Course Descriptions

CE-ENGIN 470/570 – Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Engineers

Spring 2024
Nick Tooker
Lecture: Mo 9:05AM – 9:55AM
Lab Sections: Tu 4:00PM – 6:45PM, We 2:30PM – 5:30PM
Link to syllabus (Spring 2022)

Introduction to fundamental principles and concepts necessary to carry out meaningful and appropriate geographic analysis with geographic information science (GIS). Reinforcement of key issues in GIS such as geographic coordinate systems, map projections, spatial analysis, use of remotely sensed data, and visualization of spatial data. Laboratory exercises use database query, database manipulation, and spatial analysis to address problems in hydrology, water treatment, renewable energy, and transportation with an emphasis on engineering design. Students will gain familiarity with the leading commercial and open-source GIS platforms.

CE-ENGIN 650 – Unoccupied Aerial Systems (UAS) FAA Remote Pilot Certification Prep

Spring 2023
Feb 14, 2023 – Mar 7, 2023
TuTh 5:30PM – 7:30PM
Free / Online
Link to syllabus (Summer 2022)

Note: This class is not being offered for credit this semester. Instead, it is being offered for free (with no charge to participants) in an online format over a three-week period. To register, complete this form: https://forms.gle/2W9uK3wGxsmWDbbe9.

This course provides students with an understanding of the various topics required by the FAA to obtain Remote Pilot Certification.  At the end of this course, students will be prepared to take their FAA Remote Pilot Written Test.  Students will also have an understanding of current public policy and regulations related to UAS in the United States. The class is being offered in partnership with the UMass Cranberry Station and UMassAir. For more information please contact the instructor, Ryan Wicks, at rwicks[at]umass.edu, or the UMassAir administrator at umassair[at]umass.edu.

CE-ENGIN 651 – Piloting Unoccupied Aerial Vehicles

Fall 2022
Ryan Wicks
TuTh 8:00AM – 10:00AM
Link to syllabus (Summer 2022)

This course is intended to introduce students to the basics of flying and operating unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) multirotor aircraft safely and reliably. This course assumes no prior knowledge of UAVs or prior flying experience. This course is primarily focused on guiding students as they develop practical flying skills, but will also cover basic information on multirotor function, diagnostics, and maintenance. Preflight procedures are a key part of flying safely and will be covered. Most class time will be dedicated to providing flying practice for students. Students will be introduced to principal concerns operating in the United States national airspace, but this course will not comprehensively cover material for the FAA part 107 written test that is required for commercial operation of UAVs.

ECO 602 – Analysis of Environmental Data

Fall 2023
Tammy Wilson
TuTh 11:30AM – 12:45PM

This course provides students with an understanding of basic statistical concepts critical to the proper use and understanding of statistics in ecology and conservation science and prepares students for subsequent ECO courses in ecological modeling. The lecture (required for all ECO Master’s level graduate students) covers foundational concepts in statistical modeling (emphasis is on conceptual underpinnings of statistics not methodology, with a focus on defining statistical models and the major inference paradigms in use today), basic study design concepts (emphasis is on confronting practical issues associated with real-world ecological study designs and statistical modeling), and lays out the ‘landscape’ of statistical methods for ecological modeling; emphasis is on the conceptual underpinnings of statistical modeling instead of methodology, with a focus on defining.

ECO 637 – Spatial Data Analysis in R

Spring 2024
James Tsalah
Mo 5:30PM – 7:00PM
Link to course website (Spring 2022)
Link to syllabus (Spring 2022)

Spatial data provides an extra layer of information that provides an opportunity to gain powerful insights from our data. Analysis of spatial data also poses unique challenges and pitfalls. In this course, students will learn a range of techniques for analyzing data with spatial information, from both a theoretical standpoint as well as implementation of methods in R. Topics covered in the course include descriptive and inferential concepts in that students are likely to encounter in their research including (but not limited to) spatial autocorrelation, clustering, interpolation, and geographically weighted regression.

