Geographic Information Science and Systems

mosaic of gis results

Cyber GIS: CyberGIS is a geospatial cyberinfrastructure framework that enables domain science communities to have better interaction, organization, management, sharing, and allocation of data and computing resources utilizing advanced HPC frameworks and geospatial data portals. Semantic web technology can help CyberGIS better support domain sciences research by enabling appropriate data and computing resources to be retrieved in a smart manner. Moreover, since this technique provides a formal and machine-understandable definition of knowledge in domain sciences, the semantic web can promote the role of domain scientists in geospatial cyberinfrastructure design and evaluation.

Mobile GIS: Mobile GIS are an integrated technological framework for the access of geospatial data and location-based services (LBS)through mobile devices, such as Pocket PCs, Personal Digital Assistants (PDA), or smart cellular phones. There are two major application areas of mobile GIS: Field Based GIS and Location Based Services. Field Based GIS focuses on the GIS data collection, validation and update in the field, such as adding a new point data or change the attribute tables on an existing GIS dataset. Location Based Services focuses on business-oriented location management functions, such as navigation, street routing, finding a specific location, tracking a vehicle, etc (Jagoes 2002; OGC 2003b). The major differences between the Field Based GIS and LBS are the data editing capabilities. Most Field Based GIS will need to edit or change the original GIS data or modify their attributes. LBS rarely change original GIS data but simply use them as the background or reference maps for navigation or tracking purposes.

Spatial Decision Support Systems: Spatial Decision Support Systems (SDSS) offer a systematic approach to allocation of resources taking into account: 1) location, 2) spatial relationships, 3) multiple solution alternatives, and 4) choice preferences. SDSS are created and deployed to help answer a fundamental decision question: which course of action to choose? SDSS offer analytical tools to help make choices involving location by combining spatial data with models to compute the consequences of decision alternatives.

Public Participation GIS, Volunteered Geographic Information: Public Participation GIS (PPGIS) combines participatory mapping and spatial data analysis with a social process allowing users to combine their informal and often qualitative knowledge, impressions, and ideas with formalized knowledge about real world objects, their locations, and properties stored in GIS database. PPGIS involves not one but a number of participatory approaches for deriving and processing spatial data and information, and applying it various problem solving and decision making contexts ranging from indigenous property rights, through management of public commons, to collaborative city planning. PPGIS methods and tools intersect with and are complementary to Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI) and Citizen Science.


transportation network heat map

An Experimental Study of Public Participation in Planning Decision Making Using Web-based Geographic Information System

Two participatory Geoweb methods: geo-questionnaire and geo-discussion were developed and applied in a number of local planning and decision-making cases in Poland. A geo-questionnaire is a web application comprised of an online questionnaire coupled with an interactive map that enables the collection of public preferences concerning plans and projects in the form of map object descriptions corresponding to real-world geographical features. A geo-discussion is a web application comprised of a structured discussion forum coupled with an interactive map, allowing annotation of the map with geometric objects (point, line, area) linked to discussion contributions. The project findings show that Geoweb applications scale public participation more effectively than traditional public meetings. The ability to attract a relatively large number of diverse participants contributed to the positive evaluation of participation outcomes by planners. The results of online participation have been reflected in the land use plan provisions and improved the transparency and access to planning documents. Participatory Geoweb methods such as geo-questionnaire and geo-discussion can be applied in a number of domains including land use planning, public health, hazard mitigation, and transportation improvement programming.

man marking up a map

Participatory Mapping of Human Coastal, Marine and Watershed Uses in the Pacific

Working with local natural resource managers and communities in Hawaii and American Samoa, we have generated maps of human uses and activities in priority sites for coral reef management. Using Participatory GIS and other methods, this information is intended to better inform local agencies and communities about the range of human interactions with natural resources in these areas, minimize conflict, and facilitate the development of natural resource management strategies that account for both ecological conditions, as well as human use and significance.



  • Fundamental concepts in geographic information systems, cartography, remote sensing, spatial statistics, and global positioning systems. Use of critical technologies in addressing human and environmental problems.

  • Procedures for encoding, storage, management, and display of spatial data; theory of computer-assisted map analysis; examination of important geographic information systems.

  • PostgreSQL, PostGIS, and open source databases to store, manage, and query geospatial data.

  • Current development of Internet mapping and cartographic skills for web-based maps (multimedia, animation, and interactive design). Fundamental theories of distributed GIS to support Internet mapping with focus on distributed component technologies, Internet map servers, and web services.

  • Spatial analysis methods in GIS, to include terrain, raster, and network analysis. Feature distributions and patterns. GIS data processing techniques to include spatial interpolation, geocoding, and dynamic segmentation. Designing and executing analytical procedures.

  • Integration of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with discrete and continuous multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) methods. Applications of MCDM in land use planning, site selection, and resource management spatial decision problems.

  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and location analysis methods to include modeling and spatial analysis. Applications of GIS and location analysis in business site selection, market segmentation, retail marketing, and service area analysis.

  • Big data science to include analysis, data collection, filtering, GIS, machine learning, processing, text analysis, and visualization. Computational platforms, skills, and tools for conducting big data analytics with real world case studies and examples.

  • Spatial analytic techniques from image processing, remote sensing, geographic information systems, cartography or quantitative methods. May be repeated with new content. See Class Schedule for specific content.