11.188 : Urban Planning and Social Science Laboratory

11.205: Intro to Spatial Analysis (1st half-semester)
11.520: Workshop on GIS (2nd half-semester)

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Course Description (Spring 2017)

This class uses lab exercises and a workshop setting to help students develop a solid understanding of the planning and public management uses of geographic information systems (GIS). The goals are to help students:

  • Acquire technical skills in the use of GIS software.
  • Acquire qualitative methods skills in data and document gathering, analyzing information, and presenting results.
  • Investigate the potential and practicality of GIS technologies in a typical planning setting and evaluate possible applications.

The workshop teaches GIS techniques, introductory spatial analysis, and basic database management. The content of the first half-semester (11.205) meets the 'spaital analysis' requirement for the MCP degree and includes a bit more database management (using MS-Access) than is covered in the Fall version of 11.205. The second half of the semester (11.520) includes additional work with model building tools (Model Builder), and web mapping (CartoDB) plus a small, individual project that exercises the concepts and tools learned earlier in the semester. The undergraduat subject number, 11.188, covers the full semester and satisfies the Institute laboratory requirement for undergraduates.

We try to teach GIS methods and techniques with some attention to open-ended planning questions that invite spatial analysis but will:

  • Require judgment and exploration to select relevant data and mapping techniques,
  • Involve mixing and matching new, local data with extracts from official records (such as census data, parcel data and regional employment and population forecasts),
  • Utilize spatial analysis techniques such as buffering, address matching, and spatial overlays
  • Use other modeling and visualization techniques beyond thematic mapping, and
  • Raise questions about the skills, strategy, and organizational support needed to sustain such analytic capability within a variety of local and regional planning settings.

Class Meetings

  • Lecture: Wednesday, 2:30-4:00 PM in the City Arena (Room 9-255)
  • Lab Preparation & Lab: Monday, 2:30-5:00 in Room W31-301
    [Hearing the Lab prep presentation at 2:30 and starting the exercise are the key lab parts. Students can leave for other classes beginning at 3:30 or 4 and finish the exercises later on their own.
  • Additional lab times: Friday, 1:00-3:00 in 9-554 (the fifth floor computing lab) - other lab times will be arranged if needed

Last modified on 5 Feb. 2017 by [jf]

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