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Are You Struggling With GIS?...
More About This Course:
Do you want to add mapping to your armoury of data analysis and presentation tools, but just don’t know how to make a start?
Maps are the missing tool in so many professional’s toolkits. Maps are the ultimate communication tool whether your audience is decision makers, stakeholders or academics.
Whether you have previous experience with GIS or not, it doesn't matter. Download the work files, then work along-side me in the videos using the exact same maps. You’ll soon start to see how you can apply GIS to your own projects.
You get to eavesdrop as I work, and gain insight into how a GIS analyst works and thinks.
The idea is to make this self-contained GIS course fun and easy, and cut out all the techo-gibberish that seems to accompany so many GIS tutorials!
Be sure to click on the "take this course" button on the top right corner. You have nothing to lose. In fact, you've got a lot to gain.
See you inside!
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|Section 1: Step 1: What is a Geographical Information System (GIS)|
Firstly...welcome to my course.
Every time someone enrolls I feel like I'm having a visitor over for afternoon tea. I do enjoy being a host, and I'd like to think that comes through to my students. Although I'm new to Udemy, I'm not new to online teaching. I pride myself on giving the best student-experience I possibly can so please be sure to make use of the course resources and the Q&A area.
Q&A area: It would be great if you would introduce yourself in the Q&A area, and let everyone know why you want to learn GIS. And, please don't be too shy to ask questions. If you're having a problem, odds-on someone else in the course is having the same one. Questions can also indicate to me that my explanations are unclear or that I need to add new content.
Resources: Don't forget to look for resources in each lecture. The Resources Area becomes visible when you move your mouse onto a video - its at the top-left of the video. You can also see them in the Course Content area.
I really look forward to you getting a great result from the course.
See you inside
Let’s begin by talking about what a Geographical Information System (GIS) is. A really good way to understand that, is to look at what GIS was! Prior to GIS, it was common for people to create custom maps to help them solve geographical problems. GIS is still used to create custom maps – it just does that more efficiently and effectively than the old way.
I want to show you two mapping projects from the history books. The first is an Epidemiology project from the 1850's and the second is an Environmental Planning project from the 1960's. As I go through the studies I’ll point out some important parallels with present-day GIS. The techniques used in these projects are both simple and logical. I hope you take the time to understand them. Even though they’re paper based, these two studies can form a fantastic foundation for understanding some of the things you can do with GIS, and also, importantly, some of the issues you’ll be faced with when you do your own GIS project...
Don't forget to look for resources in each lecture. Almost every lecture is accompanied by a downloadable transcript of the video that can be downloaded from within the Resources area. The Resources area becomes visible when you move your mouse onto a video - its at the top-left of the video. Almost every video has closed captions. You access the captions by moving your mouse to the bottom right corner of the video - to the left of the volume control is the closed-captions button. Also, some sections have a Text containing additional explanations, screen captures, etc. This also can be downloaded from the resources area.
You will learn: that although maps can add a wonderful dimension to studies, they should not always be accepted at face-value.
John Snow if often referred to as one of the Fathers of GIS. His 1854 Cholera study included a mapping exercise is important to the study of GIS. During the outbreak over five hundred people in the Soho district of London died in just ten days. Simplistically, with the aid of a map, John Snow was able to convince local officials that a water well was the source of the infection. They removed the pump handle from the well and the outbreak ended. It’s not quite that simple though. A purely GIS-style technology solution would not have yielded a result that would have convinced Town Officials to remove the pump handle. As you watch the video, look out for four parallels with modern-day GIS...
You will learn: 1) The importance of making the effort to assemble the maps that are important to your study, and 2) the principle of Map Overlay.
In McHarg is also often referred to as another Father of GIS. We're about to have a look at one of his 1960s Environmental Planning studies. As with the John Snow example, Ian McHarg developed a spatial technique – GIS is just a tool that made the technique more efficient.
In the previous video about Dr John Snow's cholera mapping exercise, I asked you to look out for the following GIS parallels...
In the same vane, I want you to look out for two things in this video about Ian McHarg.
