GSA Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - 2018

Paper No. 178-11
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


RITTER, John B., Geology, Wittenberg University, P.O. Box 720, Springfield, OH 45501 and MUHLENKAMP, Quintin E., Department of Geology, Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH 45501-0720

Applied GIS skills are critical in intermediate and upper level, problem-based geology and environmental science classes and an increasingly required competency for employment. Our courses integrate civic engagement as a means of providing students with meaningful experiences for applying course content to local problems. Published tutorials are a low-cost, sustainable approach to expose more students to the breadth of GIS functions earlier in their curriculum but do not address the nuances of using local data such as access or suitability. Weekly and summative assessments are used to focus student skills on local, discipline-based problems. GIS-based spatial multi-criteria evaluation (SMCE) is a commonly used technique to investigate the suitability of land for a specific purpose based on multiple attributes. As a summative assessment tool, an SMCE-based problem is used to assess student ability to (1) access relevant data, (2) edit or process it to meet user needs, (3) analyze it, generally using logical operators and Boolean overlays, and (4) communicate the final result as a map. State scenic river designation, which includes thresholds for percent impervious area in the watershed, length percent of reach with roads within 300 ft of the river, and area percent of forest and wetland within 120 and 300 ft of the river, is an example. Results from past classes will be used to demonstrate an assessment rubric based on sophistication of the analyses. Other examples of SMCE that are applicable locally include setback requirements for nutrient management, soil limitations for residential development, and ownership and access for community scoring systems.