Share This

SUS 8300B – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Sustainability in the Urban Environment

SUS 8300B – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Spring 2017. Subject to refinement/updating.


Instructor: TBD
Schedule: Thursday 5 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Marshak 107
3 credits 3 hrs/week


Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, City College of New York
160 Convent Avenue, Marshak 717, New York, NY 10031
Telephone (212) 650-____ Email: ___________


This course represents a comprehensive attempt to introduce students to major aspects of the multifaceted GIS production process, including data acquisition, editing, modeling, analysis, and cartographic output. EAS 330 is designed for students of the Earth and atmospheric sciences, as well as other disciplines. Lectures will introduce the theory and science behind Geographic Information Systems. Laboratory exercises will complement the lectures by introducing respective applications within the GIS software environment.


  • Demonstrate a solid, working knowledge of primary GIS skills.
  • Define key geographic concepts, GIS terminology, components of a GIS, and GIS applications.
  • Articulate an understanding of GIS processes, data sources, collection, and input, to methods of database management, analysis, and outputs for effective cartography.
  • Demonstrate the use of GIS in hydrogeology, environmental management, emergency response practices in response to natural hazards, and understand the career options available to GIS analysts.


Required Textbook: Introductory Geographic Information Systems, by John R. Jensen and Ryan R. Jensen, First Edition, Prentice Hall, ISBN-13: 978-0136147763 or ISBN-10: 0136147763. Available through the City College of New York Bookstore, NAC R1/103.

Course Requirements

This is a general introduction to GIS. Lectures will highlight the underlying principles of GIS, whereas the laboratories will reflect respective applications in the GIS software.

Required Materials

A USB flash drive is required for this course. It should be at least 8 GB (preferred). Prices can vary and this item is available from your bookstore, but is cheaper at other stores. You are required to have your USB drive by the beginning of week 2.

Email Policy

The instructor reserves the right to not answer email communications that do not meet the following criteria:

  • The student last name and course number must appear in the email subject line
  • Messages need to be signed with the full student name, department and major information
  • Spell-check your messages and avoid language abbreviations common in online chatting and text messaging
  • Use your CCNY email account in all communications.

Classroom Etiquette

Every few years the behavior of several students compels me to remind the whole class of what may seem obvious to most:
a) Talking during lecture is inconsiderate and disconcerting to me as well as to those trying to listen, think, and take notes.
b) It is rude to walk in front of class (between the lecturer and the class) after class has begun. If you come in late quietly take a seat in the back of the room.

Syllabus Change Policy

Except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation (grading) statement, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice. Students will be informed promptly of any change through in-class announcements, Blackboard, and email communications.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The AccessAbility Center (AAC) facilitates equal access and coordinates reasonable accommodations and support services for City College students with disabilities. Visit: for more information.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity governs all aspects of academic work. Academic dishonesty is prohibited in the City University of New York, and is punishable by failing grades, suspension and expulsion. If a violation should arise, it will be reported for appropriate action. For more information, visit Please read the summary below of “What behaviors constitute academic dishonesty?” (shared by Professor Peter Bower, Senior Lecturer, Barnard College, Columbia University – abridged here).

  • Cheating on examinations, quizzes, tests, or other assignments
  • Plagiarism
  • Submission of the same work for more than one course
  • Falsification or misrepresentation of data in any coursework.
  • Altering, defacing, or concealing library materials.
  • Participating in the academic dishonesty of another student
  • Misrepresentation of one’s state of health or personal situation
  • Forgery of a signature


All grades will be based on a scale of 100 with A+ = 97-100, A = 95-96, A- = 90-94, B+ = 87-89, B= 84-86, B- = 80-83, C+ = 77-79, C = 74-76, C- = 70-73, D = 60-69, and F<60.

  • A+ = Rare performance. Reserved for exceptional achievement.
  • A = Excellent work. Outstanding achievement.
  • A- = Excellent work that exceeds course expectations.
  • B+ = Very good work. Solid achievement (expected of CCNY undergraduates) that meets all course expectations.
  • B = Good work. Acceptable achievement that meets almost all course expectations.
  • B- = Satisfactory work. Acceptable achievement that meets major course expectations.
  • C+ = Fair achievement just above that which is minimally acceptable.
  • C = Fair achievement but only minimally acceptable.
  • C- = Barely acceptable achievement.
  • D = Very low performance. Unsatisfactory work. Lowest achievement to still allow for a passing grade. This grade may not be counted toward the major or minor option.
  • F = Failure

Special note on “A” letter grades: For a student to receive an “A” in this course, the expectation is that she/he will score consistently grades of equal or higher than 94% in all assignments, quizzes, and exams, WITHOUT the assistance of points assigned after a curve. In addition, an “A” student is expected to attend every single class meeting from beginning to end, and also invest time in preparing for the lecture in advance of every lecture. The assumption is also that the student will perform similarly in the laboratory component of the course.

The overall grading for this course will be based on the following formula:

Lab assignments

 50% [One week to complete, due by 5 pm, right before class – late
assignments will not be accepted and a grade of zero will be
applied toward these assignments]

Quizzes 5%
Participation 5%
Midterm exam 20%
Final exam 20%

Graduate Level

Graduate students are required to perform additional assignment(s) in consultation with the instructor. All graduate students are encouraged to hand-deliver to the instructor by the second week of classes an unofficial copy of their transcript(s) to date, as well as their CVs, which will form the basis in the selection of research topic(s).

Extra Credit

Since there are many opportunities in this course to academically perform, there will be no extra credit assignments.

Make-up Quizzes

No make-up quiz will be given without advance notification of at least one week before any absence due to religious observance. No make-up quiz will be given except for bonafide emergencies or illness. Except in the most unusual circumstances advance notification is required. An email or letter from your doctor is required before the scheduling of any make-up quiz. Also, except in the most unusual circumstances requiring special permission, the make-up quiz must be taken within one week of the missed quiz.

Course Outline