1. SPATIAL DATABASE CREATION: By this, I mean the attention that Ian McHarg paid to bringing a bunch of maps together at the same scale
2. MAP OVERLAY: Map Overlay is only possible once a spatial database is in place. If you understand map overlay then you are a long way along the path to understanding GIS. Map overlay is the idea that you can overlay maps onto each other and see different bits of information relating to the same place. It’s used day-to-day in so many organizations these days. At its simplest, someone might overlay property outlines onto an air photo. At its most complex, researchers might relate multiple maps to each other using map weighting or statistical techniques.
You will learn: The four types of spatial data in a GIS – points, lines, polylines and polygons.
They sound simple, but they are very powerful!
In the next step we going to install the free Quantum GIS. I’ll talk about why Quantum GIS and not some other GIS, show you how to download it, show you how to install it, show you how to install the sample datasets, and we’ll open our first GIS map.
|Quiz 1||6 questions|
Questions about the GIS concepts - Answer the MOST correct.
|Section 2: Step 2: Install the FREE Open Source Quantum GIS and open a GIS map|
IMPORTANT DOWNLOAD ATTACHED: Attached is a pdf containing the text for this lesson. Its 21 pages long and compliments the videos. I recommend that you download this, print it out and have it by your side as you do the exercises.
Today I’m going to give you a quick overview of Quantum GIS.
I’m going to show you how to...
You will learn: Where to find the FREE Open Source Quantum GIS and how to download it.
Downloading files from the internet can be tricky if you haven’t done much of it before. So, in this video I show you...
Sorry to all you Linux and Mac users. I’m only showing this for Windows. I assume that the process is fairly similar though.
You will learn: How to install QGIS
Once the Quantum GIS setup file has been downloaded, all you need to do is double-click on it and then follow the prompts. Installing QGIS can be a bit tricky if you haven’t installed many things before, so you might want to watch the video and follow the pdf attachment.
Quantum GIS gets upgraded all the time so you can expect that the setup screens you see on your computer will be slightly different to the ones in this video. However, the installation process will be the same.
You will learn: How to uninstall QGIS (if ever you need to)
There’s a whole bunch of reasons why you might want to uninstall QGIS. Any program can continually get in a tangle and sometimes the only solution is to uninstall and reinstall it. Here’s how you uninstall!
Hint: If your computer is an old-clunker, you’ll need to do your best to get every bit of performance out of it. So, be sure to defragment your hard disk before you reinstall QGIS. See this article for a further explanation http://windows.microsoft.com/en-au/windows/improve-performance-defragmenting-hard-disk#1TC=windows-7
IMPORTANT DOWNLOAD ATTACHED: Attached is a zip file containing the maps used in this lesson. You need this dataset if you plan on following along with the videos.
You will learn: How to download the sample dataset and how to UnZip it onto your computer
The teaching dataset I use covers Yarmouth Massachusetts. It is contained in a winzip file that can be downloaded from the resources area of this lecture.
If you’re comfortable downloading and unzipping a zip file then you don’t really need to watch this video. Just make sure that when you unzip, you end up with a directory structure of...[YourName]Desktop\LearnPracticalGIS\TheChallenge
The first one and a half minutes of the video is about downloading the data files from the Udemy resource area - its a bit clunky because I had to adapt a video that was produced for a different site (if anyone has problems please message me). The remainder of the video is about how to extract the files using winzip and is fine.
At this point I would like to very gratefully acknowledge the Office of Geographic Information (MassGIS), Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Information Technology Division. They have compiled and made available the GIS maps and data you are about to download.
You will learn: How to launch QGIS
There are four different ways to launch Quantum GIS. Via...
In this lecture I show each of them.
You will learn: About GIS at a conceptual level.
I talk about which buttons set QGIS (and other geographical information systems) apart from basic map "viewers" such as Google Maps and why.
You will learn: A functionality overview of the Map Window and the Map Layers Window
There’s a whole bunch of stuff you can do in the Map Window. As you would expect, you can display a map! But you can also zoom in and out, pan (move the map sideways), and even do some simple mouse-based query (click on something with your mouse and find stuff out about it).
