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CTE/Information Technology Education Curriculum Introduction to Geographical Information Systems
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arrow icon Course Introduction


Core Standards of the Course

Standard 1
Understand basic concepts of GIS and how it is used for decision making.

Objective 1
Understand the big picture in GIS

  1. Describe the difference between paper, digital, and GIS maps.
  2. List the three functions of a GIS.
  3. Identify one use of GIS in the past or present.
  4. Define GIS.
  5. Describe the geographic approach to solving problems.
  6. List four components of a feature.
  7. Explain the relationship between features and layers.
  8. Explain how scale on a GIS map is different from scale on a paper map.

Standard 2
Collect geo-spatial data

Objective 1
Locate and collect data from different sources for a geo-spatial system or project.

  1. Import geo-spatial data from a CD or files on local server
  2. Locate and download geo-spatial data from local government resources
  3. Locate and download geo-spatial data from GIS companies
  4. Locate and downlaod geo-spatial data from federal government resources

Objective 2
Understand and use a GPS to locate and collect data for a geo-spatial system or project.

  1. Demonstrate an understanding the components and functioning of a GPS
  2. Use a handheld GPS receiver to collect data
  3. Identify the limitations of the data collected with a GPS receiver
  4. Import data from a GPS receiver
  5. Manipulate data from a GPS receiver for use in a GIS application

Standard 3
Work with a GIS map to find features of interest, analyze patterns, and derive useful information.

Objective 1
Get started with GIS software, explorie GIS maps, and use GIS to solve problems

  1. Explore a GIS map to get information about map features.
  2. Add geographic data to a map.
  3. Describe the structure of a GIS map.
  4. Explain how a GIS represents real-world objects.
  5. Change the way features are drawn on a map.
  6. Access feature information in different ways.
  7. Describe spatial relationships of map features.
  8. Describe how GIS can be used to solve problems.

Standard 4
Classify, symbolize, and label map features to support data visualization and interpretation.

Objective 1
Work with map symbols and labels, create symbol features based on attributes, classify data, and map density and proportion

  1. Choose symbols for point, line, and polygon features.
  2. Modify symbol properties such as color, size, and outline.
  3. Label map features using an attribute and by adding text.
  4. Symbolize features to show type, rank, or amount.
  5. Group features into classes and apply symbols to each class.
  6. Compare different methods of grouping features into classes.
  7. Correct visual distortion caused by differences in area.
  8. Show proportional amounts on a map by normalizing data.
  9. Symbolize features to show density.

Objective 2
Reference data to real locations, understand coordinate systems, work with map projections

  1. Name two types of coordinate systems.
  2. Identify components of each type of coordinate system.
  3. Assign coordinate system information to a dataset.
  4. Set display units for a data frame and measure distances on a map.
  5. Explain what a map projection is.
  6. List the major categories of map projections.
  7. List spatial properties that may be distorted when different map projections are applied.
  8. Change the map projection for a data frame and describe its effects.

Standard 5
Create and edit geographic data to accurately represent real-world objects.

Objective 1
Understand and use geographic data

  1. List three shapes used in vector data.
  2. Identify two ways that vector and raster data are different.
  3. Explain the difference between a feature class and a layer.
  4. Describe the relationship between features and records.

Objective 2
Organize geographic data, explore geographic data, organize data into a geodatabase

  1. Describe two common data models used to represent geographic data.
  2. List different geographic data formats.
  3. Determine the data source of a layer in ArcMap.
  4. Identify data formats in ArcCatalog.
  5. Create a geodatabase.
  6. Add data from different formats to a geodatabase.

Objective 3
Create and edit data, editing feature shapes, edit feature attributes, create new features and attributes

  1. Describe the steps in the editing process.
  2. Move and delete features.
  3. Edit the shapes of line and polygon features.
  4. Edit the shapes of spatially related features simultaneously.
  5. Describe different ways to edit feature attributes.
  6. Create new features by digitizing.
  7. Create new point features from x,y coordinates.

Objective 4
Understand how remote sensing is used as a geo-spatial technology.

  1. Understand remote sensing & aerial photography
  2. Understand remote sensing & satellite imagery
  3. Identify features from satellite imagery
  4. Use data from remote sensing

Standard 6
Perform spatial analysis using queries, geoprocessing tools, and models.

Objective 1
Analyze geographic data

  1. List the three components of an attribute query.
  2. List the four types of relationships you can analyze with location query.
  3. Define buffer and give an example of when it is used.
  4. Define overlay and give an example of when it is used.
  5. List the five steps in the geographic inquiry process.
  6. Apply all five steps of the geographic inquiry process to solve a problem with GIS.

Objective 2
Use the GIS analytical process, ask questions and get answers, examine and present the results

  1. List the steps in a GIS analysis.
  2. Interpret an analysis plan that includes GIS tools, criteria, and workflow.
  3. Extend a layer attribute table by joining another table to it.
  4. Create and modify a selected set of features using a series of attribute and location queries.
  5. Explain the difference between attribute and location queries.
  6. Examine analysis results through maps, tables, and reports.
  7. Generate a report that presents the results of an analysis.

Objective 3
Work with geoprocessing and modeling tools, work with geoprocessing tools, creating and using models

  1. Explain what geoprocessing is.
  2. Choose the appropriate geoprocessing tool for a task.
  3. Describe what a model is and how to use one.
  4. List some advantages of using a model.
  5. Create, modify, and run a model.

Standard 7
Design high-quality maps and reports to share analysis results with others.

Objective 1
Understanding Geographic Data

  1. Explain what a thematic map is.
  2. Describe the difference between category and quantity attributes.
  3. Recognize the difference between graduated colors and graduated symbols.
  4. Describe the purpose of a map layout.

Objective 2
Design maps with GIS software, work with map layouts, create a presentation map

  1. Understand and apply basic cartographic design principles.
  2. List elements that can be included on a map.
  3. Create a map layout.
  4. Create and modify a map legend.
  5. Add and modify decorative map elements.
  6. Convert feature labels to annotation.
  7. Apply a template to design a map layout.

Standard 8
Explore careers in the geo-spatial industry.

Objective 1
Develops and uses workplace skills and behaviors

  1. Works independently
  2. Communicates effectively dn appropriately
  3. Preforms reliably and responsibly
  4. Works with other effectively and respectfully
  5. Is punctual and follows directions
  6. Works cooperatively
  7. Takes initiative
  8. Responds appropriately to constructive criticism

Objective 2
Explore careers in the geo-spatial field

  1. Identify careers that use geo-spatial skills
  2. Identify education and/or certifications needed to work in a geo-spatial field
  3. Identify geo-spatial professional organizations

Standard 9
Create a Geo-spatial Project

Objective 1
Identify, plan, complete, and publish a local geo-spatial project

  1. Identify a local geo-spatial project
  2. Determine the time, scope, and resources needed for the project
  3. Plan a data inventory
  4. Acquire data, organize, manage, and maintain data files
  5. Analyze, interpert, and model the information
  6. Create maps
  7. Communicate, publish, and present the project

UEN logo - in partnership with Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).  Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist - Carl Lyman and see the CTE/Information Technology Education website. For general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director - THALEA LONGHURST .  

These materials have been produced by and for the teachers of the State of Utah. Copies of these materials may be freely reproduced for teacher and classroom use. When distributing these materials, credit should be given to Utah State Board of Education. These materials may not be published, in whole or part, or in any other format, without the written permission of the Utah State Board of Education, 250 East 500 South, PO Box 144200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200.