 255 D100

Geographical Information Science I (3)

Class Number: 1445

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    AQ 3153, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Shivanand Balram
    1 778 782-2003
    Office: RCB 6143
  • Prerequisites:

    GEOG 100 or 111 or permission of instructor.



A basic overview of Geographical Information Systems and Science; GIS software, hardware, data structures and models; spatial data, operations and algorithms; practical applications and limitations. Students with credit for GEOG 354 may not take this course for further credit. Quantitative.


Geographic information systems (GIS) and science (GIScience) addresses important issues about the collection, description, mapping, visualization, and analysis of geographically referenced data. This course will introduce students to the technical differences between GIS and GIScience, the tools and methods that enable their effective use, and an introduction to using spatial data management and analysis software. The course also contributes to the development of practical skills that will be of immense value in workplace settings that deal with environmental and resources management, urban planning, crime analysis, and government socio-spatial services among others.

Students with credit for GEOG 354 may not take this course for further credit. Basic proficiency in using computers with the Windows operating system is assumed.

Course Organization:
This is an intersession course so the lecture sessions will be 4 hours (2 hrs x 2 days) per week for 7 weeks. Each lecture will provide engaging insights into the concepts and methods related to GIS and GIScience. The textbook readings will enhance and extend understanding of the materials presented in the class lectures. A guided individual or group final project will develop competence in linking technical and problem-solving skills.

This is an intersession course so the lab sessions will be 4 hours (2 hrs x 2 days) per week for 7 weeks. The lab assignments provide practical experience in GIS/GIScience and links to further study in spatial information science (SIS). Industry standard software is used for the analysis. The software is available for your use in the SIS lab (Win10 networked). The emphasis will be on the mapping, transformation, and analysis of vector spatial data.

Lectures, Labs and Office Hours begin in the week of 6th May 2019.

This course may be applied towards the SIS Certificate Program or the Certificate in Liberal Arts.
The contents are subject to minor changes depending on the number of students and available resources.


On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:
- Understand the special advantages of geographic data and information
- Explain, critically evaluate and practically apply GIS and GIScience concepts
- Demonstrate competence in using software tools for GIS-based analysis
- Creatively design and implement GIS analysis projects for real-world problem-solving


  • Participation 3%
  • Assignments 42%
  • Mini-Project 20%
  • Final Exam 35%



Required Texts (For the lab practical work - you need a copy for use during the weekly computer lab sessions):
- Law, M. and Collins, A. (2018). Getting to Know ArcGIS for Desktop. 5th Ed. ISBN: 9781589485105.


Recommended Texts (For the lecture readings - two copies will be on 4-hr loan in the Bennett library):
- Heywood, I., et al. (2011). An Introduction to Geographical Information Systems. ISBN: 9780273722595.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.