However, the engine-room for QGIS is the Layers Window. From here you can make maps display (or not), you can change the order of maps (so they appear on top of or underneath other maps), and you can change the map’s properties (eg. its color). This is a good time to have a play with changing the order of maps.
You will learn: 1) How to open a vector map, and 2) important information about esri shapefiles and other GIS formats
I reckon that you’re all excited at the prospect of opening your first map in QGIS. Well, I need to show you a bit of stuff before we start looking at the Land Use map that we’ll be shading.
In this video I want to show you how to open a Vector map of cadastre (property boundaries). In the next video I’ll show you how to open a Raster air photograph. We’ll use both of these maps all the way through this Challenge. In the final section, many of you will be surprised at how relevant these are to our Land Use mapping task!
Vector GIS maps are maps of points (eg. power poles), lines (eg. roads) and polygons (eg. property boundaries). The format of the map we’re about to open is called a Shape file. Although shape files are an unsophisticated GIS format, they’re also an industry standard and so are compatible with most (if not all) GIS’s.
PS. Before you watch the video be sure to download the sample dataset so you can practice what I show you. If you haven’t already downloaded them, I show you how to download it in the “How to install the sample dataset” lecture.
You will learn: 1) How to open a raster (air photo) map, and 2) important information about raster GIS formats
In this video I show you how to open a GIS air photo. The air photo we'll be using is one that has been processed to remove photographic distortion and be geographically correct.
In the next step we going to do a cooks tour of QGIS. I'll show you generic functionality that's available in most (if not all) GIS software, including the likes of ESRI, MapInfo, Maptitude, etc..
|Quiz 2||6 questions|
Questions about installing & launching QGIS, and opening a GIS map. Answer the MOST correct
|Section 3: Step 3: Introduction to the QGIS desktop|
IMPORTANT DOWNLOAD ATTACHED: Attached is a pdf containing the text for this lesson. Its 9 pages long and compliments the videos. I recommend that you download this and have it by your side as you do the exercises.
There’s a whole bunch of buttons in Quantum GIS. In this step I’m going to take you on a cook’s tour of some of the interactive ones. By interactive I mean things you can do with your mouse. The functionality I'm about to show you is available in most, if not all, GISs.
I’ll finish this tour in the next section.
You will learn: How to use Project Files to recreate screen environments from days, months or even years ago
Every GIS has its own version of the Project button pad - its generic GIS functionality.
Projects allow you to begin work in the morning with your QGIS desktop looking exactly as it when you finished work at the end of the previous day. Watch and see...
You will learn: How to change the color, and line and fill styles of a map
From within the Layer Properties dialog box you can change the look of a map... its color, line styles and fill styles. There’s a fair bit for you to play with in here so you should take the time to do that.
You will learn: How to Pan and Zoom in the map window
The Navigation button pad has all the tools to help you move around the map canvas. To me, these tools are so much easier to use than the ones on so many web mapping systems. Now the differences between a true GIS and a web based map browser begin to emerge!
You will learn: How to find out information about a polygon in a map by clicking on it with your mouse
You’d better get used to hearing “this is really exciting” from me because I seem to say it a lot. In this case what’s exciting is the database that lies behind the map.
The database that lies behind a GIS map what sets GIS a GIS map apart from a paper map. Here I show you the most basic GIS query functionality... You get to click on a polygon and find out stuff about it. It may seem a bit lame that I’m getting so excited about this, but imagine the sorts of things this functionality is setting us up for... Imagine being able to query very large GIS maps all at once. Hmmmm. Maybe you can’t imagine that sort of stuff yet, but trust me, it actually is very exciting!
In the next step of the 5 Step GIS Challenge I’ll be talking about GIS Data Query and GIS Map Interpretation. Its very much a continuation of the Cooks Tour of Quantum GIS that we started in this lesson. I’ll show you...
|Quiz 3||4 questions|
Questions about the QGIS desktop. Answer the MOST correct.
|Section 4: Step 4: More Buttons and How to Interpret Maps|
IMPORTANT DOWNLOAD ATTACHED: Attached is a pdf containing the text for this lesson. Its 13 pages long and compliments the videos. I recommend that you download this, print it out and have it by your side as you do the exercises.
