Spatial problems are pervasive in Earth system science and society. Various tools are used to help organize, analyze, and present information in ways that make sense for addressing different types of problems. Geographic information systems (GIS) are computer-based tools designed for mapping and studying spatial relationships between different components of natural and human systems, to better understand how they relate to each other and geography, for use in science, resource management, infrastructure planning, policy decision-making, emergency response, and other applications.

The Indian Ocean Monsoon is a prominent seasonal air-sea-land interaction phenomena that influences tropical climate/weather on local to global scales. It directly impacts communities in Asia, Australia, the Middles East, and Africa through variable rainfall effects on ecology, agriculture, water access, disease spread, natural hazard risks, and socioeconomic repercussions. The monsoon’s behavior also appears to be changing with anthropogenic climate trends, making it an interesting and important context in which to examine a range of environmental and societal issues.
In this interdisciplinary course, you will learn the basics of spatial problem solving, GIS, and how to use ArcGIS Pro mapping and analysis software through weekly lab exercises, reading, lectures, and seminar-style class discussions and presentations. You will also apply learned skills by conducting a self-designed research project, with a contextual link to the Indian Ocean Monsoon. This will include writing a professional-style proposal for your project, writing-up your results in a final report using a peer-reviewed journal template, and presenting the information in a poster session. You will also learn about current literature and how GIS is used in different fields through readings, seminar talks and guest speakers, as well as have opportunities to talk on relevant topics of personal interest.