Wednesday, September 5, 2012

GEOG653: Spatial Analysis

Last night I attended my first class for my Masters Degree and despite me stressing like crazy in anticipation, it really wasn't as bad as I thought. Honestly I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now that I know what I can expect from this class. Yes it's going to be some work but the professor is awesome and my classmates seem to be eager to learn.

This first class that I am taking is called Spatial Analysis. To put it in terms hopefully you guys can understand better basically this class is all about how points, lines and polygons are related to each other on each layer of a map. Points can range anywhere from cities or towns to individual artifacts at a site, lines can be anything from boundaries of countries to sides of a house, and polygons can literally be anything. We then take these different shapes and show how they are related to each other. For example (which is one given in class) we can show how cities (points) are related to major roads (lines) in the state of Texas (polygon).

Our objective in this class is to ultimately create a final project using the skills that we learn about spatial analysis. Each week though we also will have a lab exercise that we will complete using the ArcMap software. The purpose of these are to both practice the concepts as well as show the professor that we know what we are doing (and consequently that we are paying attention during class).

For week one we don't have a lab, just an exercise that is optional. It's a little different this week since we only had one class last night from 5:00 - 8:30pm due to the Holiday. On a regular week we have lecture from 5:30 - 8:00pm on Mondays and lab section from 5:30 - 6:30pm on Tuesday. All of this is done from the computer. The picture to the left here is what I see when I am "in class." On the right is the webcam where I can view my professor or whoever has the floor at the time to speak. To the left is the lecture slides that explain what we are learning (this one is on Vector Analysis of Florida). At the bottom is the chat box where we can ask questions and interact with the other students. In addition we can click the hand icon at the bottom to "raise our hand" so that we may speak (with the headset that you are required to use for the class).     

This system is really great for people like me who work full time. We always have the option to go into the classroom if we want. This is helpful for both meeting the professor (who I have had the pleasure of meeting many times already) and any other students in the class. I do like the comfort of doing this from the couch in my apartment. I was able to slip on my yoga pants, enjoy and cup on coffee made by Grant and focus on learning taking notes (which I am obsessive about). \

Like I said above I know this class is going to be work, especially when it comes to the final project, but I am confident that I will do great in this class. I am excited to move forward with it and share with you guys my journey to getting my Masters Degree in Geospatial Information Science!


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