ECO 638 – Spatial Databases and Data Interoperability

Fall 2023
Alexander Stepanov
ThFr 2:30PM – 3:45PM
Link to syllabus (Fall 2021)

This course will introduce students to the current best practices regarding developing, transforming, managing and sharing geospatial data. This course focuses on exposing students to state-of-the-art approaches in retrieving/querying, aggregating and processing geospatial data from multiple heterogeneous sources/systems and technologies, such as relational databases (RDBMS), spatially-enabled RDBMS, XML-based spatial data, KML, Web-services/APIs, JSON/GeoJSON, CAD, BIM/IFC, and file-based databases (SQLite and GeoPackage).

ECO 640 – Python for ArcGIS

Spring 2024
Alexander Stepanov
TuTh 1:00PM – 2:15PM
Link to syllabus (Spring 2022)
Link to syllabus (Fall 2021)

This course will cover several programming methods and applications in GIS. Beginning in the (familiar) ArcGIS environment, this course will explore fundamentals of programming in Python while learning the Model Builder interface. By exploring basic automation methods of repetitive or complex tasks, this course will also introduce the foundations of computer science and computational thinking. While gaining proficiency in Model Builder, this course will expand to other python scripting applications, both within ArcGIS and on other platforms. By exploring many applications of programming to advance GIS analysis and improve workflows, students will build a strong base of knowledge and capacity for future learning and flexibility with programming in GIS.

Enrollment Requirements: Prerequisite: NRC 585 or instructor’s permission.

ECO 652 – Safety Management for Unoccupied Aerial Systems

Spring 2024
David Price
TuTh 4:00PM – 5:30PM
Online
Link to syllabus (Fall 2022)

This course is for students interested in becoming a professional Unoccupied Aerial Systems (UAS) Pilot and has an appreciation of the risk involved with flying drones in various types of airspace. It is one of four courses related to a UAS Piloting Graduate Certificate Program.  This course covers topic areas such as: (1) The basic features of a Safety Management System for UAS Pilots and their organization; (2) Human factors for UAS Pilots; and (3) elements of Risk Management for UAS Pilots. This will teach students how to plan UAS operations and operate missions to ensure complete safety for everyone involved.

Enrollment Requirements: Synchronous virtual attendance is required. Class meetings will be recorded and made available to students in the event of an excused absence.

ECO 653 –  Applications in Unoccupied Aerial Systems

Spring 2024
Ryan Wicks
TuTh 2:30PM – 3:45PM
Link to syllabus (Spring 2023)

This Unoccupied Aerial Systems (UAS) capstone course will provide the essential aeronautical, business, legal knowledge and skills to achieve a successful foundation in UAS industry. Students that complete this application course will be prepared for successful careers as Remote Pilots in Command (PICs), observers, payload operators, and/or operational managers of governmental and private sector UAS applications.  This course will incorporate educational objectives that were gained in the prior courses of the UAS Certificate program with that knowledge being effectively demonstrated in this course. Students will gain additional experience in UAS Technology, Mission Planning, Execution and Evaluation. More specifically, each student will be responsible for identifying a project or application for which UAS data collection would be appropriate, and to subsequently plan and execute the flight in a professional manner to collect the necessary data.

Enrollment RequirementsEnrollment Requirements: Open to MS-Geography students with a GIST concentration. Undergraduates who wish to enroll should contact the professor to process an override.

GEOGRAPH 352/592M – Computer Mapping

Spring 2024
Ayodele O’Uhuru
Section 1: TuTh 1:00PM – 2:15PM
Section 2: MoFr 1:00PM – 2:15PM
Link to syllabus (Spring 2022)

This course provides introductory exposure to the basic cartography skills used for digital map making, primarily using ArcGIS Pro and Adobe Illustrator to map physical environments as well as 3D scenes. Course learning goals include a fundamental understanding of map composure, as well as map elements such as north arrows, scale bars, and legends. General best practices for data management such as zipping and unzipping file archives and geodatabases will also be covered. By the end of term, students will have an Introductory level understanding of mapping concepts and practices deployed through use of ESRI’s mapping software as well as Adobe AI for graphic design within maps or elsewhere.

