Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are tools for managing data about where features are (geographic coordinate data) and what they are like (attribute data), and for providing the ability to query, manipulate, and analyze those data. Because GIS allows one to represent social and environmental data as a map, it has become an important analysis tool used across a variety of fields including: planning, architecture, engineering, public health, environmental science, economics, epidemiology, and business. GIS has become an important political instrument allowing communities and regions to graphically tell their story. These two courses will focus on teaching through practical example. All the class exercises will focus on a relationship with the Bronx River Alliance, an advocacy group for the Bronx River, in the Bronx, NY. Exercises will focus on the Bronx River Alliances real-world needs, in order to give students a better understanding of how GIS is applied to planning situations. The first half of the course will focus on GIS basics by leading the students through GIS exercises and problems sets. If students want to extend their knowledge through project development they take the second half of the course where students develop spatially based research questions and use GIS to answer those questions. If students take the first and the second half of the course they sign-up for 11.520. If they only want to take the first half of the course they take 11.205.