University of Texas at Austin
CE 397: Geographic Information Systems in Water Resources
Spring Semester 1997

Course Curriculum

Table of Contents

Unique No: 13355
Instructor: David R. Maidment
Class Hours: MWF 10-11, RLM 5.114
Telephone: (512)471-4620, 471-0065
Office Hours: MWF 11-12, ECJ 8.612


Letter grades will be based on the weighted average specified above and assigned as follows:

There will be no make-up exams or incomplete grades in this course. I reserve the right to change the date of a quiz with notice in advance. Course instructor evaluation will be by the usual College of Engineering procedures.

Recommended text

Understanding GIS, the Arc/Info Method, produced by Environmental SystemsResearch Institute, Redlands, CA, 92373, Tel: (909) 793-2853. This book can be ordered through Internet at ESRI home page http://www.esri.comunder "Books and Publications / Bookstore catalog". There are different versions for PC and workstation Arc/Info. The version for workstation Arc/Info is the one that you need. Handout notes and readings on Internet will also provided by the instructor.


The homework in this course will mostly be computer exercises and I expect you to turn in the output of your exercise and a sufficiently good separate explanation of what you have done so that I can follow your output. I do not want the result turned in alone. I want to have you explain in writing how you got the result, much as you would explain to somebody who was approaching this task as a new exercise for the first time.

Course objectives

  1. To teach the principles and operation of geographic information systems, focusing in particular on the Grid system of the Arc/Info GIS and on ArcView
  2. To show how spatial hydrologic modeling can be done by developing a digital representation ofthe environment in the GIS then adding to that functions simulating hydrologic processes
  3. To develop individual experience in the use of GIS in water resources through execution of a term project, and presenting it in both oral and written form.

Term project

The purposes of the term project are:
  1. to enable you to explore in-depth some aspect of the subject of personal interest to you and to develop experience in use of the technology to solve that problem.
  2. to provide experience in the formulation, execution and presentation of original research, including the documentation of a GIS project.
  3. to provide experience in publishing a report in html format on the world wide web.
  4. to produce a report that you can carry with you into the future on your chosen subject.
The steps in carrying out the project are:
  1. Establish a home page on the Dept of Civil Engineering server
  2. Prepare in html format a 1-page type-written proposal by Feb 12 specifying the objective of your project and outlining how you plan to go about executing it. (I will give you an example html file to work from to do this). Once I've approved the proposal, mount it on your home page.
  3. Give a brief presentation of the progress you have made with your project in class on Monday March 17.
  4. Present a final report orally in class near the end of the semester (you will have about 15 minutes for your presentation).
  5. Present your written report in html format on your home page by the last day of classes (May 2). The written report will normally be about 15-20 pages long and will include any plots you made as a result of doing your project and a listing of your data sets in GIS format. If you would like to work in a group to pursue a term project, that is fine, but you must carry out a particular section of the project on which you will present your oral and written report.

Course Computer Environment

The software used for the course exercises will be operational in the Civil Engineering Learning Resource Center on the 3rd floor of ECJ using Windows NT machines and the Dec Alpha workstations. You will be learning Unix to run programs on the Dec Alphas. The software used will be Arc/Info and ArcView. You may want to get a magnetic card to enter thelaboratory in the evenings or weekends. At the moment we have only one digitizing setup and one plotting setup and the digitizing in particular could prove to be a bottleneck.

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