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GIS Project

Requirements: ask and answer a geographic question with Arcview 3.2, ArcExplorer, or other GIS program (ask Alan) using tabular datasets, feature data sources, and/or image data sources.

Frame the question:

"You start an analysis by figuring out what information you need. This is often in the form of a question. Being as specific as possible about the question you're trying to answer will help you decide how to approach the analysis, which method to use, and how to present the results." It is one thing to come up with an interesting question, but finding data to answer it can be challenging. To come up with a feasible project, it might be better to view datasets for an area of interest and generate a question based on data you know you already have. Start by looking at ESRI ArcData Online. Look at geographic patterns and try to think of questions posed by those patterns. This website allows you to easily download datasets that will work with ESRI products.

Examples of GIS questions:

"Where were most of the burglaries last month? How much forest is in each watershed? Which parcels are within 500 feet of a liquor store? Where are children most at risk of lead poisoning?"

Choose a method and process the data:

"You decide which method to use based on your original question and how the results of the analysis will be used." Typical GIS methods include "mapping where things are, mapping the most and least, mapping density, finding what's inside, finding what's nearby (buffering) , mapping change over time."

Present the results:

The final product must include a description of the project, the question asked, methods, datasets, and programs used. You must also convey the results of your query in graphic and/or text format (maps, charts, values in a table, a mailing list, driving directions etc.) Any maps presented should include appropriate elements found on virtually all maps.

*Dont forget to include proper Citations and Bibliographies

(Quotes from Andy Mitchell, 1999 An ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis Redlands, CA: ESRI Press - p. 11)


ESRI ArcData Online, Census Demographics Data Dictionary, Glossary of GIS Terms
Guide to Mostly On-Line and Mostly Free U.S. Geospatial and Attribute Data
Data Wharehouses
GIS Data Depot
Gateway to GIS Resources - U.S. Census Bureau
The GIS Portal - GIS WWW Resources
GIS data for northern California
POSTAL/ZIP CODES
1990 Census Lookup - by zip