Skip Navigation

GEOG200 - Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems I

Course Details

Course Code: GEOG200 Course ID: 3983 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

The term “Geographic Information System” refers to the synthesis of information (data), software, and hardware for the express purpose of better understanding the world in which we live. Data are collected and managed within this system, and are ultimately used to question, analyze, and interpret patterns that occur throughout physical space. The interaction between different types of data reveals patterns and relationships that are not otherwise readily detectable. This course will provide students with the theoretical concepts necessary for advancement in the field of GIS, and further enhance their experience in a wide range of multidisciplinary endeavors. Note: This course requires students to install software on a Windows-based computer (Windows 7 or higher) in order to complete assigned course work.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
05/21/21 - 10/29/21 11/01/21 - 12/26/21 Fall 2021 Session I 8 Week session
08/31/21 - 02/04/22 02/07/22 - 04/03/22 Winter 2022 Session I 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

The successful student will fulfill the following learning objectives:

LO-1 Define Geographic Information Systems
LO-2 Identify GIS data portals on the Internet
LO-3 Describe spatial data as it relates to the students field of interest
LO-4 Compare and Contrast the different types of modeling in GIS and when they are appropriate for use in analysis.
LO-5 Illustrate the differences between raster and vector data types.
LO-6 Discuss how the concepts of scale, resolution, and projection relate to the vector and raster data types.
LO-7 Describe how the cartographic principles of scale, resolution, and projection can be used to address a problem of geographic nature.
LO-8 Summarize the value of GIS to various disciplines such as biology, military/defense, or utilities.

Instructional Approach and Course Requirements
This course will rely on the Tutorial for step-by-step instruction on how to perform the tasks assigned. For the most part the steps in the tutorial are well written and easy to understand. There are however steps in the text that have changed due to time. When these occur I note them in at least the Assignment for that week – I also tried to note these changes within the announcement for the week as well. Please follow my instructions when they differ from the tutorial instructions. If however, you have questions please let me know especially if the instructions involve going to Internet locations to download information.

It is important to complete all the assignments as they are assigned. If you get too far behind then you risk the chance of not being able to complete the exams. The information in the exams will come directly from the tutorial, my notes within the announcement, forums, or other readings as assigned. You may use the tutorial and software to assist you in these exams. When requested to submit items for the exam you must do so within the exam area. I will have more instruction on this when the first exam is released.

If at any time you have questions please email me via messages within the course; if I feel that the rest of the students can benefit from my answer I will reply to everyone. Chances are if you have a question about something within the course so does someone else. So ask if you need help or have a question.

Other Important Class Notes

This course will offer the student an interactive, asynchronous virtual classroom. Each week’s lesson will have a course announcement, assigned readings, a project or homework, and other guidance provided by the instructor. Since the student is expected to fully participate in discussions and interact with the instructor and other students, reading assignments and assigned projects should be completed in a timely manner.

“Asynchronous” is not the same as “independent study” – all students are to participate in the weekly assignments and topics together, it is within that week where each individual has flexibility on completing the week’s tasks.

The nature of an online course requires a significant amount of discipline and independent work. The student is responsible for managing time, completing assignments and notifying the Professor immediately of any difficulties. All assignments will have several days to weeks to complete therefore, extensions are not anticipated.

Each week begins on Monday and ends on Sunday, and all posted times are Eastern Time. Students are encouraged to carefully check due dates and times on exams so as not to miss a submission.


We can learn as much from each other as we will from the text or the assignments. The Forum is to facilitate our getting to know one another and sharing our thoughts about the weekly readings and assignments. The purpose for the forum is to reach out to each other and ask questions about the readings or the assignments. Look at this a kind of a delayed messenger or a forum. Ask questions when you have them and answer them if you may know the answer. I will monitor the forum constantly and answer questions as they arise.

For the first forum, all work must be completed by 11:55 PM ET Sunday of the first week. For the remaining forums, all initial posts are due by 11:55 PM ET Wednesday of the week assigned. All replies must be completed by 11:55 PM Sunday of the week assigned.


The syllabus will indicate what the assignment is for that week. You can also see the assignments within the “Assignments”; however sometimes I will change the assignment a bit which the syllabus may not reflect. If the situation arises that the syllabus and the assignment as noted in the Assignment area differs always go with what is in the Assignment area; this will be the most current intended assignment.

Assignments will consist of working through the exercises in the text. I will determine which questions you will submit answers for when the assignment is released. I will review each of your answers and if your answer is incorrect I will let you know why. Please do not just work on the questions you need to submit to me when you are working on the assignment. It is possible that preceding questions will lead you to the correct answer for the question I am asking you to submit an answer for the assignment. It is also likely that the other questions will be on the exams as well.

When you submit your answers you will do so in your course folder that has been set up for you during the first week of the course.


There will be two quizzes and two exams. These tests are meant to capture your understanding of the material progressively and while it is fresh in your mind. Pace yourself based upon your knowledge of your lifestyle and work requirements. Keep me apprised of special situations.

The tests may have multiple choice, true/false, essay questions and exercises (that need to be submitted via attachment). Read the questions slowly and thoughtfully, they are meant to measure your understanding of concepts, ideas, and terms that are complex in their shades of meaning.

Please Note: If you copy the test before submission as a study guide, you must be aware that the order of the all questions will scrambled each time you re-open the short exam or exam. This includes matching questions and answers if applicable. Do not just blindly paste or post the answers you have determined during your study preparation. Verify you are answering the right question!

NameGrade %
Assignments 30.00 %
Week 1 - GIS Introduction 3.75 %
Week 2 - Map Design 3.75 %
Week 3 - GIS Outputs 3.75 %
Week 4 - File Geodatabases 3.75 %
Week 5 - Spatial Data 3.75 %
Week 6 - Digitizing 3.75 %
Week 7 - Geoprocessing 3.75 %
Week 8 - Spatial Analysis 3.75 %
Forums 20.00 %
Week 1 Forum 2.50 %
Week 2 Forum 2.50 %
Week 3 Forum 2.50 %
Week 4 Forum 2.50 %
Week 5 Forum 2.50 %
Week 6 Forum 2.50 %
Week 7 Forum 2.50 %
Week 8 Forum 2.50 %
Exams 30.00 %
Final Exam 15.00 %
Mid-Term 15.00 %
Quizzes 20.00 %
Quiz 1 - Week 2 10.00 %
Quiz 2 - Week 6 10.00 %

Required Technology

  • See the Technology Requirements section of the undergraduate catalog for the minimum hardware and software requirements.
  • Microsoft Office 365 is available to APUS students for free. To sign up, visit If you have questions about accessing the software, please contact Classroom support at
Book Title:Until further notice, required hard copy books and kits will ship without any action needed from students. Your shipping address on file must be current -
Book Title:GIS Tutorial for ArcGIS Desktop 10.8 - the book includes a required software access code for Windows-based systems only
Publication Info:ESRI
Author:Wilpen L. Gorr, Kristen S. Kurland
Unit Cost:$64.99

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.