Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell


M.S. Shippensburg University

B.A. North Dakota State University

Courses Taught

ENVI 325: Introduction to GIS

ENVI 425: Advanced GIS

Creative Interest

I am interested in further research on web mapping. While GIS is an exciting career field for me, the programming side is like solving a puzzle. When you see your data modeled, many times the analysis is easier to understand, as you see the results in charts and maps. I also find satisfaction when teaching web mapping, it’s usually outside the students comfort zone and when they see the final results of something they created, it’s your reward for teaching.


Geographic Information Systems(GIS) is still a rapidly growing industry. It’s used from military planning to manage invasive species. We see very focused GIS applications like Google maps, to weather maps. For environmental sciences it’s the database program required on most job announcements. Used with a GPS it not only can answer where something is but why. It lets you overlay the areas physical features, with the environmental conditions and the human factors to help with your analysis of data. You can generate maps, graphics, charts, and spreadsheets from your data.

For an environmental student this application based class teaches you basic computer skills, database SQL queries, Cartography, and a touch of Python programming. Things you never expected to find in an environmental class, but are needed and used on most environmental jobs.

The Advance GIS class takes this experience further with Python programming and scripting to automate some of the process. Then you’re working on web mapping, using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript to make GIS applications for a larger audience.

I’ve taught GIS for the commercial world and an Authorized Esri instructor for 10 years, taught college GIS classes for over 15 years, spent the last 25 years as a GIS consultant covering municipal work to mapping Cancer for the NY Department of health. I use this experience to supplement the GIS application with real world examples. I try to avoid some of the heavy GIS theory, like the math behind map projections and still teach you enough to fix coordinate mismatches when trying to use different data sets.

If we’re successful, you will have the confidence to use GIS on day one of your new career. You will know where to get data, how to analyze it, and show your results. You will also have a network of fellow classmates that will support you.

The GIS classes are taught using a lecture, example, lab method. You will get plenty of hands on experience. The book and labs are designed to guide you and the lecture should enhance your experience with real world examples.