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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 18 - Modes of User/GIS Interaction

Unit 18 - Modes of User/GIS Interaction


This unit introduces the different ways users can interact with GIS. It also provides an introduction to the range of interfaces available and will help students recognize differences between different GISs.

Cover page of Unit 04 - The Raster GIS

Unit 04 - The Raster GIS


This unit introduces the raster data model for representing geographic phenomena. It differentiates it from the vector model and discusses appropriate applications, how a raster is created, the types of values that may be stored in a raster, and fundamental concepts like resolution, orientation, and zones. The unit concludes with an example analysis using a raster GIS.

Cover page of Unit 21 - The Raster/Vector Database Debate

Unit 21 - The Raster/Vector Database Debate


This unit specifically addresses the issue of raster versus vector by looking at the different dimensions of the debate. The importance and value of both models is stressed by comparing specific technical aspects, including coordinate precision, speed of analytical processing, mass storage requirements, and representation of phenomena with different characteristics.

Cover page of Outline of the Core Curriculum in GIS

Outline of the Core Curriculum in GIS


An outline of the Core Curriculum in GIS units, organized by topic, is presented with hyperlinks to each unit's material on eScholarship. Note that hyperlinks are only active if the PDF file is downloaded.

Cover page of Unit 64 - Pilot Project

Unit 64 - Pilot Project


This is the fifth in a six-unit series on the design, purchase and implementation of a GIS. It describes the pilot project, which provides the first physical results from a GIS project. Pilot project formats, design and management are discussed and illustrated with Automated Mapping and Facilities Management (AM/FM) systems examples from the Public Service Company of Colorado and Salt River Project of Arizona.

Cover page of Unit 08 - Socio-Economic Data

Unit 08 - Socio-Economic Data


This unit introduces topics related to socio-economic data for GIS including aggregation, cross-sectional vs. longitudinal sampling, secondary vs. primary data and geographic referencing. It then describes some common sources of socio-economic data including population census, economic census, agricultural census, land records, labor force statistics transportation and infrastructure inventories and administrative records. It concludes with a discussion of the US census of population and housing and TIGER/line files.

Cover page of Unit 07 - Data Input

Unit 07 - Data Input


This unit examines the common methods of data input. It describes the hardware and methods used for digitizing and scanning spatial information from maps and photographs, and it discusses conversion of data between digital formats and associated issues of projection, scale and resolution.

Cover page of Unit 24 - GIS Marketplace

Unit 24 - GIS Marketplace


This unit presents a synopsis of the GIS marketplace, discussing characteristics and features to take into account when acquiring GIS software and hardware. It addresses choice of computing platform and software domain (commercial, public, or educational), performance issues, ease of integration, training needs, user interface, maintenance requirements, and other considerations.

Cover page of Unit 09 - Environmental and Natural Resource Data

Unit 09 - Environmental and Natural Resource Data


This unit considers natural resource-based GISs, including their contents, characteristics and uses. Common sources of data including thematic maps, topographic maps and remotely sensed imagery are described and relevant techniques such as image interpretation and classification are introduced. The unit concludes with a description of an example database, the Minnesota Land Management Information System (MLMIS).