Welcome to ASM 540

GIS Applications

Course Description

This course introduces fundamentals of geographic information systems (GIS) in a problem-solving mode. You will learn key concepts of GIS, including spatial data models and databases, data sources, georeferencing, spatial analysis of vector and raster data, data editing, cartographic design principles, online publishing of data and maps, along with conceptualization and implementation framework for solving spatial problems. GIS is a powerful tool and most students find it to be interesting and enjoyable, although it takes time and effort. The laboratory assignments used in the course are compatible with ESRI’s ArcGIS Pro ver. 2.1 software. At the end of the course, we expect you to be an informed GIS user, as well as being reasonably competent using ArcGIS Pro. If you put in the time (which is considerable) you will have success in this course and in using GIS in the future.


There are no specific prerequisites, but this course will be difficult without basic computer skills. You are expected to have skills related to (1) use of Microsoft Office products namely word, power point, and excel, (2) developing and maintaining a folder structure that allows you to access file content, (2) regular backing up of important files, (3) manipulating files and programs from the Web, and (4) creating presentations using Power Point, and (5) write/execute code (more relevant for those opting for Python track).

Learning Outcomes

The course is structured so that after successful completion you will:

  1. Learn the fundamentals of geographic information systems and spatial analysis,
  2. Organize spatial-data in ArcGIS Pro to automate and streamline GIS workflow processes
  3. Apply spatial analysis to solve real-world problems
  4. Plan, design, and implement a GIS project to demonstrate problem-solving and communication skills related to suitability of spatial data and analyses for a particular application,
  5. Relate GIS concepts to independently learn about other GIS software.

Required Textbook

You will need the Fourth Edition (Latest) of the book titled Understanding GIS: An ArcGIS Pro Project Workbook. The book will be needed for completing a majority of the laboratory exercises. It is available from various sources including- eBay, Target, Barnes and Nobles , etc. Chapter 1 is available online at https://tinyurl.com/y7gqwzrd. You should obtain your own copy of the book on or before August 30.

Read full syllabus here

Read full schedule here


Dr. Dharmendra Saraswat

Associate Professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Office: LILY 3-L32
Office Hours: By appointment
Email: saraswat AT purdue DOT edu
Tel.: 45013

Mr. Ben Hancock

Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Office: LILY 3-108
Office Hours: Thursday in the lab or by appointment
Email: hancocb AT purdue DOT edu



Lilly Hall 2-101
Monday and Wednesday
9:30 - 10:20am


Lilly Hall 2-400
9:30 - 11:20am