GEOGRAPH 426/626 – Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation

Fall 2023
Qian Yu
Lecture: TuTh 1:00PM – 2:15PM
Lab: Tu 2:30PM – 4:30PM
Link to course website (Fall 2021)
Link to syllabus (Fall 2021)

This course introduces the principles of digital image analysis for interpreting remotely sensed data for environmental, resource and urban studies. Emphasis will be given to the processing and information extraction from optical and thermal imagery.

GEOGRAPH 468/668 – GIS and Spatial Analysis

Spring 2024
Qian Yu
TuTh 10:00AM – 11:15AM
Link to course website
Link to syllabus (Spring 2022)

This is an upper level GIS course for students to obtain intermediate to advanced GIS skills to solve science and application problems. Extended from Introductory GIS, the course focuses on vector- and raster-based GIS techniques and spatial analysis. In addition, we will introduce the spatial statistics and geostatistical principles and tools. We will have the opportunities to work with model builder, which is a useful tool for creating your own models. Upon the completion of this course, students are expected to be able to:

  • Conduct geospatial analysis (vector and raster)
  • Design and create models with model builder
  • Understand and use common spatial statistics tools
  • Interpret and evaluate the outcomes of GIS analysis in wider research contexts
  • Improve writing and presenting skills for describing technical specifications

Enrollment Requirements: Prerequisite: NRC 585 or GEOGRAPH 585.

GEOGRAPH 491P/691P – GIS Programming

Fall 2022
Seda Şalap-Ayça
TuTh 11:30 AM – 12:45 PM
Multimodal
Link to syllabus (Fall 2021)

This course will cover a number of programming methods and applications in GIS. Students are going to begin with getting familiar with the ArcGIS environment and continue to explore fundamentals of programming in Python while learning the Model Builder interface. Students will explore basic automation methods of repetitive or complex tasks, this course will also introduce foundations of computer science and computational thinking. After gaining proficiency in Model Builder, this course will expand to other python scripting applications, both within ArcGIS and in other platforms. By exploring many applications of programming to advance GIS analysis and improve workflows, students will build a strong base of knowledge and capacity for future learning and flexibility with programming in GIS.

Course readings, lectures, discussions, in-class activities, and assignments are designed to help you to:

  • Learn the fundamentals of computer programming.
  • Consider how GIS applications interface with programming functions.
  • Practice writing scripts in many forms.
  • Examine and practice foundations of computational thinking; and
  • Create novel GIS programming solutions through independent skill building

GEOGRAPH 493A/693A – Cartography and Geovisualization

Fall 2022
Seda Şalap-Ayça
TuTh 8:30AM – 9:45AM
Multimodal

Summer 2022
UWW Summer Session 1
Seda Şalap-Ayça
TBD
Online
Link to syllabus (Fall 2021)

In this course, students will identify the principles of good design in cartography along with recognizing the human vision and how it influences perception and cognition. The course will also cover the scope of contemporary thematic cartography and web mapping. Throughout the semester, students will demonstrate hands-on experience in designing and improving web-based maps.

Course readings, lectures, discussions, in-class activities, and assignments are designed to help students to:

  • apply the fundamentals of cartography for designing better maps
  • practice GIS tools to improve the visual quality of cartographic products
  • practice various map types through independent design and exploration

Enrollment requirements: This is a multimodal course, and meets with the following sections: University, UWW, and Mt. Ida. The University sections will be held at the Amherst campus remote synchronously, at Mt. Ida face-to-face. The UWW section will be fully asynchronous with options for synchronous interactions for interested students. Please contact your Advisor for more info. UWW class; $60/term reg. fee + $495/credit. Refunds differ from Univ. day classes; see www.umass.edu/uww/resources/refund-policy. This class is fully asynchronous with options for synchronous interactions.

