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GIS 212
Intermediate ArcInfo

Revised: January, 2015
Credits: 3
Instructor: Ed Nickel
Office: HTC 133
Phone: 753-2241 (office with voice mail)
E-mail: due to increased spam my email address will be provided the first day of class
Class Web Page:
Textbook: Python: Scripting for ArcGIS, by Paul Zandbergaen, ©2013, ISBN 978-1-58948-282-1, ESRI Press. Search using the title, author, or ISBN for pricing at various discounters/used book dealers.


CATALOG DESCRIPTION: GIS 212 offers students exposure to and experience with macro designs, the ArcGIS Macro language (Python), managing tabular data, scripting in ArcGIS, including ArcObjects, and knowledge of various ArcInfo modules. Prerequisites: GIS 205 and CIT 129 or instructor's approval.

Welcome to Intermediate ArcInfo. In this class you will learn how to create customizations for ArcInfo to automate repetitive tasks as well as ease overall ArcGIS work flow. This class is project oriented but also includes substantial discussion and hands on lab components. The most significant assignments and topics to be covered are shown in the schedule at the end of this document. All other assignment due dates will be noted when the assignments are given during class. Additional time outside of class will be needed to complete assignments. To complete assignments students may use any open GBC computer lab or, if available, their own computer and appropriate software.

This class assumes you have at least a fair understanding of ArcMap and ArcCatalog as well as a good grasp of GIS and programming principles. If you do not have the background outlined in the previous sentence then you should take GIS 205 to familiarize yourself with the ArcGIS suite, GIS 109 to learn essential GIS principles, or CIT 129 to learn introductory programming skills. If you have any questions concerning which class is best for you please call me at the number shown above or via Skype.

Please note: If you are not familiar with ArcGIS 10 (or at least ArcGIS 9.3) you may wish to go through ESRI's Learning ArcGIS Desktop (for ArcGIS 10) exercises to familiarize yourself with this important GIS software application. Contact your instructor for an access code to these lab exercises.

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION: This class is occasionally taught live but is usually taught via the Internet using GBC's web instructional delivery system. You are expected to participate in the weekly discussions (whether live or on-line), various assignments, the exams, and other class activities.

I can be reached via Web Campus and email, at the phone number listed above, via Skype or, you can make an appointment to see me. My office hours are posted on my office door and on my website. The schedule of readings, assignments, homework, and tests can be found below. Additional assignments will be given in the class discussions or through postings on this class's Web Campus site.


The successful student in this class will be able to:
  1. understand the Python programming language within ArcInfo context;
  2. create macros to accurately automate repetitive tasks;
  3. use Python to manipulate geodatabases;
  4. automate GIS analytical processes.
Learner Outcome Measurements
Measurement Method Learner Outcomes
Class Discussion 1, 2, 3, 4
Assignments & Hands On Exercises 1, 2, 3, 4
Project 1, 2, 3, 4


GRADING POLICY: This is a letter grade class an A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F=59% or less or W=Official Withdrawal if done before the withdrawal deadline. There is no curve in this grading scale. Your grade will be based 30% on assignments, 20% on discussions, and 50% on class project. All assignments are due by the beginning of the next class unless otherwise indicated by the instructor when they are assigned.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: The instructor must agree in advance to any excused absences unless there are strong extenuating circumstances. Three (3) unexcused absences can result in a failing grade, in an on-line class an absence is one week when you do not participate in class or contact the instructor.

OTHER POLICIES: The student rights & responsibilities policy stated in the current GBC Catalog apply to this class. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and can result in a failing grade. This syllabus is not a contract and is subject to reasonable changes as the class proceeds.

ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Great Basin College is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to qualified students with disabilities in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A qualified student must furnish current verification of disability. The Director of Services for Students with Disabilities will assist qualified students with disabilities in securing the appropriate and reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids and services. For more information or further assistance, please call (775) 753-2271.

CAMPUS SECURITY: GBC is committed to the safety of our students and has a duty to promote awareness and prevention programs for violence on campus under the Jeanne Clery Act as well as the Campus SaVE (Sexual Violence Elimination Act) and VAWA (Violence Against Women Act), which are amendments to Clery. Acts of violence include, but are not limited to, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Acts of violence can occur on the physical campus or centers of GBC in addition to field placement sites, clinical practice settings, and other places where college or class activities occur. As well, the online environment at GBC is considered a GBC site. If you experience any incidence where your safety has been threatened or violated, or if you feel threatened or harassed, immediately report this to me, any center director, faculty, or staff member, or directly to the Director of Environmental Health, Safety & Security (775-753-2115) or the Vice President for Student Services (775-753-2282).


You should have read and be prepared to discuss each week's topics by the beginning of class. We will have significant hands on experiences with many lessons.

Reading topics & class project deadlines by week:
Specific assignments will be given via GBC's WebCampus.
(This schedule is subject to change based on class progress.)
Week Topic & Project Info (when applicaable)
  1 Introducing Python
  2 Geoprocessing in ArcGGIS & Using the Python window
  3 Learning Python language fundamentals
  4 Learning Python language fundamentals (cont.)
  5 Geoprocessing using Python
  6 Exploring spatial data
  7 Manipulating spatial data
  8 Working with geometrics
  9 Working with rasters
  10 Map scripting & submit project proposal
  11 Debugging & error handling
  12 Creating Python functions & classes
  13 Creating custom tools
  14 Sharing tools & start class project
  15 class project continued
  16 Project due

Creative Commons License
Original content on this website created by Ed Nickel
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
United States License
based on a work at

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