Introduction to GIS: Final report


The objectives of the final report are:

•    An opportunity to use what you learned on a topic of your choosing, including GIS data procurement and management and spatial analysis.

•   A concluding review of everything we covered throughout the semester.

•    Practice communicating findings and recommendations through textual reports and visual aids, primarily maps.

Keep these objectives in mind when working on your report.

We’re going to read and assess your reports through the lens of these objectives, too.

Why are the following instructions so detailed? For several reasons:

•    First, to lower the time you’ll spend on questions like how to structure your report, which are important but secondary to the main objectives.

•   Second, to get used to such reports which have a fairly standardized style.

•    Third, by conforming to these instructions you’ll be able to show us what you’ve learned and we’ll be able to read and assess your report better by immediately focusing on the important contents of your work, instead of trying to search for them or second-guessing what you meant.

Topic selection

So please read and follow these instructions carefully!

Topic selection

So please read and follow these instructions carefully!

Any topic, any spatial scope, any resolution.

From global or continental cross-country comparisons to street level activities, it can be from any context or field.

The topic must have a good motivation for spatial analysis – something in which the location matters.

We listed many fields that use GIS in the 1st week slides, and our assignments came from different subjects that may inspire you.

You can use our list of useful GIS sources and data to identify interesting topics and to procure data for your report. You are also welcome to add to this list any GIS data you may come across: J5Cj2CiyUFuU6gQbQ9lZavx6U/edit?usp=sharing

You can also consult with Yoav and Hema about your topic:


Report Structure

The report should be divided into the following 4 sections, plus an appendix. Subsections of your own choosing are ok.

1.   Introduction (16 points)

This section should include the background:

•   Motivation for the analysis/problem statement

•    Current status of the location and topic of the study, including what is already known and what is yet unknown.

•    Description of the goals of your spatial analysis (e.g. to support decision making, to recommend a solution, to quantify something for the first time, to highlight inequalities, etc.).

2.   Data and methods (10 points)

This section should describe:

•    All your data sources and any modifications you have done to the data (additions, simplifications, combinations).

•   Short and precise descriptions of the methods (GIS features, tools, functions, and operations) used

in data processing, spatial analysis, etc. In other words: which GIS tools and functions were used and for what end. Add references to the appendix’s detailed step-by-step descriptions of your methods.

You are encouraged to add a workflow diagram to support this section.

3.   Analysis results (16 points)

This section documents the results of your GIS analyses:

•     Maps and accompanying textual descriptions in words and numbers, as well as other figures and tables as you like.

•   Only objective descriptions of observations at this stage - no interpretations!

4.   Discussion, interpretations, recommendations, and conclusions (18 points)

In this section, explain what you think the results mean:

•     What are the interesting/surprising/counterintuitive findings that emerge from the results and whether others fit your expectations?

•     How do these findings connect and circle back to the motivation and problem statement, current status, and goals of the analysis as you stated them in the introduction?

•   Recommendations and suggestions on how to use the findings of this work, including who can use it.

•   Outlook for future steps including potential directions for further spatial analysis.

Appendix (10 points)

•    The appendix must detail step-by-step all actions you did in GIS (which data did you start with, which buttons you clicked, which windows did you open, which queries or expressions you typed, what options did you select, etc.) so that anyone who reads your report can reproduce them on their computers if needed. Transparency and reproducibility are important in academia.

•   It is recommended to detail the different steps with clear (and numbered) titles and bullet points.


General (30 points)

•    Adherence to all the instructions – structure of the paper, scope of the research, page limit, submission on time, attaching the relevant files, data and screenshots (including the name’s window), etc…

•    Quality of the research paper – Overall outlook, relevance, aesthetics, readability, quality of the maps, quotations, references, bibliography.

•   Use of relevant tools, maps and functions contributing to the research.

•    Serious academic research showing the ability of the student to apply the knowledge acquired during the semester through clear, aesthetic and intuitive maps, meaningful insights contributing to a relevant discussion leading to interesting conclusions and useful recommendations.

Minimum requirements

1.   The main report should include at least 4 different maps showing different aspects or findings of the topic of study:

•    Maps can be used in any section of the report – but at least 2 maps must appear in the results section.

•   The maps can be of the same location, but what each map shows must be different.

•   You may add more maps in the main report and in the appendix.

