This class uses lab exercises and a workshop setting to help students develop a solid understanding of the planning and public management uses of geographic information systems (GIS). The goals are to help students: acquire technical skills in the use of GIS software; acquire qualitative methods skills in data and document gathering, analyzing information, and presenting results; and investigate the potential and practicality of GIS technologies in a typical planning setting and evaluate possible applications.
The workshop teaches GIS techniques and basic database management at a level that extends somewhat beyond the basic thematic mapping and data manipulation skills included in the MCP core classes (viz. 11.204 and 11.220). Instead of focusing on one thematic map of a single variable, students will concentrate on more open-ended planning questions that invite spatial analysis but will require judgment and exploration to select relevant data and mapping techniques; involve mixing and matching new, local data with extracts from official records (such as census data, parcel data and regional employment and population forecasts); utilize spatial analysis techniques such as buffering, address matching, overlays; use other modeling and visualization techniques beyond thematic mapping; and raise questions about the skills, strategy, and organizational support needed to sustain such analytic capability within a variety of local and regional planning settings.
Students seeking graduate credit should enroll in the subject 11.520; undergraduates should enroll in the subject 11.188. The subjects meet together and have nearly identical content.
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