GEOGRAPH 493S/693S / DACSS 693S – Spatial Decision Making and Support

Spring 2023
Seda Şalap-Ayça
TuTh 10:00AM – 11:15AM
Link to syllabus (Spring 2022)

Seeing interactive and intelligent maps around and wondering how those can be integrated in your decision-making process? Interested in learning Python to solve spatial decision-making problems? What about spatial uncertainty and showing it to establish the confidence in your results? By delving into Python scripting first, and then constructing the decision-making fundamentals, this course will help you to learn anything you wonder about spatial decision making!

This course is aimed at students who have a foundation in basic GIS techniques and applications and are interested in expanding their knowledge into the area of spatial decision making and visualization of the decision maps. We will start with the linkage between GIScience, spatial analysis, and decision support. We will then discuss different decision-making techniques and highlight the important distinction between conventional MCDA methods and spatially explicitly multicriteria approaches. An overview of handling spatial uncertainty as well as sensitivity analysis will be discussed. The course will also introduce Python scripting for geoprocessing as a flexible approach for the development of spatial decision-making models.

GEOGRAPH 493W/693W / NRC 588 – WebGIS

Spring 2024
Forrest Bowlick
TuTh 4:00AM – 5:15PM
Link to syllabus (Spring 2022)
Link to syllabus (Spring 2021)

Students in WebGIS will explore web-based applications in geographic information science. This course will focus on hands-on practice using and building web-based mapping and analysis platforms, including Google Maps, ArcGIS Online, Leaflet, and Open Street Map. Along with conceptual discussion of how the internet, web servers, and cloud-based GIS services function, students will create and host web services relevant to their coursework, research, or professional goals.

GEOGRAPH 497A/697A / DACSS 697A – Geocomputation

Spring 2023
Seda Şalap-Ayça
TuTh 1:00PM – 2:15PM
Link to syllabus (Spring 2021)

Automated geography helps us to understand the complex geographic phenomena that are intractable to solve by conventional techniques. This class focuses on opportunities for taking a computational approach to the solution of complex spatial problems, often non-deterministic. Through introductory lab practices and foundational lectures, the course covers various computer-based models and techniques applicable to spatial science, including expert systems, cellular automata, agent-based modeling, genetic algorithms, visualization, and data mining. The goals of this course are to teach basic geocomputation concepts through theory and practice to enable students to better use of the vast spatial data, exploit the value of this information resources and expand the spatial information towards analysis and modeling. Students are expected to design and implement a project which will enable them to practice the skills that they acquired during the course.

Enrollment requirements: This class is fully asynchronous with options for synchronous interactions.

NRC 585 – Introduction to GIS

Spring 2024
Bethany Bradley
Lecture: Th 11:30AM – 12:45PM
Lab Sections: Th 2:30PM – 5:30PM, Fr 10:10AM – 1:10PM, Fr 1:25PM – 4:25PM
Link to syllabus (Summer 2023)
Link to syllabus (Spring 2022)
Link to syllabus (Fall 2021)

This class serves as an introduction to Geographic Information Science (GIS). GIS is the science of spatial relationships, linking data to locations to explore relations between objects. Based in geographic thought and emerging from initial applications in natural resource management, GIS has evolved to be a universally applicable way of thinking and set of knowledge, skills, and practices. The goals of this course are to teach you basic GIS concepts through practice and theory, to enable you to make useful and meaningful contributions to various disciplines through spatial analysis. Throughout this course, you will be challenged to not only think spatially, but apply spatial analysis techniques within GIS.

NRC 597GP – GIS Problem Solving

Spring 2021
Bethany Bradley
We 9:00AM – 12:00PM
Fully remote class
Link to syllabus (Spring 2021)

This course aims to advance your GIS problem solving skills through a deeper exploration of tools for spatial analysis and visualization. The course is project-based, so if you enjoyed the final project in Intro GIS, you’ll find a similar experience here. You will gain more proficiency with GIS and hone your skills in cartography.