There’s a whole bunch of buttons in Quantum GIS and in this step I’m going to continue our cook’s tour of them that we started in Step 3. Here’s what we’ll be talking about
You will learn: 1) How to select a map object interactively with your mouse, and 2) why geographical selection functionality is important.
This series of tools is very important because they allow you to interactively select objects you’re interested in. For example, a water utility could click on the properties next to a water pipe and find out who to notify about maintenance works.
You will learn: 1) How to open the attribute table that lies behind a GIS map 2) That each row in a attribute table relates to an object on the accompanying map 3) You can query a table and then display the results on your map.
Map objects (eg. a land parcel) and their attributes (eg. the owner of the land parcel) are linked in a GIS.
While Geographical Selection buttons allowed us to click on a land parcel and find out who owns it, in contrast, from within the attribute table dialog, you could type in someone’s name and get a map of all the land they own.
You will learn: How to use measurement tools to measure lengths and areas with your mouse
Measuring things on-screen is bread and butter for many government agencies. For example, when someone applies for a building permit, government might want to know how big a block is, or how far it is from sensitive environmental areas or conflicting land uses.
You will learn: Five pieces of information you can get from the map Status bar.
When you’re working on a map, there’s a whole bunch of stuff about the map that you need to keep an eye on. From here you can see things such as the display scale, the coordinate of the mouse and the coordinate system the map.
You will learn: That the shapes and patterns you see in vector maps can be surrogates for other important information.
Here’s my first attempt to get you to think like a GIS analyst. I’ve talked about being a “tourist” before. So...don’t be a tourist! When you look at a GIS map, pay a bit of attention to what some of the shapes you’re looking at might mean.
There are many tricks for interpreting vector maps. I like to think in terms of “surrogates”. Here’s three examples....
You will learn: That the shapes, shadows and colors, you see in air photos can be surrogates for other important information.
Guess what. The time for pressing buttons is over. Now I want you to think! To me, this is the most fun part of GIS. You pull a bunch of maps and databases together and you get to figure out the puzzle! If you look closely and “think”, air photos can provide many clues about what’s going on in an area both environmentally and culturally.
The air photos we use in this exercise are packed with examples like this.
What's in Step 5?
|Quiz 4||6 questions|
Answer the MOST correct
|Section 5: Step 5: How to shade a map|
Welcome to the Fifth Step of the 5 Step GIS Challenge. We’re finally going to shade our map. As you’ll see, that’s the easy bit. Here’s what I'm going to talk about...
There’s a fair bit to cover so be sure to stick around for the nitty-gritty.
You will learn: Every column in a table has the potential to be a shaded map.
In this video, I'm going to talk about tables. Tables are very important because every GIS map has a table associated with it. If you're not sure what I mean by the term “Table”, imagine an Excel spreadsheet and you're on your way to understanding, at a basic level, what a table is.
Each polygon has a row in the table that's associated with it. In terms of what we’re doing in this Step, the really important thing to understand is that every column of information in a GIS table can be used to create a thematic map - a map and legend that’s coloured according to the values that are within a column.
You will learn: How to simplify a map without losing its detail.
In this video you’ll see that the appearance of our Land Use map is heavily influenced by the way the data in it is categorized. There's two facets to this...
You need to watch this video to understand the details of this.
You will learn: How to shade a map from a table containing categorical data
Now, let's look at shading our map. There's three options in here.
Single Symbol: Shading the map all in the same color - really important if you're just doing simple map overlay.
Graduated: This is by far the most tricky of the three. It's a shading technique for numerical data. For data such as critter density or tons of fruit per hectare, or numbers of teenagers living in towns. How you go about dividing the data into classes will vary from project-to-project.
Categorized: As the name suggests, this is shading according to categories or names. This what we’ll be doing today - mapping Land Use categories such as Agriculture, Recreation and Urban uses. Aside from showing you how to map our Land Use categories I’ll also show you how to approach determining a Shading Scheme for your map.
