University of Colorado at Boulder


Dept Theme

Geographic Information Science

GIS, cartography, and remote sensing

Geographers have an ongoing concern with the acquisition, manipulation, and representation of spatial data. The widespread adoption of digital technology coupled with management of very large spatial data sets has led to the development of Geographic Information Science. Particularly with respect to digital information, the nature of geographical data that vary with scale, time, and spectral characteristics presents unique problems for geographers and environmental scientists. In our world of massive amounts of information, geographers use remote sensing methods for collecting and integrating geographical data. They utilize cartography and geographic information systems to uncover spatial patterns and trends, to reconstruct past environmental conditions and to predict future scenarios. The use of such methods requires expertise not covered in human and physical geography concentrations. Conceptually, the societal, political and ethical implications of geographic information in policy and decision-making are only beginning to be understood, and this forms an important component of study in geographic information science. The dissemination of geographic knowledge at all levels of education forms another important component of this concentration.

Faculty teaching and/or performing research in geographic information science

GIS; Cartographic Generalization; Multi-Scale Databases GIScience
Spatial-Temporal Dynamics, Computational GIScience, Spatial Interactions, Transportation Physical
GIScience, uncertainty modeling, small area estimation, cartographic pattern recognition GIScience
Urban Geography, Medical Geography, Spatial Statistics, GIScience Human

Graduate Students in geographic information science

11 students total. TIP: To sort by more than one column, hold down the shift key while clicking an additional column header.

Name Degree     Specialties Advisor
Charisoulis, Georgios Ph.D. GIS, Environmenal Law & Energy/Sustainability Buttenfield
Cunningham, Angela Ph.D. landscape and historiography Travis
Ghandehari, Mehran Ph.D. GIScience Buttenfield
Hardin, Andrew M.A. remote sensing; GIS; programming Spielman
Lewis, Nicholas M.A. Remote Sensing, Arctic Environment Serreze
Morrissey, Martha M.A. GIS, Spatial Data Science Farmer
Norlund, Petra Ph.D. Geographic Information Science Leyk
Stum, Alexander Ph.D. spatial predictive model, GIS Leyk
Tuccillo, Joseph Ph.D. Urban Geography, Spatial Demography, Hazards/Vulnerability, Geocomputation Spielman
Uhl, Johannes Ph.D. GIS, spatio-temporal modelling, machine learning Leyk
Zoraghein, Hamidreza Ph.D. GIScience; spatial statistics; small area estimation Leyk

GEOG courses related to geographic information science.

Caution: These lists are incomplete.

Spring 2017

Num Num Sect Title Hrs   Instructor
3053 Cartographic Design 4 Lovell
4103 5103 Intro to Geographic Information Science 4 Leyk
4110 5100 Special Topics: Advanced Remote Sensing 4 Abdalati
4303 5303 GIS Programming for Spatial Analysis 4 Leyk


Fall 2016

Num Num Sect Title Hrs   Instructor
2053 Mapping a Changing World 4 Murton
3053 Cartographic Design 4 Buttenfield
3930 5930 Internship 3 Blanken
4103 5103 Intro to Geographic Information Science 4 Leyk
4120 5100 Special Topics in Geography - Spatiotemporal Analysis 3 Farmer
4173 Research Seminar 3 Speilman
4203 5203 GIS Modeling Applications 4 Buttenfield
5152 History and Theory of Geography 3 Fluri


Spring 2016

Num Num Sect Title Hrs   Instructor
2053 Mapping a Changing World 4 Parr, David
3053 Cartographic Design 4 Parr, David
4100 5100 002 Spec Topics: GIS Project Development 3 Buttenfield
4103 5103 Intro to Geographic Information Science 4 Buttenfield
4110 5100 Special Topics: Advanced Remote Sensing 4 Abdalati
4303 5303 GIS Programming for Spatial Analysis 4 Leyk
5113 001 Seminar - GIS 3 Leyk


Undergrad Courses Applicable to a Concentration in Geographic Information Science

1000- and 2000-level courses in physical and human geography are prerequisites to all upper-division courses listed below. Additional prerequisites may be listed or permission of instructor required.  

GEOG 2053  Mapping a Changing World 
GEOG 3023  Statistics for Earth Sciences 
GEOG 3053  Cartography: Visualization and Information Design (Restricted to Jr/Sr GEOG/ENVS major) 
GEOG 4023  Intro to Quantitative Methods in Human Geography (Prereq: GEOG 3023 or equivalent) 
GEOG 4043  Cartography 2: Interactive and Multimedia Mapping  (Prereq: GEOG 3053)  
GEOG 4093  Remote Sensing of the Environment  
GEOG 4103  Introduction to Geographic Information Science (Prereq: GEOG 2053, 3053 and Intro to Statistics) 
GEOG 4203  Geographic Information Science: Modeling Applications 2 (Prereq: GEOG 4103/5103) 
GEOG 4173  Research Seminar** (Restricted to Sr GEOG/ENVS major) 
GEOG 4303  Geographic Information Science: Programming  (Prereq: 4103 or 5103) 
GEOG 4383  Methods of Vegetation Analysis (Prereq or Coreq: GEOG 4371) 
GEOG 4983  Field Problems  (Restricted to Jr/Sr Geography major)   

**core curriculum course 


Undergrad Courses in other Departments Related to Geographic Information Science

Caution: These courses do not count as hours in the Geography Major. 
Check with the appropriate department for the prerequisites for these courses. 

CSCI   1200   Introduction. to Programming 1 
ENVD   4152   Computer Graphic Applications 
MATH   4270   Computer Geometry  

Geographical Information Systems: 
CSCI   1200   Introduction. to Programming 1 
CSCI   3287   Database & Information. Systems  

Remote Sensing:  
CSCI   1200   Introduction. to Programming  
CVEN   3032   Photogrammetry  
MATH   1300   Analytic Geometry and Calculus 1** 
MATH   2300   Analytic Geometry and Calculus 2**  
MATH   2400   Analytic Geometry and Calculus 3** 

Geography Education
COMM  1300   Public Speaking  
CSCI   1200   Introduction to Programming  
EDUC   ****    Courses for elementary and secondary social studies certification 

**core curriculum course 

Selected Publications by Faculty and Graduate Students associated with geographic information science


 Stefan Leyk

 Seth Spielman

Spielman, S.E. and Folch, D.F. (2015). Reducing Uncertainty in the American Community Survey through Data-Driven Regionalization. . PLOSOne (

Spielman, S.E. and Singleton, A. S. (2015). Studying Neighborhoods with Uncertain Data From the American Community Survey. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Annals of the Association of American Geographers ( .

Wood, N., Jones, J., Spielman, S.E., Schmidtlein, M. (2015). Community clusters of tsunami vulnerability in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science ( .

Spielman, S.E. Cartography and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS). (2014). Spatial Collective Intelligence? credibility, accuracy, and Volunteered Geographic Information. Cartography and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS). doi:10.1080/15230406.2013.874200

Spielman, S.E., Folch, D., Nagle, N. (2014). Patterns and Causes of Uncertainty in the American Community Survey. . Applied Geography (replication data and code) (

Grad Students

News and Events related to geographic information science