Geographic information system (GIS) technologies provide researchers and policy-makers with a powerful analytical framework for making decisions and predictions. As with any technology, the appropriate use of GIS depends greatly on the knowledge and skills of the user. This course addresses the scientific and technical aspects of working with geographical data, so that GIS users understand the general principles, opportunities, and pitfalls of recording, collecting, storing, retrieving, analyzing, and presenting spatial information. Both fundamental concepts and "hands on" experience with state-of-the-art software are incorporated through readings, lecture discussion, and laboratory assignments. The first half of the course focuses on the "nuts and bolts" of how a GIS works, while the second half concentrates on methods for spatial analysis and modeling.