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By the mid-1990s, interest was growing in geographic information science as a discipline based on fundamental geographic concepts that could engage student learning from early childhood to a life-time interest in the infrastructural and intellectual developments required for advances in the modeling of complex environmental and social processes. Seeking to accommodate this need, NCGIA adopted a new approach for a revised core curriculum. It was organized around four major themes:

(1) “Fundamental Geographic Concepts for GIS"—enumerating the concepts and describing their role in human cognition;

(2)"Implementing Geographic Concepts in GIS"—discussing the implementation and handling of geographic concepts in digital computers;

(3) "Geographic Information Technology in Society"—examining the management of these technologies, their implications for society, and the social context in which they are used; and

(4) "Application Areas and Case Studies"—critically examining how GIS is used in various applications.

Each of these four groupings consisted of self-contained teaching units based on a one-hour lecture format of approximately 7 pages of point-form text, with inline sketches and graphics. By placing the materials on-line, the potential existed for instructors or subsidiary project teams to develop supporting structures (e.g., hypertext) to organize the lecture notes and other on-line materials into interactive tutorial systems.

Cover page of Outline of the Core Curriculum in GIScience

Outline of the Core Curriculum in GIScience

(2015)

This outline gives an overview of the units that comprise the Core Curriculum in GIScience, along with hyperlinks to each. Note that hyperlinks are active only from the downloaded PDF document. 

Cover page of Introduction to the Core Curriculum in GIScience

Introduction to the Core Curriculum in GIScience

(2015)

This introduction provides context to the Core Curriculum in GIScience, including its design philosophy, organization of core concepts, editorial procedure, a development timetable, list of original developers and editorial notes. Note that hyperlinks are active only from the downloaded PDF document.

Cover page of Unit 020 - Maps as Representations of the World

Unit 020 - Maps as Representations of the World

(2000)

This unit considers maps as representations and contrasts maps with other representations of the world. It also contrasts the representational view with other views of maps.

Cover page of Unit 057 - Quadtrees and Scan Orders

Unit 057 - Quadtrees and Scan Orders

(2000)

This unit covers topics including raster scan orders (Bostrophedon, Morton, Pi-order); an introduction to quadtrees and how they are constructed; applications of quadtrees; and quadtree addressing.

Cover page of Unit  045 - Non-Spatial Database Models

Unit  045 - Non-Spatial Database Models

(2000)

This unit introduces the terms and concepts needed to understand non-spatial databases and their underlying data models, including a motivation of the need for database management systems; an overview of database terminology; and a description of non-spatial data models.

Cover page of Unit 037 - Fundamentals of Data Storage

Unit 037 - Fundamentals of Data Storage

(2000)

This unit introduces the concepts and terms needed to understand storage of GIS data in a computer system, including the weaknesses of a discrete data model for representing the real world; an overview of data storage types and terminology; and a description of data storage issues.

Cover page of Unit 135 - Geographic Information Technologies in Society

Unit 135 - Geographic Information Technologies in Society

(2000)

This unit describes contexts for GI Technologies; the use of GI technologies in society; the British Columbia case study; and key issues.

Cover page of Units 158-160 - Teaching Geographical Information Systems

Units 158-160 - Teaching Geographical Information Systems

(2000)

This section is not typical of the other sections of the curriculum in that it is primarily directed at instructors intending to use the Core Curriculum as a resource in their own curriculum design, rather than as materials to teach with.  However, the materials might be used directly by instructors teaching the methodology of geographical education as part of an education elective within higher education. This section includes two units: Curriculum design for GIS (Unit 159) and Teaching and learning GIS in laboratories (Unit 160).

Cover page of Units 012-017 - Position on the Earth

Units 012-017 - Position on the Earth

(2000)

Five topics are hilighted in this section: Unit 013 - Coordinate Systems Overview; Unit 014 - Latitude and Longitude; Unit 015 - The Shape of the Earth; Unit 016 - Discrete Georeferencing; and Unit 017 - Global Positioning Systems Overview. These cover topics that are fundamental to understanding the systems of locational reference used in GIS. 

Cover page of Units 090-091 - Natural Resources Data

Units 090-091 - Natural Resources Data

(2000)

These units provides a general overview of natural resources data, including types of data; typical applications; and common problems and limitations. Soil data are discussed in greater detail, including soil classification and mapping; types and contents of soil surveys; and the structure of soil data in GIS applications.