Choose from the following topics or just scroll through the sections:

Course Description

This course is a hands-on laboratory introduction to the basic principles of geographical information systems (GIS) software and its potential applications in archaeological, biological, and cultural anthropology research. Topics include GIS database fundamentals, linking to non-spatial data, elementary spatial analysis and inference, and data sources.

The class meets for four hours each week in the ATLAS computer lab in 202 Lincoln Hall. Problem sets that apply the course materials to anthropological data will be assigned throughout the semester. Each student will complete the course by designing and implementing a GIS-based research project.

Course Outline

Details about each course topic will be found in the "Class Meetings" and "Assignments" folders of the class web page.  This outline is tentative, so check back often.

Lab: 9-10:50 MW, 202 Lincoln Hall

Week of ...  


Jan 19  

Jan 24   Spatial Data; Introduction to ArcGIS
Jan 31   Data Structures; Map Projections
Feb 7   Project Design; Data Input
Feb 14   GIS Output
Feb 21   Classification
Feb 28   Elementary Spatial Analysis
Mar 7   Surfaces & Surface Mapping
Mar 14   Advanced Spatial Analysis
Mar 21   Spring Break
Mar 28   Spatial Comparisons & Modeling
 Apr 4   Special Topics
Apr 4-18   Project Workshops
 Apr 25 - May 2  
In-class Presentations
May 9   Poster Presentations


The nature of the topic requires that this be a hand-on course.  Traditional in-class or take-home tests in such a class emphasize the wrong learning goals.  Most of your grade will be based on demonstrated performance in problem sets and a class project, all of which apply the course materials. 

Class Participation & Attendance (10% of your final grade)

Given the hands-on nature of the class, you have to be present to do the coursework. If you can't do that, don't take this class. Students also are expected to complete all in-class worksheets, to read assigned course materials before class, and to be able to answer questions in class about the assigned materials and related materials from previous class meetings.   

Homework (40% of your final grade)

Weekly assignments, most of which we will work on in class, give you the opportunity to apply the course materials.  See the Assignments section of the class web page for deadlines. Late homework is graded down each day it is overdue.  

GIS Research Project (50% of your final grade)

The best way to learn the course materials is to apply them in your own research.  One of the major class requirements is for you, working individually or as part of a two person team, to design and implement a GIS-based project (20%) to answer/solve a specific, non-trivial research question/problem. In the last few weeks of the semester, you must lead an in-class discussion of your project (10%) and do a poster presentation (20%) of your project in a designated area of Davenport Hall.



Our workhorse software will be ArcView 9.0, which is a subset of ESRI's ArcGIS 9.0. The full ESRI product line is running on the machines in 202 LH.  At least two machines in the Anthro computer facility (109G Davenport Hall) are also running ArcView 9.0.  For your GIS work outside of class, you have the choice of installing the version of ArcView that comes on the cd-rom in the back of the Ormsby book (it expires after 6 months), using ArcView 9.0 in the computer lab in G-8 FLB, or getting a copy of ArcView that isn't time-limited from CITES.  The University of Illinois has a site license for most ESRI software products. Visit the CITES Webstore to see what is available and how you can get it. If you are a Mac user, you are out of luck. ArcGIS is a Windows and UNIX platforms product.

Lab Rules



Instructor: Barry Lewis
Hours: 1:00 - 2.30 MW until 14 March; 8.30-11.30 F thereafter.
Office: 209f Davenport Hall
Phone: 244-3501

COPYRIGHT © 2005 Barry Lewis All Rights Reserved.
The contents of the syllabus, class materials (including audio-visual) and lectures for this course are copyrighted. They are intended for the students' private use and may not be reproduced without the permission of the professor.