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GEOG 481/581

GIScience I

This page is designed to give students an idea of what to expect in GIScience I at the University of Oregon. I am continually updating this page as I talk to students. 


GIScience I, despite it's 400/500 numbering in the UO catalog is designed to be an introductory course for students of all majors/backgrounds to get an idea of what GIS technology is, how it can be used, why it exists the way it does, and to get your hands on GIS technology and learn from your own perspective what it can do and how it might be useful towards your future career, research, or general interests. 

Your Professor for
GIScience I

My name is Carolyn Fish. I am an assistant professor in the Geography Department here at the University of Oregon. I have been at UO since 2018 and I teach GIScience I almost every year. 

In 2020 my graduate student, Nathanial Douglass and I worked to make this course online. At the time this was because of the ongoing pandemic, but now I run the course online each summer. 

I love teaching GIScience I because I love watching students go from novice users to enthusiastic mappers. 

Design of the Course

In the summer this course is fully online and asynchronous. I think this works best for summer learning because you aren't required to be anywhere at a specific time so you can work through this course while working a full time job or internship, traveling, or spending time with family and friends. 

You are expected to work through the course each week, so while you do not need connectivity each day, you will need to have several hours a week where you have good reliable internet. This is for two key aspects of the course: 1) watching lecture videos, and 2) logging in and using GIS on virtual machines

Computer Programmers
City Map with Braille
Reading Map on Mobile

Weekly Course Components

Each week students will:

  1. Watch a series of short videos (my goal was to keep videos to about 6-8 minutes). In total these videos generally add up to about 40 minutes each week.

  2. Take a short weekly quiz. These quizzes are usually multiple choice. Occasionally some short-answer questions are interspersed. 

  3. Work through the Lab Assignments. This is where you really get to DO GIS. You will complete the lab assignments on virtual machines so you do not have to download and install any software on your own computer. You do need reliable internet to complete these assignments. 

Person Analyzing Data

Course Syllabus & Questions

Check out the course syllabus here

If you have more questions, contact Dr. Fish @

Person Analyzing Data
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