GEOG 487
Environmental Challenges in Spatial Data Science

Lesson 5 Overview and Checklist


Lesson 5 Overview and Checklist


You have been hired by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to determine how land cover has changed historically in southeastern Pennsylvania between 1978 and 2005. You know that land cover grid data is available for the time periods of interest, but the datasets are from two different sources. You also know that while each data set is similar, the land use/land change categories and codes do not match up perfectly between the different historical sources. You must use Spatial Analyst to help standardize all of the datasets and determine how much land area has changed over time by land cover category (agriculture, residential, etc.)


At the successful completion of Lesson 5, you will have:

  • reclassified grid data using Spatial Analyst;
  • tabulated areas using Spatial Analyst; and
  • calculated change over time using tabular data.
Decorative image: SDGs for hunger, clean water/sanitation, sustainable cities, climate action, 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 5 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 5.
    Review the information on the "Background Information," "Required Readings, Video, and Podcasts" "Lesson Data," "Step-by-Step Activity," "Advanced Activities," and "Summary and Deliverables" pages.
  2. Read, review, or listen to the required readings, video, and podcasts.    
    See the "Required Readings" page for links to the PDFs.
  3. Download Lesson 5 datasets.    
    See the "Lesson Data" page.
  4. Download and complete the Lesson 5 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 5 Advanced Activity.    
    See the "Advanced Activity" page.
  6. Complete the Lesson 5 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