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Courses at Penn

GIS courses tend to be offered by City & Regional Planning or Landscape Architecture. Some courses with GIS content previously offered at Penn are listed below.


URBS 330 (URBS530): GIS Applications in Social Science.
"This course will introduce students to the principles behind Geographic Information Science and applications of (GIS) in the social sciences. Examples of GIS applications in social services, public health, criminology, real estate, environmental justice, education, history, and urban studies will be used to illustrate how GIS integrates, displays, and facilitates analysis of spatial data through maps and descriptive statistics. Students will learn to create data sets through primary and secondary data collection, map their own data, and create maps to answer research questions. The course will consist of a combination of lecture and lab."


CPLN 503: Modeling Geographical Objects
"This course offers a broad and practical introduction to the acquisition, storage, retrieval, maintenance, use, and presentation of digital cartographic data with vector-oriented (i.e. drawing-based) geographic information systems (GIS) for a variety of environmental science, planning, and management applications. Previous experience in GIS is not required."

CPLN 632: Modeling Geographic Space
"The major objective of this course is to explore the nature and use of image-based (as opposed to drawing-based) geographic information systems (GIS) for the analysis and synthesis of spatial patterns and processes. This course is open to all. Previous experience in GIS is not required."

CPLN 680: Advanced Topics in GIS
"The primary objective of this course is to equip students with a selected set of sophisticated and specialized tools for the practical use of geographic information systems in a variety of application settings. Participants will have the opportunity to focus on particular topics in each of four major areas including: data acquisition - e.g. remote sensing, LiDAR imagery, global positioning systems, mobile GIS, applied geocoding, geodatabases, ArcSketch, and/or CAD interaction; communication - e.g. web mapping, animation, and/or professional cartographic techniques; problem solving - e.g. cartographic pattern recognition, geospatial allocation, agent-based modeling, geostatistics, network analysis, and/or spatio-temporal simulation; and tool building - e.g. Python scripting, GoogleMap mashups, and/or open source GIS. The course is conducted in a seminar format with weekly sessions devoted to lectures, demonstrations, and discussions conducted by the instructor, studentsand invited guests. Offered in the spring annually."

LARP 743: Cartographic Modeling Seminar
"The primary objective of this course is to equip students with a selected set of sophisticated and specialized tools for the practical use of geographic information systems (GIS) in a variety of application settings. The course is open to any student with experience equivalent to that of an entry-level class on GIS."

ESE 502: Introduction to Spatial Analysis
"The course is designed to introduce students to modern statistical methods for analyzing spatial data. These methods include nearest-neighbor analyses of spatial point patterns, variogram and kriging analyses of continuous spatial data, and autoregression analyses of area data. The underlying statistical theory of each method is developed and illustrated in terms of selected GIS applications. Students are also given some experience with ARCMAP, JMPIN, and MATLAB software."

SWRK 730: Community Mapping
"This macro practice elective course is intended to teach graduate social work students how to use mapping as a tool for understanding, organizing, and serving communities. Students will learn how to use quantitative data and geographic information systems (GIS) within a conceptual framework focused on how the environment influences individual and group outcomes. Building on the content of the advanced macro practice curricula (SWRK708 and SWRK718), this class will use readings, discussions, and assignments to teach students how mapping can be used to assess needs and assets, develop, implement and evaluate programs,and build community."

PUBH 517: Epidemiologic Study of Geography and Health.
"Geography and physical and social environments have profound effects on public health. Through this class, students will gain a conceptual understanding of: (1) how geography and health are related; (2) how the public health toolbox, including geographic information systems (GIS), can be used to study the places people live, work, and play and how these places either add to or detract from their health.  This class will combine lectures and discussions of readings, presentations demonstrating how geographic methods can be used to address public health issues, and hands-on computer or small group activities. Students will learn based on a multidisciplinary framework that stresses the connections between various fields including public health, epidemiology, medicine, city planning, and the social sciences."