AGSC 140 Course Outline - Special
State University of New York at Morrisville

Dr. Walid H. Shayya
School of Agriculture and Natural Resouces

Course Outline for AGSC 140



Spring 2002

WebCT Access of Course Material On-line (for students enrolled in the course)


Dr. Walid H. Shayya

Instructor Contact Information


AGSC 140 is the second of two courses in the laptop curriculum of the Agricultural Science curriculum involving the application of selective computer software in site-specific crop management.  The course will expand on introduction to site-specific crop management and precision farming which was briefly covered in AGSC 130.  The course will also build on the basic knowledge acquired by the student in AGSC 130 on global positioning systems (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS).  Students enrolled in AGSC 140 will focus more on the use of hands-on application of ArcView GIS software and field applications of GPS where students will work either individually or in groups of 2 to 3.  


  1. To enable the student to gain an understanding of the concepts and applications of GPS and GIS in precision farming.
  2. To provide the student with an understanding of how these tools work together and in conjunction with a variety of other spatial data (field collected data, air photos, digital photos, etc..).
  3. To acquaint the student with the use of computer technology in interpreting research data and making presentations.
  4. To get the student acquainted with using the laptop in his/her courses.


The instructor has the following designated office hours per week:

  • Tuesdays: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: 10:00 to 12:00 a.m.
  • Fridays: 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

If necessary, students are also encouraged to make appointments to see the instructor at other times. Students with disabilities who require accommodations to fully-participate in the course activities are requested to contact the instructor within the first two weeks of the semester.


AGSC 140 is a one-credit hour course.  The class is scheduled on Friday, 2:00 to 2:50 p.m., Room 102, Marshall Hall.  Given that the class will involve extensive use of ArcView GIS software, several of the lectures will also meet in the GIS/GPS computer laboratory in 204 Charlton.


A course manual is available from the campus bookstore.  It includes the instructors PowerPoint presentations (printed in handout format), pertinent reading material, and several class exercises.  Other material is available on-line and may be accessible either through the course's web page or using the listed URLs in the course manual.  Numerous resources are available on-line on the course's main topics that include precision farming (, geographic information systems (GIS.COM, USGS), and global positioning systems (Trimble).  Students are encouraged to be actively involved in acquiring some pertinent knowledge from these and other on-line resources available on the web.  The following publications may serve as references:

ESRI. 1986-2000. Using ArcView GIS. Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, California.

ESRI. 1997. Getting to Know ArcView GIS.  Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, California.

Hurn, J. 1989. GPS: A Guide to the Next Utility. Trimble Navigation, Sunnyvale, California.

Shayya, W.H. 2000. An Introduction to ArcView GIS (web tutorial). 


  • Attendance: Given the nature of the course, all students are urged to attend all classes and laboratories.  Attendance will be taken during each class session and appropriate actions will be taken when students are absent for more than 20% of the course.  Very few or no absences will be considered during the grading process when the student is close to receiving the next higher letter grade.  No make-up examination will be given without a written medical excuse, family emergency, or prior permission from the instructor.  Students are responsible for all material covered in the class whether presented orally during the lectures or assigned.
  • Assignments: This course will include several laboratory exercises and homework assignments (to be turned in electronically, except when indicated otherwise).  It is critical that students complete their assignments accurately, neatly, and submit them on time.  Assignments received past the due date will be devalued 5% for each day that the item is late.  No class assignment of any student will be graded (for credit) once the same assignment is corrected and returned to the class.
  • Examinations: Class examinations will cover class material, homework and Laboratory assignments, and assigned readings.
  • Academic honesty policy: The College imposes specific actions in response to incidents of cheating and academic dishonesty. These procedures will be followed and appropriate actions will be taken if these events were to occur.
  • Class behavior: Good behavior in the classroom is expected from all students.   Students who engage in unacceptable behavior will be asked to leave the class.
  • Things to remember: The material covered in the class should straightforward and easy, only if the student keeps up with this material (understanding earlier lectures and laboratories will be critical to grasping concepts presented in subsequent lectures) and puts in the effort.  Given the course's focus, students are also urged to spend the time in completing class exercises and course assignments on time (and independently).  Completing assignments well before the due date will give the student a chance to ask questions should s/he encounter problems.  Students also should remember to ask questions of the instructor when they face difficulties, whether inside or outside the classroom.  The instructor has an open-door policy and welcomes the opportunity to visit with students whenever needed.


  • Class Participation, Attendance, and Work Ethic ==> 10% of final grade
  • Class Exercises ==> 25% of final grade
    Exercise Number PDF File
    1 GISEx1.PDF
    2 GISEx2.PDF
    3 GISEx3.PDF
    4 GISEx4.PDF
    5 GISEx5.PDF
    6 GISEx6.PDF
    7 GPSEx1.PDF
    8 DGPSEx.PDF

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  • One Progress Examinations ==> 25% of final grade
  • Final Comprehensive Examination ==> 40% of final grade


The distribution of grades in this course will be based on the A-F University grading scheme. The letter grades correspond to the following percentage scale: A (90-100%), A- (87-89.9%), B+ (83-86.9%), B (80-82.9%), B- (77-79.9%), C+ (73-76.9%), C (70-72.9%), C- (67-69.9%), D+ (63-66.9%), D (60-62.9%), and F (<60%).



Lecture Topic (Location)*

1 Introduction to AGSC140
2 Precision Farming: An Overview (102 Marshall)
3 Measuring, Monitoring, and Mapping Crop Yield (102 Marshall)
4 Soil Sampling and Analysis (102 Marshall)
5 Variable Rate Technology (102 Marshall)
Aerial Photography and Remote Sensing
Week 6 - Break 1 - No Classes
7 Progress Examination 1 (First Exam Study Guide) (102 Marshall)
8 GIS Taped Lecture and Overview of ArcView GIS Software  (GIS.COM, USGS) (102 Marshall)
9 Getting Data into ArcView GIS (GPS/GIS Laboratory - 204 Charlton)
10 Querying, Classifying, Displaying, and Labeling Themes in ArcView GIS (GPS/GIS Laboratory - 204 Charlton)
11 Measuring Distances and Areas and Managing Scale in ArcView (GPS/GIS Laboratory - 204 Charlton)
Week 12 - Break 2 - No Classes
13 Presenting Information Using Charts and Map Layouts (GPS/GIS Laboratory - 204 Charlton)
14 Digitizing Maps and Creating Shapefiles from Coordinate Files (GPS/GIS Laboratory - 204 Charlton)
15 Creating and Analyzing Surfaces and Contours (GPS/GIS Laboratory - 204 Charlton)
16 GPS Demonstration and Practice 
17 GreenStar Precision Farming System and Wrap-up Lecture (Final Exam Study Guide)

*The topics and corresponding dates listed in the tables above are tentative and may be subject to change during the semester.