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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The NCGIA Core Curriculum in GIS fulfilled needs for course materials for teaching geographic information systems in the early 1990s, prior to the widespread availability of textbooks. The curriculum was developed and made available by NCGIA as a 1,000+ page document organized into three volumes—Introduction to GIS, Technical Issues in GIS, and Application Issues in GIS. Each volume includes sufficient material for a one-term course and contains 25 units of lecture notes with suggested discussion and examination questions. While the Curriculum was designed primarily for use as an instructional development tool, the materials have also been used as class notes for distribution to students and as a self-study guide. Between August 1990 and January 1995, over 1,300 copies of the Curriculum were distributed by the NCGIA to institutions in over 70 countries.

Cover page of Introduction to the Core Curriculum in GIS

Introduction to the Core Curriculum in GIS


This short narrative introduces the Core Curriculum in GIS and provides a historical overview of the Core Curriculum Project, including the later Core Curriculum in GIScience and Core Curriculum for Technical Programs. Appended to this description is an original pamphlet advertising the Core Curriculum in GIS.

Cover page of Unit 23 - History of GIS

Unit 23 - History of GIS


This unit provides a very brief review of some important milestones in the development of GIS. It provides early examples of spatial analysis performed with multiple theme maps, then introduces people, applications and systems that were significant in the early days of computerized cartography and spatial analysis.

Cover page of Unit 61 - Functional Requirements Study

Unit 61 - Functional Requirements Study


This is the second in a six-unit series on the design, purchase and implementation of a GIS. It describes the process of conducting a Functional Requirements Study (FRS) in order to identify existing functionality and any new requirements of a proposed GIS. It outlines methods for conducting a FRS, components of a completed FRS, weakness of the FRS process and the importance of conducting a FRS.

Cover page of Unit 16 - Output

Unit 16 - Output


This unit discusses issues related to GIS output, including the different types of output possible and the hardware for producing each. It describes text, graphic and digital data that can be generated by a GIS as well as line printers, dot matrix printers/plotters, pen plotters, optical scanners and cathode ray tubes (CRTs) as technologies for generating the output.

Cover page of Unit 20 - GIS as Archives

Unit 20 - GIS as Archives


This unit introduces the idea of a GIS database serving as a project or archive database, contrasting it with the traditional geographic archive, the map library. It discusses issues of data currency, justifying the need for digital geographic archives, suitability of data for archiving, platforms, distribution, user interface and costs vs. benefits of digital archives. It illustrates these issues with several examples of spatial data archive systems.

Cover page of Unit 67 - Implementation Issues

Unit 67 - Implementation Issues


This unit discusses common issues that arise when an organization acquires and implements a GIS. It describes potential problems within organizations such as overemphasis on technology, rigid work patterns, inflexibility, inappropriate decision-making procedures, staffing and assignment of responsibilities. The conclusion presents strategies to facilitate success.

Cover page of Unit 41 - Spatial Interpolation II

Unit 41 - Spatial Interpolation II


This unit continues the examination of spatial interpolation by looking at areal interpolation techniques and some applications. Non-volume preserving and volume preserving methods are described, and two special cases of interpolation—mapping populated areas and estimating trade areas—are outlined. The unit concludes with notes on the conceptual foundation of interpolation and its appropriate uses in GIS.

Cover page of Unit 13 - The Vector or Object GIS

Unit 13 - The Vector or Object GIS


This unit begins a two-part introduction to vector GIS. The vector data model for representing points, lines and areas is described, and the process of creating a vector database is outlined and illustrated with an example application where areas suitable for logging are identified

Cover page of Unit 28 - Affine and Curvilinear Transformations

Unit 28 - Affine and Curvilinear Transformations


This unit discusses methods for transforming coordinates from one system into another, illustrated with an example. Affine transformations are described, including their characteristics and primitives—translation, scaling, rotation and reflection, and curvilinear transformations are briefly introduced.

Cover page of Unit 52 - Resource Management Applications

Unit 52 - Resource Management Applications


This unit begins with an overview of GIS applications used in resource management, describing characteristics and functionality of these systems, and the organizations that adopted them. The body of the unit demonstrates an application of GIS to natural resource management through an example—the Big Darby Creek Project—in which the GIS provides data input, storage, output and some analytic capabilities. The project combines a GIS (ERDAS) with a nonpoint source pollution model (AGNPS) to provide a low-cost, user-friendly system and database to support land use planning and management for the basin.