GEM 404 GIS Modeling for Environmental Applications


Cost Movement Analysis & Modeling Lab: Wildfire Development Map.  


Instructor: Michael Govorov, PhD           


The applications of GIS for environment management are endless and varied in environmental spheres and specific environmental issues. GIS for environment assists the use of location-based data with management tools in the decision-making processes that together can form an environmental management strategy.

This course will provide students with a theoretical understanding and practical experience in GIS modeling for specific environment applications. It will introduce new environmental applications to GIS modeling techniques (in addition to GEM400 - GEM403) and methodology to use in combination with GIS analysis techniques for spatial modeling for environmental applications. The discussed environmental applications relate to natural resource use as well as engineering tasks.  

Students will have the opportunity to acquire hands-on experience in spatial modelling using the ArcGIS package with extensions. A series of laboratory works are designed to lead the students through the keys steps in spatial modeling for environmental applications.


The specific objectives of the course are:

· To introduce students with principles and steps of spatial modeling using GIS.
· Provide students a series of practical exercises for developing the technical proficiency in spatial modeling and database design for environmental applications using GIS.
· Take an understanding of the utilities and limitations of GIS in environmental management decision-making.
· Discuss the application of GIS to solve real environmental problems.
· Development of skills in use of GIS software tools for advanced analysis and modeling techniques.


Kang-tsung Chang, 2015, Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, 8th Edition, McGraw-Hill Higher Education (Data set CD-ROM is not required).      

Supplemental readings:

Additional Internet resources will be recommended for particular modules during the course including the e-guides and tutorials from the ArcGIS Help Library. Students will be provided with a variety of supplemental documents and handouts in digital form and links to media resources. Supplemental documents will be available on the Blackboard or/and GIS Server.

Online resources: ESRI’s Virtual Campus online courses.

Access to Software: 

The ESRI ArcGIS 10 software runs on the School of the Environment’s GIS server. This means that students can access their coursework from any computer using a regular web browser and a high-speed internet connection (i.e. DSL or cable).


This course is designed for people who completed GEM 400 and GEM 401 courses. Proficiency with the Microsoft Windows operating system and ArcGIS are required. A high-speed internet connection is required.


Students complete five assignments designed to provide practical experience with the software while simultaneously illustrating and reinforcing theoretical concepts. Each assignment includes exercises accompanied by questions that encourage students to think about the underlying principles that affect the tasks they are performing.  

Quizzes will take place during the week five and ten of the course, and will cover all of the material discussed in the course.  

Courses from the ESRI virtual campus will be assigned as additional homework. Proof (PDF copies of the certificates) of completion of these courses will be required.

Overall Assessment

This course requires that you maintain an average of 70% or greater in the course work for continuation in the course. There is an expectation for a high level of quality in the work produced by the student. For evaluation purposes, work will be graded under the following criteria:

Distance Education Certificate Program Grade Scale

Letter Grade Scale Numerical Scale of Marks
A + 90-100%
A 85-89%
A - 80-84%
B+ 77-79%
B 73-76%
B- 70-72%
FZ 0-69%


This information is included on the course outline, which will soon be available for download as an Adobe Acrobat file.  

The topics and schedule may be adjusted during the term.


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