Geography and Geosciences

Selected Problems in Geography: Spatial Databases

GEOG 619-701

Winter 2012




CONTACT INFO:                                                                                                                                           

Dr. Arthur J. Lembo, Jr.                                                                                                                             

HS 157H                                                                                                                                                       

(410) 677-0140                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Class Blog:


Text: Selected Internet readings on spatial databases (more to come):


            PostGRES Help Manual

            Oracle Spatial

            Microsoft SQLServer


Course Description: This course will operate as a seminar based course that will focus on building affordable enterprise-wide spatial databases.  With the economic downturn, many organizations find it difficult to afford and operate GIS technology.  Additionally, many small villages and towns, saddled with unfunded mandates from the State and Federal Government do not have the economic resources to build effective GIS technology.  Therefore, for this course, students will implement an enterprise GIS using the open source PostGRES/GIS as the spatial data server, with ArcGIS, Manifold GIS, and Quantum GIS as the client applications.  Students will focus on database design and management of user roles, and the development of end user applications.  For this course, we will implement an enterprise GIS using freely available data in Tompkins County, NY.  Everyone will implement the enterprise GIS in PostGRES/PostGIS.  Afterwards, the students will form teams and perform an identical implementation using MySQL, Oracle Express and SQLServer Express. 


Students will document the process for creating and using the enterprise GIS, noting both the benefits and limitations of this approach. 


The ultimate goal of this class is to submit a presentation to the 2012 Towson GIS Conference. 


Grades: The course grade is distributed among the final presentation (50%), class participation and attendance (20%), and class presentations (30%).   Because this is a seminar based course, the students will be expected to perform a significant amount of work outside of the class meeting times, performing tasks such as installing the spatial database, loading data, performing analysis tests, evaluating performance, in addition to creating the final report.


Letter Grade



90.00 – 100%


80.00 – 89.99%


70.00 – 79.99%


60.00 – 69.99%


0.00 – 59.99%


Attendance: Attending class is critical, as this is a January term course with only 15 days to meet.  Students may not miss more than 1 class meeting without a written excuse. 


Classroom Environment: Students are expected to contribute to an environment appropriate for learning that considers and respects the needs and rights of others.  Any academic misconduct will be confronted and handled accordingly.  Please silence all electronic devices while in class.  Do not arrive late and do not leave early.  The faculty instructor will be available to assist students as they work with spatial databases, however, the students themselves will be the experts in each spatial database. 


Academic Integrity: Cheating, plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this course.  Students should pay special attention to the expectations discussed in the 2005-2006 Student Handbook and 2005-2007 University Catalog.  Violating these rules will result in significant grade penalties up to and including a failing grade for the course.  Extreme cases of academic misconduct can result in expulsion from the University.


Writing Across the Curriculum: All writing assignments, both formal and informal, are in support of Salisbury University’s Writing Across the Curriculum Program.


Important University Dates for Spring

Last day to drop/add –  January 6

Last day to withdraw from course to receive a “W” – January 13.



Changes to Syllabus: This syllabus may be modified or changed by the instructor as necessary. Students will be notified of the changes in class.






Thursday January 2

Introduction to class;

Goals and expectations;

Tour of course resources (exercises, computers we will use, server connection)

Team assignments (4 students per database)*


Assignment: Read ESRI E-GIS, and PostGIS documents - be prepared to discuss this in class tomorrow.


Watch the following videos today and turn in a 1 paragraph summary of each on Monday:


1.     Introduction to Enterprise GIS  (20 min.)

2.     spatial SQL  (60 min.)

3.     spatial databases  (13 min.)

4.     storing geometry in databases (23 min.)

5.     storing images in databases (4 min.)




Friday January 3

Develop presentation outline as a class

Discussion of PostGIS reading assignment


Enterprise GIS video using Manifold, PostGRES, and Quantum GIS (complete parts I-III)

Assignment: Start Enterprise GIS videos for PostGRES and Manifold.

Monday January 6

Enterprise GIS video using Manifold, PostGRES, and Quantum GIS (complete parts III-VI)

Tuesday January 7

Continue Enterprise video  (complete parts VI-X)

Add ArcGIS as a PostGIS client

Assignment:  Connect ArcGIS with PostGIS

Wednesday January 8

Review work to date, and prepare demonstration of Enterprise GIS.

Thursday January 9

Demonstrate Completion of Enterprise GIS

Form teams, develop outline for Enterprise GIS using SQLServer Express and MySQL

Friday January 10

Learn SQLExpress, Learn MySQL by team

Monday January 13

Start enterprise creation

Tuesday January 14

Continue enterprise creation

Wednesday January 15

Continue enterprise creation

Thursday January 16

Continue enterprise creation

Friday January 17

Presentation preparation

Monday January 20

Mop up….

Tuesday January 21

Final presentation – dry run

Wednesday January 22

Final presentation.



* the instructor will assign 4 people to each team.