Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Modelling

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The Geographic Information Systems and Environmental course is the natural and logical prosecution of the Environmental Information Systems module in the Bachelor's (BSc) degree. It is targeted to improve and strengthen skills and competences of students by promoting a deeper investigation of theoretical and practical concepts and methods learned by students who graduated from the BSc, the analysis of new issues concerning data storage, query, management, analysis and visualization as well as the application of environmental modelling techniques
Expected learning outcomes
Students will improve their skills and competences in georeferenced environmental data storage, query, management, analysis and visualization GIS-based concepts and techniques
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Teaching methods
As the Covid-19 emergency continues, the lessons/exercises will be held in mixed mode on the Microsoft Teams platform and can be followed synchronously according to the established timetable. In more detail, a reduced number of students (50% of the computer room capacity) will be able to follow the lessons/exercises in presence (it will be a student's choice) while the rest will follow at a distance. Once evaluated the availability of the computer room and the non-overlapping with other teaching activities, the chance of duplicating the course will be considered, thus favouring the in-presence mode.
The ESRI ArcGIS software will be used and will have licenses for both the computer room and the students' PCs (which can be activated remotely).

Program and reference material
The program and reference material will not change due to Covid-19 outbreak emergency.

Learning verification and evaluation criteria
The learning verification and evaluation criteria will not change due to Covid-19 outbreak emergency. The exam will last 3 hours and take place in written form in a computer room using the ArcGIS software. If necessary, several exam rounds will be organized (within the same exam session) with no more than 6/8 students each (less than 30 % of the classroom capacity) for several consecutive days in order to allow the sanitizing operations of the computer room.
The exam grade will be expressed in thirtieth.
Rejection of the grade or failure to pass the exam do not prevent the student from registering for the next exam session.
There are no intermediate examinations.
There are no special materials request to take the exam.
The results of the test will be communicated telematically through the Examination Verbalization service on the UNIMI intranet site.

The exam will:
- ascertain the achievement of the objectives in terms of theoretical knowledge;
- verify the practical ability to apply the knowledge acquired through a three-hour exercise, carried out entirely in the computer room, using the ArcGIS software.
Course syllabus
1 - Introduction: new tools and advanced methodologies for spatial data analysis.
2 - External, conceptual, logical and internal conceptual data model for database design and implementation.
3 - Database and Database Management Systems: tools for database design, managing and querying; normalization rules and query functions (mathematical, conditional and Boolean criteria).
4 - Creating topographic maps from scratch: topographic and 3D analysis.
5 - Creating thematic maps from scratch: procedures for map geo-referencing, data capturing and digitizing, database uploading, map symbolizing.
6 - Advanced spatial data analysis functions: advanced geoprocessing analysis tools.
7 - Legislative elements in terms of use and distribution of environmental data (Creative Commons - CC license).
8 - Future development (open GIS, 3D, ).
Prerequisites for admission
The fundamental prerequisite consists in having attended the Environmental Information Systems (SIA) module of the Environmental and Territorial Economics course in the third year of the Bachelor's Degree in Natural Sciences (or similar courses).
Teaching methods
Teaching method: traditional method by lessons and computer-based exercises using GIS software. Frequency: strongly recommended. Exam method: written exercise by using GIS software.
Teaching Resources
Lesson slides, exercise texts databases and GIS software are available in the Biology Dept. computing room. Students must register in advance in the computing room to obtain their login and password.
M. Boffi (2004) - Scienza dell'Informazione Geografica - Introduzione ai GIS. Zanichelli editore.
S. Aronoff (1991) - Geographic Information Systems: A Management Perspective. Wdl Pubns.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of a compulsory written test to be carried out entirely on the computer, lasting three hours, which will involve the resolution of an application-type exercise, having difficulties and contents similar to those faced during the cycle of lessons / exercises.
The criteria applied for exam evaluation will concern:
- the student's ability to conceptually model the problem to be addressed;
- the student's ability to logically model the problem to be addressed;
- the correct application of GIS tools and functions to solve the problem.
Any additional information on how to carry out the exam and on the evaluation criteria will be illustrated during the course.
INF/01 - INFORMATICS - University credits: 6
Practicals with elements of theory: 36 hours
Lessons: 24 hours