Enrollment Requirements: Prerequisite: NRC 585 or GEOGRAPH 593G. Additional fees are associated with this section.

REGIONPL 625 – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems for Planning

Spring 2024
Peter Dunn
MoWe 2:30PM – 3:45PM
Link to syllabus (Spring 2021)

This is an introductory, graduate-level course in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in urban and regional planning.

The primary objectives of this course are for students to develop competency in the use of GIS software and in applying this technology to address problems typical to the practice of planning. Specific objectives include:

  • understanding the functions and capabilities of a GIS software (ArcGIS Pro);
  • obtaining, evaluating, and creating spatially referenced data;
  • understanding the basic principles of map design and the effective presentation and communication of spatial data;
  • understanding GIS terminology and core principles of Geographic Information Science (GIScience); and
  • integrating GIS-based spatial analytical tools with complimentary methods of Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA) and spatial methods of quantitative data analysis.

REGIONPL 673 – Spatial Analysis and Regional Development

Fall 2023
Henry Renski
MoWe 2:30PM – 3:45PM

This course is a hands-on study in regional and local economic, demographic and spatial analysis methods commonly used by planners and economic development policy analysts.

Classes

ARHA-232 / ARCH 232 – Cartographic Cultures

Spring 2023
Dwight Carey
TuTh 3:00PM – 4:20PM

This course traces the history of modern cartography from the integration of indigenous map-making techniques into colonial Latin American land surveys in the sixteenth century to the use of GIS software by militaries and corporations to create detailed images of foreign and domestic territories in the twenty-first century. Along the way, we will question the political and economic impetus that drove governments, militaries, municipalities, and private entities to create renderings of the land on which we live. We will also investigate the technological history of map-making as we consider the extent to which innovations in modern science have influenced the production of maps. This course will challenge the presumption that maps are factual portrayals of physical space. It will also question how divergent forms of culturally based knowledge as well as economic constraints and corporate rivalries have historically influenced map-making and subsequently shaped our understanding of territories near and far. We will think through these issues while investigating a number of major topics in the history of modern cartography: map-making and indigenous expertise in the Americas prior to and during European intervention; colonial cartography in the Americas, Asia, and Africa; the explosion of the map-making industry in eighteenth and nineteenth-century England and France; the mapping of oceans and other remote landscapes during this time; the twentieth-century genre of pictorial maps in the United States; cartography and modern warfare; and artists’ responses to these histories. Through written assignments and a final creative project, students will build their writing and research skills while gaining knowledge of the methods that scholars employ when reading a wide variety of maps. Moreover, in approaching contemporary debates in the field of cartography, this course will introduce students to landscape studies.

ECON 429 – Geospatial Analysis in Development Economics

Spring 2024
Mesay Melese Gebresilasse
MoWe 2:30PM – 3:50PM

In this course, we will explore key development topics with a focus on research papers that use geospatial analysis to answer fundamental questions related to economic development. Geospatial analysis has been applied in economic research to examine an array of factors that shape economic development including roads, internet access, trade links, institutions, slavery, climate change, and inequality. We will carefully read a selection of journal articles that employ geospatial analysis, paying close attention both to the important economic insights as well as the econometric and geospatial methodologies employed in the articles. The course will begin with an introduction of the main types of datasets, tools and techniques employed in geospatial analysis using R programming language. In addition to carefully studying and discussing selected research papers that apply geospatial analysis, students will also replicate some of the analyses presented in these papers. Overall, the course aims to familiarize students with the application of geospatial analysis in cutting-edge economic research and enable them to develop an original research project that makes use of the tools and techniques explored in the course.

