Computing for GIS
This unit is designed to assist the technical GIS educator in identifying the computer skills required for GIS tasks. Basic computer literacy skills are presented as a foundation for technical GIS computing skills. The latter are organized into several categories (e.g. ‘Systems’, ‘Programming’, ‘Databases’), with lists of skills at different levels of achievement (Awareness, Competency, Mastery). The computing skills are hyperlinked to the Follow-up Units section. The Example Applications sections presents 3 common implementation models of GIS programs or courses in Community Colleges, based on the amount of GIS and computer courses included in the curriculum. An assumption of this unit is that the student possesses the following basic computer literacy skills prior to entering a GIS course or program, Group 1 – Community Colleges which have 1 or 2 courses in GIS within a traditional course of geographic studies. The focus is on providing the student with exposure to basic principles of GIS, applications examples and elementary use of GIS software. There may be little or no flexibility in the curriculum for the student to take additional computer courses. Generally speaking, the student will possess good awareness and some competencies in the various categories of GIS computer skills after completing the course of studies. Group 2 – Community Colleges with an AAS or similar degree or certificate program in GIS, which have a component of computer skills required for graduation. For example, there may be a required programming course for GIS customization, or a course in Relational Databases or CAD. Students gain some computer competencies and mastery. Group 3 – Institutions which offers a highly specialized diploma/certificate program in GIS, and which are characterized by significantly more emphasis on programming, systems, databases etc. Such programs might require a university or college degree as prerequisite, and the course of studies centers on GIS and related subjects. Students gain competency and mastery in many areas of computing. Awareness is demonstrated by being able to define each concept, for example, ‘What is a computer program ?’ Competency is demonstrated by being able to to apply knowledge in a practical fashion. For example, students would be able to write computer programs in a high level langauge. Mastery is demonstrated by being able to apply knowledge in a practical fashion, in an area of advanced computing technology. For example, students would be able to develop a GIS application using component software technology. Unit 9 demonstrates why students need to know scripting languages and have an understanding of the internal representation of data and files. Unit 13 on digitizing gives examples of data entry and how data management skills, such as edge matching, are used. Unit 16 covers planning a scanning project and emphasizes the importance of understanding image characteristics for data acquisition. See also Unit 18 on airphotos. Units 33 to 46 cover basic GIS analysis. See Unit 42(map algebra), Unit 45 (location/allocation ), Unit 46 (address matching), for advanced analysis topics. Unit 1 requires the student to have a good understanding of files, transfer protocols and compression methods. Unit 6 also gives examples of how to use the Internet to acquire data. Source.