Geospatial Modeling and Analysis

Course logistics

For the general introduction to the course, see Introduction to the Course.


Install GRASS GIS and ArcGIS Pro software following the instructions bellow. Note that ArcGIS is available to students through the university. GRASS GIS is available to anybody and you can continue using it on your computer after you graduate.





  • Sample GRASS GIS dataset:
    • Start GRASS GIS. In the data management window, click the icon Download sample location to current database and select Complete NC location, click Download, close when finished. You should see a location nc_spm_08_grass7 in your database. See also GRASS Quickstart and Screen capture for MS Windows
    • If using GRASS GIS version < 8.0: Create a grassdata directory, e.g. C:\Users\myname\Documents\grassdata. Start GRASS GIS. In the Startup window, under the Location section, press Download, select Complete NC location, press Download, close when finished.
    • Alternatively, you can download and unzip nc_spm_08_grass7 into the grassdata directory and then start GRASS GIS - you should see the dataset in the Data catalog. In this case it is important to make sure that your unziping software does not create additional directory with the same name, e.g. on MS Windows make sure that you do not get nc_spm_08_grass7\nc_spm_08_grass7.
    • The same dataset is provided during installation of GRASS GIS on MS Windows under the name North_Carolina.

  • Sample ArcGIS Pro geodatabase
    • Create arcdata directory e.g. C:\Users\myname\Documents\arcdata
    • After downloading, unpack ArcGIS geodatabase into arcdata directory
You can find additional data for your project in this list of data repositories.

How to Write an Issue Report

Please use the following template when submitting software specific issues.

  • Subject/Title
    • Short description of the issue
  • Describe the Bug
    • A clear and concise description of wht the bug is.
  • To Reproduce
  • Steps to reproduce the behavior:

    1. Go to '...'
    2. Click on '....'
    3. Scroll down to '....'
    4. See error
  • Expected Behavior
    • A clear and concise description of what you expected to happen.
  • Screenshots or Video
    • If applicable, add screenshots or video to help explain your problem.
  • System Description
  • Please complete the following information:

    • OS: [e.g. Windows 10, macOS 10.15, Ubuntu 20.04]
    • GRASS GIS version or ArcPro version: [e.g. 8.3.0, 2.8.3]
  • Additional Context
  • Add any other context about the problem here.


In the assignments you will be performing similar geospatial analyses in two different software packages - GRASS GIS and ArcGIS Pro. Both GRASS GIS and ArcGIS Pro solutions are required, described in a single paper (more details see below). Step-by-step instructions are provided, but it is your task to explain what is being done in terms of methods and results, based on the lectures, manual pages and other on-line resources.


  • For each topic (as indicated in the schedule) you will submit a brief paper with min. 800 word text and 2 or more pages of graphics
  • Required paper sections:
    1. Introduction: task, problem, background, importance, motivation
    2. Methods: general description of methods and concepts, do not repeat instructions and do not discuss software issues here - this section should be software independent, common for both ArcGIS and GRASS GIS and equations for methods should be included where appropriate. In this section you should demonstrate that for the given step-by-step instructions your were able to explain what methods are being used to solve the given problem
    3. Results: images, maps, graphs, tables with comments, focus on what is interesting in the data and the derived maps, how does the method used influence the results. Include answers to questions in this section.
    4. Discussion: was there anything unexpected or problematic in the results? Were there any issues related to the methdology? Also discuss the software issues, including fixes and suggestions for improvements here.
    5. Conclusion: 1-2 sentences what you have learned
    6. References where appropriate
  • Please read detailed Report guide created specifically for this class.
  • Sample paper formatting for MS Word (DOCX), LibreOffice (ODT) (view online in rollApp), and LaTeX (open online in Overleaf; register using NCSU email). Do not use the text from this example, it is for formatting only!
  • Note that the submitted report should be in PDF, use naming convention LastnameFirstname_HW#.pdf.
  • You can find some helpful hints from past semesters in Comments/answers to HW questions.
  • Upload your assignment papers on Moodle site according to the instructions below.
  • Although the HW papers are short they should be written in a style suitable for scientific publication. To learn more about the structure of a scientific paper please read the first 10 pages of this document about the Publishing process


To manage your HW reports and project material we will use Moodle. Upload your HW report as PDF file LastnameFirstname_HW#.pdf (for example SmithJohn_HW3.pdf) on Moodle site by 11pm on the due date.

You will also use Moodle to post your project proposal, interim report, presentation and a final paper as well as any additional material that you would like to share (videos, demos, data, google maps).


See Projects page.

Grading and Policies

See Syllabus web page.

Don’t cheat (e.g. use other person’s results), but you are encouraged to collaborate and help each other with advice, for example, through the message board.