Rabat GIS Course Lab 1

The data for this lab was chosen because:

  1. It is the highest resolution freely available for Morocco.  If you wanted to pay, you could get higher resolution data, but higher resolution is not better for all types of analysis.
  2. It demonstantes the different types of GIS data, and the operations available in GIS.
Data Layer GIS data type Source Importance
DEM Raster MERIT DEM, which is an enhancement of the SRTM, with several files merged DEM--topographpy has many uses.  Better details means either bigger files or smaller coverage area.
Landsat 8 scene subset Raster USGS, Subset of a full scene (which would be about 2 GB in size) Regional overview, and the ability to decipher land cover.
OpenStreetMap Vector Crowd sourced; amount of detail varies spatially.  Roads, railroads, buildings, and other feature classes
Gazetteer Vector US NGA, which has data for every country in the world. Locations of named features in multiple categories
GADM Vector gadm.org Political boundaries

Basics of running MICRODEM and how to perform common operations.

In this lab we will look at the different types of data manipulated  in GIS software, combine several layers on a single map, and export  maps to Google Earth.  The goals of the lab are:

  1. Understand the basic map operations in the GIS program
  2. Introduce the different types of data available in a GIS.  The options available in the GIS program depend on the type of data.
  3. Understand how the KISS principle used in the design of Google Earth affects its operations.

We will come back to many of the concepts touched on in this lab, in much more detail, but want to see an overview of what GIS can do before we get down in the details.


In a GIS program, there are almost always multiple ways to perform an action.  These instructions will generally give you one way, the links will show you others.

MICRODEM allows you to open multiple map windows at the same time, which some other other GIS programs will not.  Both MICRODEM and other programs allow you to stack data sets in layers to build up a complex map, and rapidly change the display.  Plotting order is important; the top layer may obscure layers under it.  Generally you will pick a raster layer as the base map, and add vectors layers on top.

Questions to consider.


Last revision 11/2/2017