Full text: The 3rd ISPRS Workshop on Dynamic and Multi-Dimensional GIS & the 10th Annual Conference of CPGIS on Geoinformatics

ISPRS, Vol.34, Part 2W2, “Dynamic and Multi-Dimensional GIS", Bangkok, May 23-25, 2001 
• Set the view, which contains the Michigan County 
boundaries, to the State Plane Coordinates, Michigan 
Southern Zone. (Modified from ESRI, Chapter 11, 
Setting a map projection). 
1) Use SPC as an example to describe the basic 
elements of plane coordinate systems, (close book) 
2) Specify a conformal projection for the Michigan Upper 
Group A (script-based) outperformed B on both questions. For 
question (1), a common deduction for Group B students was 
from incomplete answers. This was expected because the 
menu-driven tutorial requires only selections of items from the 
drop-down menu. All projection parameters are set 
automatically. It generates no stimulus that may help re-enforce 
the lecture. On contrast, the script-based tutorial requires 
students type in the script, debug, and execute it. The script 
itself provides a structural and precise procedure for specifying a 
projection, which clearly supplement the lecture. The script also 
provides a general procedure for specifying a project, which 
helps Group A to achieve a higher score in question (2). 
2. Thematic mapping 
• Understand the basic concepts of Visual variables and 
cartographic symbolization 
• Be able to perform a specific thematic mapping 
• Be able to interpret a map generated with a particular 
classification method 
• Be able to choose an appropriate type of classification 
• ESRI Chapter 9, Classifying and Displaying Themes 
o Classifying features based on their 
o Creating different legends 
o Using different classifications 
• ESRI Chapter 10, Symbolizing Themes 
o Using markers and graduated symbols 
o Using pens, fills, and colors 
1) What are the major visual variables? Which visual 
variables are more effective in representing different 
cartographic objects (i.e., point, line, polygon) and 
different types of measurements (i.e., quantitative, 
2) What are the major classification methods for 
quantitative attributes? 
3) Create a map that shows the geographic distribution 
of population in Michigan, US. 
The overall scores were not significantly different between the 
two groups. For specific questions, however, there were some 
notable differences. Group A (script-based) showed better 
performance on question (2) while Group B outperformed in 
question (3). We have not come to a full understanding as to 
what attributed to such difference. At this point, we can offer 
some speculations. During the tutorial session, Group A 
students had to write the Avenue statement that specifies the 
classification method, which is similar to the following: 
aLegend.Interval (aTheme, aString, numClasses) 
Students in this group were reminded to review the on-line 
documentations on the related software objects and the 
requests, when encountered problems. Many ended up 
studying the on-line documents, which gives excellent 
discussions on classification. For students in Group B, the 
menu-driven tutorial presents no challenge what so ever hence 
lacked the opportunity to actively discover supplemental 
For question (3), students had two obvious approaches, i.e., a 
choropleth map or a dot density map. Most students were 
unsure which one to use before hand so they began 
experimenting with both methods. This gave Group B a greater 
advantage. For Group A, some students were unable to 
complete the task within the quiz period due to the complexity of 
the programming process for legend construction. 
3. Selection 
• Understand relational and logical operations. 
• Understand the common types of spatial relationships. 
• Be able to solve application problems using a 
combination of attribute and spatial selections. 
• ESRI 17 (proximity and adjacency) 
• ESRI 18 (containment) 
• ESRI19 (intersect) 
1) What are the common spatial relationship types 
between geographic features (vector)? 
2) Three application problems (proximity and adjacency, 
containment, intersect). 
Group A students had no problem at all with question (1) 
because all they need to do is find the on-line help for 
“FtabRelTypeEnum” that lists all the spatial relationship types 
supported by ArcView. Group B students, however, were mostly 
familiar with the “Select by theme” dialog which shows the 
relationship types only appropriate for the corresponding 
themes. They did not have a clear view on the entire set of 
spatial relationships. Therefore, answers from Group B were 
mostly incomplete. 
Results for question (2) did not show significant difference 
between the two groups. There were some interesting 
observations. Students in Group A seemed to know what to do. 
The main problem was debugging the script which was modified 
from the tutorial. They needed to make all the necessary 
changes to fit the current data, which requires the student 
understand the scripts. The students had limited experience 
with programming therefore they got frustrated easily, which had 
negative impact on the resulting scores. For Group B, the 
problem was just the opposite. Students were not sure where to 
begin. They started trial-and-error. Since the choices were 
limited, students with a clear strategy were able to complete the 
task within a short period of time. Subtle operational details, 
however, caused errors in their answers. A common mistake 
was selecting the wrong “theme”. Regardless how many time 
the instructor highlighted the importance of activate the theme to 
be selected, there were always substantial number of students 
making the same mistake again and again. 
Preliminary findings from this experiment were not conclusive. It 
seems clear that the script-based tutorials help improving 
conceptual understanding but may not be much more effective 
than the menu-driven tutorial in learning problem solving. Below 
are some additional thoughts. 
1. It is obvious that the script-based approach requires a longer 
learning curve. The learning outcome therefore may need to be 
assessed in an extended period of time and through subsequent 
2. It is also obvious we need to find out if a hybrid approach, 
which combines script-based and menu-driven tutorials, would 
perform better.

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