You have become proficient in the use of Desktop GIS. So where does it go from here? Have you heard of Web 2.0Gov 2.0The Cloud?  Undoubtedly, in today’s social network crazy society, it goes to the Internet. As geo-spatial technologies become more prevalent than ever, more and more non-profit organizations and government agencies are adopting web-GIS solutions to provide spatial services to the public. The ability to engage, empower and interact with the public has generated an appealing set of web-based GIS publishing tools.

The primary purpose of this course will to examine such web-based technologies, and to help students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to plan, design, develop and publish a web-based GIS solution.  Students will learn how GIS on the internet differs from the desktop experience, and how to adequately prepare spatial information for the web. Although no prior programming experience is required, the course is specifically designed to bring out the “coder” in the “non-coder” urban planner, and will teach the basics of internet programming languages. Different web-authoring tools will be explored, including WordPress as a content management platform, Google Maps API, Google Fusion Tables, and ArcGIS Server.

Class format

The class will be conducted as a studio course,  and students will form groups to deliver full-fledged GIS websites according to their research interests.  Pedagogic strategies to use a studio based approach is to provide students with a project based environment that strongly resembles the multiple phases required in any web development project team.  The studio aims to encourage students to work in collaborative and cooperative activities, and to present ideas as collective group presentations.

The class will meet once a week, and will consist of a combination of short lectures, hands on training on different web technologies, and a segment dedicated for studio project group activities.  In addition, I hope to invite current practitioners in the field of web-based GIS as guest speakers and lecturers.  Students will be assigned weekly readings and assignments geared to train them on the technical skills necessary.  These assignments must be completed prior to coming to each class, and students will be asked to demonstrate their grasp of these technologies via class participation and discussions.

Studio Group Projects

Students will be tasked to conceptualize the creation of a useful web-based mapping tool for researching neighborhoods that includes statistics on demographics, housing and/or transportation data.  In addition, projects must incorporate additional “streaming” data sources from online data providers such as Yelp, Twitter, Flickr, Metro LA, USGS.  Finally, projects must have custom map layers that have been authored using ArcMap, and incorporated into the project through ArcGIS Server.

During the first 5 weeks of the course, students will be asked to submit, as well as present to the class, a proposal, scope and development plan for their portion of the website.  Initial tasks will include:

  • research existing sites, and come up with a best practices report
  • research of the available technologies to be used and come up with a technology assessment
  • understand web based user experiences and designing effective user interfaces and come up with a design strategy
  • research available data for your topic and put together a data plan
  • come up with a full site proposal (including wire-frames, screenshot sketches and diagrams, timelines and budget)
  • compiling query-able spatial data layers, designing an intuitive user flow and interface for their data, and developing an interactive maproom using Google Maps API and ArcGIS Server.

Week 6 will be reserved for project presentations, and weeks 7-10 will be dedicated towards development time, and will focus heavily on studio work.

The final product will result in an intuitive, searchable, map-based website, and will be used by future planning students as well as the general public.

Why you should consider taking this course:

  • Learn how and why governments and non-profits are shifting to the web for their GIS solutions
  • Learn the principles of web-based cartography
  • Learn about user interface, user experience, and graphic design
  • Learn web design skills specific to creating internet mapping solutions
  • Learn about API’s (Application Programming Interface) and how to leverage technologies like Google Maps
  • Learn how to publish map services using ArcGIS Server
  • Get practical, hands-on instructions on the basic concepts of building a web-GIS platform

Technology skills you will learn

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript
  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • WordPress
  • Google Maps API
  • ArcGIS Server

Contact Info:

Instructor: Yoh Kawano (yohman@ucla.edu)

Special Guest Instructor:  David Shepard

Office Hours: Thursday’s 3:00 – 5:00 (Sandbox. Math and Sciences Building)

Teaching Assistants:

  • Ryan Chen


2 thoughts on “Overview

  1. Hi Professor,

    I am trying to log in and I can’t remember if you asked us to wait until our name comes up, or if there is something we need to do on our end to make it the name appear. Thank you!


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