GY455-455G Organization and Management of Spatial Systems

course code: 13320 001 (undergraduate) and 13321 002 (graduate) WWW Fall 2016

Instructor: Dr. Miriam Helen Hill
Office: 205 Martin Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; by appointment in BLackboard IM, by e-mail, by AOL IM, or by appointment
E-mail addresses: that will go to
Telephone: (256) 782-8063, USE e-mail

Catalog Description: Organization and Management of Spatial Systems (3). PREREQUISITE: SAM 510, GY307, or experience with ArcGIS 9.x or 10x. Fundamentals of GIS implementation and GIS management. Considerations in designing organization-wide GIS and the management of both special projects and organization-wide use of GIS.

Course Rationale: This course is a required course for the graduate Spatial Analysis and Management concentration or graduate certificate in GIS. Undergraduates may, also, take the course.

Course Objective: To provide instruction and lab experiences in the use of geographic information systems at the graduate and undergraduate level, particularly for those students pursuing a Certificate in GIS or a masters degree in Public Administration or Liberal Studies. The ultimate goal is to help you to build the knowledge base that will enable you to get a good job doing GIS.

Learning Outcomes: Upon successful completion of this course the student will be able to:

Course Requirements: Each student is expected to:


Course Software: ArcGIS 10.x from ESRI (student license is available from the professor)

MS Office 2007 or 2010 is required. If you have not discovered the reference capabilities of this software, you need to do so. File exchanges will be in .pptx and .docx formats using Turabian format as defined by Microsoft.

Other resources and prerequisites: Access to computers capable of running the software and with access to the World Wide Web is required as is a high speed internet connection. See

Note: All materials presented in this class are done so with educational goals in mind and are not intended to cause distress of any nature. Please be aware that controversial materials, theories, exhibits, etc. will be presented in this class. If you are unwilling or unable to view these presentations in the educational light in which they are presented, then you need to reconsider your enrollment in this class.

Class homepage: The class homepage will be at and linked to Dr. Hill's homepage at This syllabus will also be linked to the class homepage. The course is found on the JSU Blackboard website at Should these websites become inactive while JSU is on-line, replace the part of the URL with to reach the mirrored backup website.

Mandatory Assignments: Three mandatory assignments are posted, the pre-test, the post-test, and the LO quiz. Failure to complete these assignments will result in grade reduction.

Grading: Two activities will count 10% each, the terminology activity will count 5%, a proposal report will count 10%, three exams will count 15% each, and the final report will count 20%. Graduate student must successfully complete the ESRI Virtual Campus course. Guaranteed percentage grades will be: above 90% A; 80-90% B; 70-80% C; below 70% F. Late submissions may be refused or receive point penalties. Bonus points may be awarded for exceptional work. Completion of the Pretest and the Posttest is required.

Due Dates: Although a schedule is provided, all work may be completed and submitted before these deadlines. Late work may be refused, assignments made unavailable, or grades penalized. Inadequately completed work may be rejected for resubmission. As advanced undergraduate or graduate students, you are expected to be responsible for completion of assignments in a timely manner. work ahead and do not submit late assignments.

Reading Assignments: Read the textbooks. A tentative schedule is provided; however, reading ahead of this schedule. It is your responsibility to complete the assignments before the due dates.

Activities: Two activities are assigned. These concern web mapping and database design. Deadlines for this work are indicated in the tentative schedule; however, work may be submitted early.

Terminology Review: A large number of acronyms and definitions are integral to the course content. A fill-in-the-blank quiz format will be used to demonstrate competency with these terms. The quiz may be repeated, and the highest score will be used.

Reports: Two reports will be written. These will be the GIS Shop Proposal and the Final Essay Report. The Final Essay Report is comprehensive in nature and will be available for consideration and preparation throughout the term. Reports are to be submitted in .docx format using the full reference capabilities of Word 2007-2010. Complete documentation of sources is required and failure to adequately document work is subject to grade reduction or refusal.

Citation of Sources: All sources for all assignments and posts must be properly credited. Work containing copyright violation or plagiarism will be rejected. Use Turabian format AS DEFINED by Microsoft Word 2007-2010 for the documentation format. Entering the requested information correctly into the software with the Turabian setting will automatically generate the correctly formated information. Emphasis will be on entering the required information as indicated by MS Word 2007-2010.

Exams: Three exams will cover the course content. Questions will include a variety of question types including multiple choice, short answer, computation, essay, and mapping. Exams will have several parts. Some parts will be timed, and time overruns will be penalized. The multiple choice part of the exams will not be comprehensive; however, individual questions may be. Information content builds through the course. All use of GIS relies on cumulative knowledge. Completion of the Pretest and the Posttest are required.