GEOL 253 / ENST 253 – Principles of Geospatial Inquiry

Fall 2023
Michelle Fame
Lecture: Tu 10:00AM – 11:20AM
Discussion: Fr 8:30AM – 9:50AM
Lab Sections: Th 8:20AM – 11:20AM, Th 1:00PM – 4:00PM

Geospatial inquiry is an iterative creative process that involves asking, answering, and communicating the results of questions using data linked to geographic locations. The anticipated results of this process are thoughtfully assembled maps and geographic datasets that serve as accessible, persuasive, and even beautiful means of conveying large amounts of complex information. Geospatial thinking is a critical skill for pursuing a systems-based perspective on our rapidly changing and interconnected world.This course is a hands-on introduction to geospatial inquiry using geographic information systems (GIS) software applied to a variety of intersecting topics in environmental studies, natural science, and the humanities. Technical topics include geospatial data acquisition and database management, coordinate systems and projections, creation and manipulation of raster and vector datasets, data digitization, incorporation of field data into GIS, use of lidar, aerial imagery, and other remote sensing tools, and the production of professional-quality final maps.While there is a lecture component in the course, students will mainly be engaged in active learning in the form of skills tutorials, reflection and discussion assignments, independent and peer troubleshooting, and question-driven projects.

Classes

GEOG 205 – Mapping and Spatial Analysis

Fall 2023
Thomas Millette
TuTh 9:00AM – 10:15AM

Provides a comprehensive introduction to maps, including their design, compilation, and computer production. Introduces students to the principles of abstracting the Earth’s surface into spatial databases using GIS, remote sensing, and Global Positioning Satellites.

GEOG 210 – GIS for the Social Sciences and Humanities

Spring 2024
Eugenio Marcano
MoWe 11:30AM – 12:45PM

This course introduces the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other geospatial technologies in the social sciences and the humanities. The student will learn to collect, process, and analyze quantitative data within the spatial (geographic) context where they occur. Course content may include research topics from current faculty.

GEOG 312QM – Queer Mapping

Spring 2023
Jack Gieseking, Michelle Markley
W 7:15PM – 10:05PM

The ability for LGBTQ+ people to claim, develop, and sustain spaces has been a highly contentious process. Due to shifts in political ideologies, cultural mores, and communications, media, and technology, the ability to record the existence of LGBTQ+ places has grown-but only in certain locations for certain groups, especially in the US. Reading from queer, feminist, and trans geographic theory and methods, how can we make use of mapping techniques to render LGBTQ+ publics? What are the ethical concerns of LGBTQ+ mapping projects? Drawing on basic GIS techniques to create our own queer maps, how may we theorize the present and future of queer and trans public and private space?

Enrollment Requirements: This course is open to juniors and seniors; Prereq: 4 credits in a related 200-level social science course.
Classes

GEO 150 / ENV 150 – Modeling Our World: Introduction to GIS

Fall 2023
Heather Rosenfeld
Tu 1:20PM – 2:35PM, Th 1:20PM – 4:00PM

A geographic information system (GIS) enables data and maps to be overlain, queried and visualized in order to solve problems in many diverse fields. This course provides an introduction to the fundamental elements of GIS and applies the analysis of spatial data to issues in geoscience, environmental science and public policy. Students gain expertise in ArcGIS — the industry standard GIS software — and online mapping platforms, and carry out semester-long projects in partnership with local conservation organizations and/or campus offices. Enrollment limited to 20.

GEO 251 – Geomorphology

Spring 2023
Greg de Wet
Lecture: MoWe 10:50AM – 12:05PM
Lab: Mo 1:40PM – 4:20PM

The study of landforms and their significance in terms of the processes that form them. Selected reference is made to examples in the New England region and the classic landforms of the world. During the first part of the semester laboratories involve learning to use geographic information system (GIS) software to analyze landforms. During the second part of the semester laboratories include field trips to examine landforms in the local area. 

Enrollment Requirements: Prerequisite: 101, or 102, or 108 or FYS 103.

Last Updated on January 18, 2024