Spatial Analysis & Data Visualization @ SFSU

Research Methods Module

Think Globally, Act Regionally

Think Globally, Act Regionally cover

Think Globally, Act Regionally is an instructional module designed to teach students in upper division undergraduate social science research methods courses to do spatial analysis and data visualization using ArcGIS. The module is designed for juniors and seniors with no prior background in research methods, data analysis, or GIS. It consists of a twelve-chapter textbook and accompanying CD-ROM. Additional supplemental material is on this website.

Think Globally, Act Regionally uses a topics-based approach together with theoretical chapters and material to teach GIS skills. The premise of the module is that urban issues cannot be understood without understanding global urbanization over time and that most urban issues are best addressed at the regional level. Substantive chapters introduce students to world urbanization, conflicts between the natural and built environment, and issues of regional equity. Theoretical chapters introduce concepts in Urban theory, GIS, Cartography, Visualization, and Data Graphics.

Six step-by-step exercises form the basis for two-hour computer labs to teach students basic stills in vector and raster GIS using ArcGIS. Lively, current, real world data sets on the accompanying CD-ROM expose students to issues of traffic congestion, housing affordability, immigration, poverty, and related problems and opportunities that urbanization creates using San Francisco Bay Area data; loss of prime farmland, suitability analysis for endangered species, wildfire risk management, and other issues using data for Contra Costa County, California; and issues of racial and economic segregation in communities and schools, environmental justice, tax and service equity, and related regional equity issues using data from Southern New Jersey. After completing the step-by-step exercises students complete a “Your Turn” exercise applying the concepts and operations they have learned to different data. A culminating project calls on students to use data from Metro in the Portland, Oregon region to perform spatial analysis of issues of their own choosing.

Think Globally, Act Regionally chapters

PART I – Urbanization, GIS, and data visualization

Chapter 1 – Urbanization and its discontents

Chapter 2 – Introduction to GIS

Chapter 3 – Managing urbanization with vector GIS

Chapter 4 – Visual images and data graphics

PART II – Raster GIS, multivariate data graphics, and balancing the natural
and built environments

Chapter 5 – Urbanization in harmony with the earth

Chapter 6 – Introduction to raster GIS

Chapter 7 – Using raster GIS to resolve conflicts between the natural
and built environments

Chapter 8 – Visualizing relationships with multivariate data graphics

PART III – Promoting spatial equity and regional integration with GIS
and data visualization

Chapter 9 – Spatial equity and regional integration

Chapter 10 – Symbolizing map features and creating map layouts

Chapter 11 – Multiple media and the theory and practice of graphic communication

PART IV – GIS in regional planning

Chapter 12 – Bringing it all together in the Portland, Oregon region


Exercise descriptions

An exercise example