Introduction and Rationale

The role of a GIS user/professional is highly variable. On the surface, there's all this wonderful software with lovely buttons; all you need to know is how to drive the software. However, step inside and it's a different story. The buttons don't really do quite what you think, plotters don't work, digitizers are always a pain to setup, there are network issues, programming is often necessary, file backups, hardware/software compatability issues, etc..... In short, things are a lot more complicated than is first apparent. In many places, the poor GIS schmuk ends up as the organization's network manager, database manager, and all-around tech support person.

Therefore, it is necessary for the GIS user/professional to understand computers. Not just the pretty GUI stuff, but the guts. Not (necessarily) to the level of a true computer scientist (but it helps), but definitely beyond the average computer user.

Unfortunately, many students entering GIS classes are woefully underprepared - they lack a basic understanding of both how computers work and how to navigate within a computer environment. Our university no longer teaches an introduction to computer science class - it has devolved into an introduction to the internet and MS Office. More than sufficient for the average computer user, but not for a GIS'er.

Therefore, I have developed this mini-course to flesh out student's basic knowledge prior to taking GIS classes. In short, I expect them to know all the included material - plus basic knowledge of MS Office and the internet


Website design and maintenance by
Dr. Robert Hickey

last updated July, 2018