•   The maps must contain a title, a legend and a scale (Layout View).

2.   Use at least 5 different features, functions, tools, and operations from the following 2 lists.

At least 3 of these 5 must be from the spatial analysis list.

List #1 - Features, functions, tools, and operations for data procurement and preparation:

•   Georeferencing of points, lines, or polygons

•   Data joins and relates

•   Editing attributes in the attribute table

•   Coordinate system changes

•   Data Import (using import tools, not including the “add data” button)

•   Data Export

•   Dissolve tool

•   Clip tool

•   Buffer tool

•   Field editor

•   Calculate geometries

List #2 - Features, functions, tools, and operations for spatial analysis:

•   Measure distance

•   Selection by attribute

•   Selection by location

•   Meaningful symbology, legends, and labels from which findings can be drawn

•   Clip

•   Intersect


•   Union

•   Buffer

•   Field editor

•   Calculate geometries

•   Zonal statistics

Important note:

•    You are welcome to use the same feature, function, tool, or operation several times, but its usage will only count as one out of the five features, functions, tools, and operations.

For example: you will probably use symbology multiple times, but it will be counted as once.

•    To count as one of the five usages, it must be meaningful, either to support data preparation towards spatial analysis or to obtain findings from spatial analysis.

In other words: Using a tool for no apparent reason or simply changing the symbology won’t be

sufficient to count as one of the five.

Technical details

Submission date - Any time between now and the final deadline - January 7th, 2022. You are encouraged to start early and not wait for the last minute.

Please plan your schedule, taking into consideration your other courses’ exams and reports, as well as risks like

technical issues involved with the remote connection and/or internet.

Teams - You may work solo or in pairs, and the choice won’t affect the grade. No other group sizes are possible.

Working in pairs – Both students are expected to apply their knowledge and produce individual maps on ArcMap by themselves. Therefore, each student is required to contribute to at least half of the maps in the research paper, including the window with their name (Tutorial 7) and making sure the background of the computer, as well as the different tabs around or the tab with their personal e-mail, clearly appear on the screenshots.

Page limits - Up to 20 pages, all contents included (title pages, maps, figures, bibliography, appendices, etc.). Minimum 8 pages (not including the maps and appendix). Brevity is encouraged: stick to the point, make sure to address all the requirements, don’t wander off topic and avoid repetitions. “A map is worth a thousand words”: create great graphics that don’t require a lot of textual descriptions. Note that it is possible to create a great report in only 10 pages!

Fonts - Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, Cambria | Size 11-12 | Line spacing 1 - 1.5.

File formats: The report including the appendix should be submitted as one PDF file.

You are required to also submit your map files and data files as one ZIP file to accompany the report’s PDF, but your grade will be based only on the contents of the PDF.

It’s important to keep a backup of all your files, just in case. We may request to access them.

Bibliography & Citations - Any data, figure, fact, idea which is not originally yours must be cited. Any well-known style is acceptable (APA, Chicago, etc.).

Critical to include in-line citations and corresponding detailed references in the bibliography list.


Figures - Figures, especially maps, are an essential part of your report. Other visual aids are welcomed and encouraged in all sections of the report and the appendix.

All tables and figures (including maps, diagrams, photos, pictures, screenshots, graphs, graphics, etc.) must be

numbered and properly referred to in the text.

Each table and figure should also be accompanied by a short descriptive caption and include a citation of the source. If the figure is your original work, write: source – own work. If it’s a modification of a table or figure from elsewhere, explicitly mention that you have modified it when citing the source.

Important – All figures must be in high resolution (at least 300 dpi).

In addition – you will have to make a duplicate of all the maps and attach them in a separate file – These will be based on a print screen without cropping the window (so we can see the entire screen and tabs/personal e-mail tab), including the window name (Tutorial 7).

Data sources - We encourage you to use multiple sources of data. For example:

•   GIS data you downloaded from the internet from any source.

•     GIS data you captured (geolocated) on your own on-site using the CarryMap app or any other app (such as fitness apps, navigation apps, etc.) or mechanism.

•   GIS data you georeferenced on your own.

•   GIS data from our class.

•   Nonspatial data such as Excel tables that you joined or related. And, of course, any combination of the above.

Important note: You can’t base your entire report only on the data from our class. The data from our class can consist of no more than 30% of your overall data sources.

Good luck!