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Introduction to Spatial Thinking and ArcGIS

Map of Devastating 2003 Heat Wave in the Netherlands Observed from MODIS Satellite. Mehdi Aminipouri (PhD Candidate in Geography at SFU)

  • Which areas in Ontario are susceptible to drought? Which areas are susceptible to longer periods of drought and which to shorter periods?
  • What is the travel route of the Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna)? Does it pass close to areas where predators are present, specifically those which prey on eggs?
  • Are neighbourhoods with low socioeconomic status spatially correlated to high morbidity rates?

Many of these questions ask about the spatial relationship between two or more phenomena. This workshop is an introduction to spatial thinking and the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This workshop assumes attendees have no previous experience with GIS.

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • think spatially about their research;
  • understand the elements of GIS;
  • use a leading industry software (ArcGIS);
  • create simple maps using geospatial data;
  • look for and find geospatial data and resources.

Software:  Participants will need to bring their own computer, running the Windows operating system. This workshop requires the use of ArcGIS Desktop, which is available for download and can be installed on Windows operating systems only. Instructions on installing ArcGIS Desktop and other necessary information will be sent out to participants closer to the workshop date.

Workshop page (SFU Canvas): GIS workshops page includes workshop descriptions and suggested streams for different disciplines, handouts, slides, and example datasets


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