Hydrologic Applications of GIS

Spring, 2004


Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer application that captures, querys, integrates, analyzes, and displays spatial data. It has developed into a very powerful problem-solving tool over the past decade as computer processors have become faster and electronic data have become more available. A wide range of disciplines now utilize GIS, including hydrogeologists. In this part of the class you will become familiar with the functionality of ArcInfo 8, the "industry standard" GIS application, and use it as a tool to examine hydrology problems. Prior experience with GIS is not expected, but a general proficiency with Microsoft Windows (file management) is expected*.

This class will meet on Monday and Friday mornings in the east side of the Computer Applications Lab (CAL). GIS will be taught in two 5-week sections. The first section (weeks 1-5), will be for students that are not going on the Grand Canyon trip, the second section (weeks 6-10), will be for students that did go on the Grand Canyon trip and any other students that feel uncomfortable working independently for the first two weeks. The curriculum of the two sections will be exactly the same. The advantage of the first session is that you will have time to get through the material (and it will take quite a bit of lab time) without the burden of the other components for the first two weeks. The self-paced workshops are very well designed and I found last year that students rarely needed any additional help. I have arranged for CAL staff with GIS experience to be available during lab time to answer any questions you might have (Monday and Friday mornings).

The text, Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop, comes with a fully functional 180-day trial version of ArcView 8 and data for working the book's tutorials. With ArcView you can create maps, query data, edit and analyze spatial features and attributes but ArcView is not as powerful as ArcInfo, the application we will be focusing on during the last three weeks of each section. ArcView 8 menus are very similar to ArcInfo 8 menus, so learning to navigate ArcView also teaches you to navigate in ArcInfo.

*If you are less than comfortable using Windows, please let me know and I will set up a tutoring session.

NOTE: The ArcGIS Demo Edition software on the CD in this edition requires the Microsoft Windows 2000, XP, or NT(Service Pack 6a) operating system. Hardware requirements are a minimum 450 MHz processing speed; 128 MB RAM; 800 MB hard disk space, including 50 MB on the operating system drive; an additional 215 MB hard disk space is required for the exercise data; exercise data.

Ormsby, Tim, Napolean, Eileen, Burke, Robert, Groessl, Carolyn, and Feaster, Laura, 2001, Getting to Know ArcGIS Desktop: ESRI Press, Redlands, CA, 538pp.

Week Topic
1 & 2 Getting to Know ArcDesktop Tutorials
Read chapters 1,2,3; exercises 3a,b,c; exercises 4a,b,c; exercises 5a,b,d; exercises 6a,b; exercises 8a,b; exercises 9a,b; exercise 10a; exercises 11c,d; exercises 13a,bThis schedule requires that you work through approximately 4 chapters per week (2 chapters/lab). Different students will work at different rates, but this should be regarded as the minimum. If you find yourself getting through them more quickly (or have previous GIS experience) I urge you to work through additional exercises, particularly those in Section 5 (chapters 10-13) and Section 6 (chapters 14-17).
3 Introduction to Spatial Analyst (DEM and LIDAR data)
Watershed analysis, stream profiles, coastal flooding, groundwater flooding
4 Ground-water Susceptibility Model
Regional models, integrating multiple grid themes
5 Water Table Maps and Final Project
Point to grid, Theis precipitation model

Getting Started on the Exercises
You have the option of completing the exercises using the ArcView 8.1 application and data that come with the book. If you opt for this, read the installation instructions that come with the CD and follow the directions at the beginning of the first exercise to launch the program and load the data.

If you are working in the CAL, you can use ArcINFO 8.3 (similar to ArcView 8.1) by selecting Start (bottom left of desktop), then Programs, then GIS Tools, then ArcGIS 8.3, and finally ArcMap. The data for the exercises are located in Sockeye/GISData/Tutorials/GTKArcGIS. For best results you should copy the data folders that you will need and paste them into C:/temp. If you aren't sure how to do this talk to the CAL staff, they can help you with this step.

A Word of Warning
The exercises are written in a very linear manner, with every step clearly explained; this makes it very easy to work through them without digesting what is it that you are doing. I suggest that you take time at the end of each exercise to review how you manipulated the data.