Course Syllabus - Going Places with Spatial Analysis

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Course Syllabus

Going Places with Spatial Analysis is a free, intermediate-level online course for motivated people who know something about data analysis but want to learn more about the special capabilities of spatial data analysis. During the course, registered students get free access to the full analytical capabilities of ArcGIS Online, Esri's cloud-based geographic information system.

None. While previous experience with GIS software can be helpful, it is not necessary for tech-savvy problem solvers. Those who seek a general introduction to mapping and geographic information systems should consider taking Penn State's Maps and the Geospatial Revolution MOOC, or Esri's own Getting Started with GIS.

Course content 
Each weekly section includes brief video lectures, self-assessment quizzes, case study exercises, polls, and discussions. The exercises have been adapted from the spatial analysis case studies on the ArcGIS for Professionals: Analysis website.

What are the requirements?

Students must be able to access ArcGIS Online through a broadband Internet connection using a supported browser.  See the recommended browser and operating system combinations here.

What am I going to get from this course?

Students who successfully complete the course will:

  1. Be convinced that location really matters in a wide range of business and policy decisions.
  2. Be able to discuss some of the distinguishing characteristics that make spatial data special.
  3. Be able to identify and describe uses of several spatial analysis techniques.
  4. Gain hands-on experience with authentic spatial analysis workflows in a cloud-based mapping environment.


What is the target audience?

Anyone interested in levering location to make better business and policy decisions.

Anyone interested in data analysis, spatial analysis, maps, GIS, or Esri.

Anyone interested in city planning, natural resource management, market research, or logistics.

  The course consists of six sections.  Each section lasts one week and requires approximately 2-3 hours of study.

Section 1: Going Places with Spatial Analysis

  • The value of spatial analysis

Section 2: Understanding and Comparing Places

  • Mapping and querying data
  • Descriptive statistics
  • Scale of analysis
  • Projection

Section 3: Determining How Places are Related

  • Summarizing to areas
  • Vector overlay
  • Modifiable areal unit problem
  • Normalizing data for choropleth mapping

Section 4: Finding the Best Locations and Paths

  • Topology
  • Spatial queries
  • Site suitability
  • Cost paths

Section 5: Detecting and Quantifying Patterns

  • Intensity/density surfaces
  • Visualization and classification
  • Spatial autocorrelation
  • Including a temporal dimension

Section 6: Making Predictions

  • Spatial interaction
  • Regression
  • Surface analysis
  • Interpolation



Linda Beale, PhD, Product Engineer, Esri

David DiBiase, Director of Education, Esri

… and many other contributors



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