Be sure to check Tools/My Grade to make sure that scores are officially recorded. Blackboard reports all time overruns and crashes as either ! or icons. These scores may remain visible in the student's gradebook even after more work has been successfully completed when multiple attempts are allowed. To view subsequent scores, click on the icon. The professor's gradebook shows the highest score achieved even though the student must look further into the grading system to see the record. This is the way Blackboard functions and is not an issue about the system. After submitting work, check for the successful entry into your gradebook hierarchy through Tools. When submitting work, allow for transmission time!

Additional Graduate Student Requirement: Graduate credit requires the completion of the designated course on the ESRI Virtual Campus. A course access code will be provided to enable enrollment in the course without payment to ESRI. The first module may be completed for free. Although passing the course without completing the work is possible, as a graduate student, you are expected to complete the exercises to gain the experience and to add the results to your portfolio. Submission of your ESRI transcript will be required to document course completion. Work through the course at your own pace, but complete it before the deadline.

Portfolio: Your work from this course should be retained in your professional portfolio. It will not, however, be submitted for evaluation as such.

Class Membership: You are a member of a class, and Blackboard provided facilities through which to interact. Class members are expected to ask and answer questions, be involved in activities, and to facilitate an educational academic atmosphere. Proper attitude and behavior are expected. At all times your interactions should facilitate a smooth flow of intellectual ideas, knowledge, and intelligent discussion. Failure to contribute or promote this important goal will risk grade penalties.

Answers and grading will usually be succinct and to the point. No value judgment of you, your personality, or your intelligence is intended. Feedback is provided so that you can learn from your mistakes and improve the work that you are doing. The focus will center on what you can improve, and it is up to you not to lose sight of the accomplishments and progress that you are making. Do not get discouraged, but you must work continually to improve your work. GIS is complex and multifaceted, and your work will contain far more things done correctly than the few things highlighted for improvement.

Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty is defined to include any form of cheating or plagiarism. A discussion of the topic is set forth in the student handbook. Working and studying with classmates are beneficial and to be encouraged. Copying work is not to be confused with comparing work and discussing similarities and differences. You are responsible for both understanding answers submitted and the completion of the materials. The material in this course is important not just for your grade but also for your future profession. All of the work is open book.

Notice: This syllabus is in no way binding. All information is subject to change. Any changes made by the instructor will be announced to the class through emails or posting to the Announcements area.

Questions or problems:: Please contact the professor. Asking questions is an extremely important part of the learning process. Be specifice. Incomplete information and vague questions only expand the time it will take for you to get an adequate response. Expect that I will ask you questions to ascertain what you understand so I can begin the answer from that point.

Making Contact: When e-mailing the professor, provide detailed information. Identify yourself, the course, the level, and the specific assignment. This will facilitate a more rapid and accurate response.

Disabilities: According to Public Law 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, Jacksonville State University will provide reasonable access and appropriate accommodations for otherwise qualified disabled students. If you need such access or accommodations, please consult with Disability Support Services and your professor immediately. Where extended testing sessions are allocated, Blackboard continues to function after the original time settings are reached, and the scores and actual times used are reported. By clicking on the ! or grade, both student and faculty can view these reports and verify completion within the appropriate time limits.

Class Schedule: Use the outline provided to complete the assigned reading BEFORE the designated dates. By all means work ahead! The deadlines for submissions are shown. Point penalties will be incurred for late work.


Date* WEEK Readings Assignment Due
August 23-29 1 pretest
1 Beyond Maps part 1
August 29-September 5 2 part 2
September 6-12 3 part 3 Web mapping activity
September 13-19 4 EXAM 1
September 20-26 5 Thinking about GIS preface-chp. 6
September 27-October 3
6 chp. 7-10
October 4-10 7 chp. 11-Appendices
October 11-17 8 EXAM 2
October 18 9 GIS shop proposal
October 18-24 9 Design and Implementation chp. 1-4
October 25-31 10 chp. 5-8
November 1-7 11 chp. 9-10 Database design activity
November 8-14 12 EXAM 3
November 15-28 13 Terminology Review
Graduates: ESRI transcript
November 29-December 5 14 Final Essay Exam post tests

*Any major changes to this schedule will be announced by e-mail or the announcements option in Blackboard. Grades will be posted in Blackboard. Be sure to check your grade postings there for official grade records. All grades are final at 11:55 p.m. Central Time (time in Jacksonville) on December 6, 2016.