Krystal Sarcone

GIS Resources

The Wonderful World of GIS & Geography!

What is GIS?


"GIS software is not considered user friendly. There are many ways in which it does not act like other software applications.  There is a very sharp learning curve and you will need to be willing and able to undertake a lot of trial and error with procedures.  You might (will) have to repeat things several times. Persistence will eventually pay off. However, if you are a person who is easily frustrated by software glitches, repetition, and lack of control, you have a challenge ahead of you." Lynn Carlson

Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI)

The ArcGIS Suite!

Collector App, Survey 123 App, ArcGIS Server, Business Analyst, ArcGIS Explorer... ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap, ArcCatalog) 

Works with Remote Sensing Software, Computer Aided Design/Drafting Software (CAD), Global Positioning System (GPS) Software, Graphic Production Software(Photoshop, InDesign, Powerpoint) & Programming Language Integrated Development Environments (IDE)

Other Options: IDRISI, Global Mapper, Manifold, Maptitude, QGIS

What is Brown's EARTH Lab?

The best place on campus to work on all GIS projects. With fast computers with the most updated version of ArcGIS.



John Snow and the 1854 Pandemic of Cholera in London
& and the Birth of Geospatial Analysis
+ GIS Application of real-time mapping of Swine Flu during the Haj to Mecca in 2009


Ebola Case Study of 2014

Arcmap document... .mxd = reference where data resides

maps are not just maps, but data maps that can be used for analysis and have embedded attributes 

Data Types

  • Vector, points, lines, and polygons. 
    • shapefiles, geodatabase feature classes
      • shape file: .shp, .dbf, .shx, .prj, .... .xml, .sbn, .sbx, .ain
      • geodatabase, .gdb: feature classes within will not have an extension 
  • Raster = better for boundaryless items, no edgs, rain, elevation etc. 
    • lots of file formats, .jpeg, .bmp, .tif, .grid, .sid, .img, ecw, .bil
  • Coverage = need two folders, zipped = old format .e00 files
  • CAD = 

Naming Conventions

  • avoid spaces
  • no number for first character
  • no special characters
  • try to short file names
  • Uppercase and underscores or numbers in middle or end are fine!

Geographic Addresses: x= longitude y= latitude accepted worldwide, but expressed in different ways e.g. decimal degrees, degrees minute seconds, feet or meters *different ways to communicate xy spot

GCS = dd, dms

  • 1. Unit of Measure
    • dd, dms, *degrees
  • 2. Origin
    • usually 0, 0 prime meridian and equator
  • 3. Sphere Size
    • complicated measurement of the earth- so many possibilities.... 
      • Clarke 1866, GRS80
  • 4. Datum
    • complicated too
      • not a perfect sphere, and lots of options
        • North American Datum of NAD83, 
        • Geodetic Datum of Australia 1994
        • World Geodetic System 1984, less than 2cm of error National defense, Google!

PCS= ft. meters.

  • same 4 as above...
  • 1. ft or meters
  • 2. revised origin
  • 3. 
  • 4. 
  • plus 5th - projection.... flattened, local!

oblique spheroid


UTM, US Army. mercador projection transverse cylindrical projection. scale is true at meridian, 60 zone 6 degrees wide, NAD83 datum GR80 elipsoid