GEOG 487
Environmental Challenges in Spatial Data Science

Lesson 6 Overview and Checklist


Lesson 6 Overview and Checklist


You have been hired by a local landowner to calculate the carbon sequestration potential of a small forested area in southeastern Michigan. You know it is possible to estimate carbon values using measurements of tree height and diameter. After an initial site visit to the property, you determine it will be too costly and time-consuming to measure every single tree on the property. Given these limitations, you decide to use a representative sample to estimate values for the entire forest. After setting up a sampling plan, you collect information in the field for 18 sample areas. After returning to the office, you enter your data into two CSV files, one with tree measurements and plot identification numbers and another with plot GPS coordinates. You get to use ArcGIS and the Spatial Analyst extension to create a plot shapefile from your tabular data and interpolate your sample data for the entire forest.


At the successful completion of Lesson 6, you will have:

  • created shapefiles from tabular coordinate data;
  • interpolated point data to raster grids;
  • customized the Spatial Analyst environment settings.
Decorative image: SDGs for water, sustainable cities, climate action, life below water, life on land.
UN permission/agreement not required as per UN Guidelines


If you have questions now or at any point during this lesson, please feel free to post them to the Lesson 6 Discussion.


This lesson is worth 100 points and is one week in length. Please refer to the Course Calendar for specific time frames and due dates. To finish this lesson, you must complete the activities listed below. You may find it useful to print this page out first so that you can follow along with the directions. Simply click the arrow to navigate through the lesson and complete the activities in the order that they are displayed.

  1. Read all of the pages in Lesson 6.
    Review the information on the "Background Information," "Required Readings," "Lesson Data," "Step-by-Step Activity," "Advanced Activities," and "Summary and Deliverables" pages.
  2. Read or review required readings.    
    See the "Required Readings" page for links to help topics.
  3. Download Lesson 6 datasets.    
    See the "Lesson Data" page.
  4. Download and complete the Lesson 6 Step-by-Step Activity.    
    See the "Step-by-Step Activity" page for a link to a printable PDF of steps to follow.
  5. Complete the Lesson 6 Advanced Activity.    
    See the "Advanced Activity" page.
  6. Complete the Lesson 6 Quiz.    
    See the "Summary and Deliverables" page.
  7. Optional - Check out additional resources.    
    See the "Additional Resources" page. This section includes links to several types of resources if you are interested in learning more about the GIS techniques or environmental topics covered in this lesson.

SDG image retrieved from the United Nations