Meeting: Thursday, 5:30pm – 8:00pm, Gladfelter 847

Instructor Info:

  • Prof. Lee Hachadoorian
  • 104 Gladfelter Hall – In GIS Studio, knock or enter 103A
  • Office Hours:
    • Mondays & Wednesdays, Noon – 2pm
    • Tuesdays, 3:30pm – 4:30pm
    • Other times by appointment

General Information

Purpose of the Course

A wide variety of social and environmental phenomena, including crime, urban development, pollution, and commuting, are influenced by or affect people where they live and work. Data gathered by the United States Census Bureau are used across a wide variety of fields for everything from market research to public health research. The purpose of this course is to:

  • Provide significant exposure to and experience with the Decennial Census and American Community Survey
  • Familiarize the student with other Census products such as American Housing Survey and Census Transportation Planning Package
  • Teach a selection of widely used methods for analysis of census data, and combining census data with other sources of data.


There are no course prerequisites; however a working knowledge of Windows and basic file management is expected.


Your attendance percentage will also indicate the maximum final grade you can earn in this course. If you miss 3 classes in a once-a-week course, or 6 classes in a twice-a-week course, you have attended 78.6% of class meetings. Accordingly, your final grade will not be higher than a C+, regardless of any other work completed. Please see my attendance policy at my Temple web page:

Note for Summer terms: This course meets twelve times during a six-week term. Missing any class meetings will hamper your ability to complete the work in this course.


Urban Policy and the Census by MacDonald & Peters (ESRI Press, 2011)

Available from:

  • ESRI Press $49.95
  • Often available cheaper from Amazon or other online sellers.

Assignments and Grading

You will earn points along several tracks. Each track is worth up to 100 points. Your must progress along ALL tracks to be successful in this course. The tracks are not averaged. Your final grade is the based on the lowest score earned along any track.

For some of the assignments (particularly the lab exercises, and early term project milestones) you will have the opportunity to resubmit the assignment for a higher grade.

0-100 points. Your attendance score is a straight percentage of class session you are present for.
Lab Exercises (8)
20 + 10 per completed lab. The labs are sequenced so that later labs rely upon concepts and skills learned in earlier labs. Accordingly, if any exercise is not submitted, no points will be awarded for any of the following exercises.

Lab exercises will be accepted late. However, if you turn your work in on time, you will be allowed to submit revisions after grading. Nothing is right the first time, and you should know that it is highly unlikely that you will be awarded full points for your first submission, especially for the more complex later exercises. Your goal should be to:

a. Submit your labs on time; and
b. Resubmit them until you get a perfect score.

Term Project
55-100 points. The term project will be completed in milestones. Points will be awarded for each milestone. This is a group project, with groups of 3-4 students. The full specification will be detailed separately, and separate standards will apply to graduate students and undergrads. Graduate students will be expected to be the project leads. Undergraduates will not be evaluated on the project proposal, but will be evaluated on their contribution to the interim and final reports, and their participation in the final presentation. (In undergraduate sections which are not cross-listed with graduate sections, the instructor will instead provide a project plan for the undergraduate students to follow.)
Student-Led Tutorial
80-100 points. Graduate sections only. Graduate students will develop a tutorial based on an analytical method they are applying in their term project. This could involve introducing a new dataset, an analysis using data and software we have already discussed, a new R package, a new QGIS plugin, etc. It must be cleared with me beforehand.

Disability Policy

This course is open to all students who meet the academic requirements for participation. Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss the specific situation as soon as possible. Contact Disability Resources and Services at 215-204-1280 in 100 Ritter Annex to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

Academic Honesty

All submitted work should be your own. Please read my guide to Academic Integrity at

Classroom Environment

All persons participating in the course should be respectful of other students and the instructor in order to facilitate a civil learning environment. All persons participating in the course have a right to expect respectful treatment in the classroom.

Statement on Academic Freedom

Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom. The University has adopted a policy on Student and Faculty Academic Rights and Responsibilities (Policy # 03.70.02) which can be downloaded from

Due Dates

Due dates will be posted to the course website. Labs will generally be expected to be completed in about one week. In general, labs will be due the day after a class meeting. There is no set time. A due date of Tuesday, Sept. 1, means that I may start grading the lab at any time on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

Working with Other Students

I encourage students to work together on lab assignments and assist each other in understanding the course material. However, all contents of each student’s lab reports (text and graphics) must be authored solely by that student.


Each lab assignment will indicate how to access data for that lab assignment. Exercises will typically take longer than one or two lab sessions to complete, so you will need to save incomplete labs so that you may continue to work on them at another time. It is the student’s responsibility to understand how data and projects are saved, and to manage and back up their own data and assignments. Please bring a USB flash drive or external hard drive with you to all class meetings. Storage has gotten so cheap that I would not even consider getting less than a 16GB flash drive, which will probably cost under $10. For each assignment, I suggest you copy all relevant data files to that device in a folder (e.g. named “Lab_01”) and then perform the lab assignments by working off the device.