Spring 2014

With the fast development of computer technology, understanding and being able to work with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other visualizationsoftware programs have become an often required skill set for urban planners and designers. This class covers some of the most popular digitalvisualization programs used by planners and designers and focuses on the methods of digital visualization, communication and their applications to urbanissues. Through a series of lab exercises, the instructor will introduce three specific software packages and demonstrate their applications with realurban projects. The set of software used in this course includes: ArcGIS, Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, Google Sketchup and Google Earth. The overall goalsof this class are:

  • To obtain working knowledge of the visualization software packages commonly used in the practice world and develop competency, especially in theiranalytical capabilities.
  • To learn to communicate spatially using digital visualization tools with the general public, clients, and professionals (e.g. urban planners,designers, architects, and engineers).

This course is organized into two parts: 1) introduction to GIS; 2) digital visualization. During the first half of the semester, the course will run as alecture/lab combination and explore many basic geo-spatial analysis techniques using ArcGIS, including:


Over the second half of the semester, the course will go through a number of computer visualization programs and learn how to integrate them together in areal planning project. The computer software packages covered in this course include Photoshop, InDesign, SketchUp and Google Earth. Registered studentswill receive a one-year free student copy of ArcGIS software. Students are also encouraged to form study groups to discuss and practice digitalvisualization tools together.

  • Data Acquisition, File Organization, Map production
  • GIS/Query & Vector Analysis w/ Map Overlay
  • Raster Analysis w/ Spatial Analyst
  • Presenting Census Data in GIS