In the video, I also suggest some starting points to finding a good color scheme for your map categories.
You will learn: Tips for validating the information in maps
In this video I want to talk about validating our map. Too often, maps look convincing and authoritative because they're shaded and presented nicely. People take maps at face-value too often without considering the quality of the information within them. I want us to spend some time comparing our Land Use map to other maps we have at our disposal, just to see if there's any data quality issues going on
You will learn: How to create a series of maps that show Change Through Time
In this video I’ll show you a technique for doing a visual analysis of Land Use change. There are undoubtedly far more sophisticated techniques for doing this that would also produce quantitative data. But I just want to use this visual technique to start getting your minds turning over with some of the possibilities of GIS analysis. This same technique could be used for other types of studies. For example, you could have qualitative maps representing change over time of vegetation quality or habitat quality or health outcomes. The possibilities are endless!
|Quiz 5||6 questions|
Questions about shading a GIS map and the tables that lie behind GIS maps. Answer the MOST correct.
|Section 6: Course Summary and Where To From Here|
In this final video I want to do a quick recap of the topics we've covered, and then I want to ask you…”where to from here?” – that’s going to take a bit of teamwork, and when we get to that bit of the video I think you’ll see why.
We have covered a lot of ground…
We started out by looking at historical examples of mapping studies to demonstrate how firmly modern GIS is rooted in manual mapping techniques...
Then I showed you…
Of course, we have only just touched the surface of what you can do with GIS. But I’d like to think that we’ve also made a good start together.
This Udemy course is a bit of an experiment for me, and this is where you and I need to work as a team on the “WHAT NEXT” bit.
I am currently running six other similarly detailed GIS lessons as an entire GIS course on another site. Each follow-along-with-the-video lesson covers a stand-alone topic that I could fairly quickly add to Udemy if there was enough demand. Examples of topics are…
If enough of you show interest I’d be happy to upload the most requested lessons to Udemy too, so I’d be grateful if you’d indicate if any of these appeal to you. Just let me know in the Q&A area.
Please write a Review of this course for me: Testimonials and reviews are the currency of Udemy. The more of them I get, the more students I get, and so the more time I can devote to adding new courses and improving existing ones. As you can see, Reviews are good for everybody! So, now that you’ve finished this course, PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW .
Thank you and I hope to see you in another course soon.
|Section 7: Bonus Materials|
Download the 7 GIS Secrets Revealed eBook
Hi. It's great to meet you.
My introductory GIS course uses the free Quantum GIS, and comes from the place of an experienced GIS consultant.
* I teach Professional people how to incorporate “spatial” into their projects.
* I teach GIS technicians how to work with the non GIS savvy.
I have worked with Geographical Information Systems for over two decades. While working as an analyst-programmer in the banking sector I studied geography at Monash University. In 1992 I began researching and then teaching Geographical Information Systems. It was at a time when computers were slow, software was clunky and little geographical data were available. I co-wrote Monash University’s first two GIS courses – Social Applications of GIS (using census and other data) and Environmental Applications of GIS (using grid and satellite imagery). Both courses were ahead of their time - multi-media and delivered online. They were taught to undergraduate and postgraduate students.
GIS is a very broad topic and there are many ways to teach it. My approach is that of a geographer who uses GIS as a tool to solve geographical problems. Most GISs these days are similarly capable, but for me there is a problem in that too many GIS professionals do not understand the data they manage. Too often I see professionals discussing this-or-that modelling algorithm while failing to understand that the data they’re using for their modelling is not up to the task.
Currently based in Victoria, Australia, I have consulted on a diverse range of projects – environmental, sustainability planning, and human. Clients have included the United Nations, the Australian Federal Government, Victorian State Government, Local Governments, Australian Universities, and Water Utilities.
My refereed publications are diverse…
* Environmental sustainability modelling for Local Government planning.
* Housing affordability modelling for State Government planning.
* Buried asset condition modelling for the water industry