CJ Applications in Geographic Information Systems

Dates: Multiple Sessions, Please See Dates Below

This course covers the fundamental concepts and applications of Geographic Information Systems and Remote Sensing in contemporary Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement fields. The basics of geospatial technologies are presented through a combination of online lessons and labs that will inform, test and apply usable skills in common and complicated real-world scenarios. Come join us and learn about the future of Geospatial Applications in Criminal Justice!

If you have any questions please contact: Yi Shi

Syllabus available HERE!

Course Outline

Lesson 1: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

  1. GIS Software/Hardware
  2. Storing/Retrieving Datasets
  3. Spatial Data Analysis
  4. GIS in Action
  5. Software Vendors/Structure

Lab 1: Introduction to ArcMap

Lesson 2: Datums and Projections

  1. Shape of the Earth
  2. Datums in Use
  3. Coordinate Systems
  4. Purpose and Creation of Projections
  5. Uses of Specific Projections

Lab 2: Coordinate Systems and Projecting Information

Lesson 3: Thematic Mapping

  1. Reference and Thematic Maps
  2. Qualitative Versus Quantitative
  3. Discrete Versus Continuous Data
  4. Levels of Measurement
  5. Vector Versus Raster Data Model
  6. Remote Sensing Introduction

Lab 3: Thematic Mapping

Lesson 4: Tabular Data

  1. Vector Attributes
  2. Spatial Querying
  3. Joins and Relates
  4. Selections and Applicability to Criminal Justice

Lab 4: Cell Phone Analysis

Lesson 5:  Spatial Analysis

  1. Overlay Analysis
  2. Spatial Interpolations
  3. Raster Analysis

Lab 5: Hot Spot Analysis

Lesson 6: Web Mapping

  1. Crime Mapping
  2. Set Up and How It Works from Precinct to the Web
  3. Purposes for Web Mapping

Lab 6: Uploading Tabular Data to Share with Others

Lesson 7: Remote Sensing Applications

  1. Brief History of Remote Sensing
  2. Brief Science Behind Remote Sensing
  3. Applications in Criminal Justice

Lab 7: Remote Sensing Applications in Criminal Justice

Lesson 8: Future Applications and Directions of Geographic Information Science in a Criminal Justice Context

60 hours total

Learning Goals

The learner will obtain the knowledge and skills required to perform Geospatial Analyses with respect to Criminal Justice applications. Students will collect and analyze datasets to derive information and knowledge through GIS, GPS, remotely sensed images, and will be able to present results effectively using cartographic principles.

Performance Objectives

  • Be able to identify high-level geospatial applications for law enforcement at short- and long-term time scales.
  • Understand the need for projections in portraying spatial information so that the location of targets can be accurately represented.
  • Demonstrate the use of cartographic- and thematic-mapping principles to effectively display geospatial information.
  • Perform queries based on attribute and location information to obtain accurate information regarding the location of businesses, persons of interest, or any data containing spatial information.
  • Describe the concept of geotagging the location of residences or common names within a specific proximity to a crime scene, or identifying the proximity of persons of interest to vulnerable institutions.
  • Understand the methods of utilizing police crime records to isolate specific crimes in a database (attribute queries) to produce custom datasets, density maps, and hot-spot analysis.
  • Describe the web-mapping of crime and identify the difference between private and public-facing databases, including:
  • List and describe the potential uses for Remote Sensing in law enforcement.
  • Identify and practice most applicable geospatial topics specifically applicable to their scope of work.

Completion Requirements

  • Learners must earn a passing final grade in the course of greater than 70%.


  • Fully online via D2L.msu.edu


  • $500.00 – MCOLES 302 Funds Approved


Session Dates

  • Session 120: January 13, 2020 - February 28, 2020
  • Session 220: March 16, 2020 - May 1, 2020
  • Session 320: May 11, 2020 - June 26, 2020
  • Session 420: July 6, 2020 - August 21, 2020
  • Session 520: August 31, 2020 - October 16, 2020
  • Session 620: October 19, 2020 - December 11, 2020


Instructor Information and Qualifications

Yi Shi: onGEO Associate Director, Assistant Professor, Instructor, and Course Developer. Dr. Shi manages and teaches professional GIS certificate courses. He has a wide range of research, teaching, and professional experiences in the realm of geospatial technologies and their applications. Over the years, he has developed numerous GIS applications for many clients, including all levels of government. Dr. Shi loves geospatial technologies and the ways they are changing the world for the better. He is delighted to share his knowledge of geospatial technologies with his students and being instrumental in their educational journey.