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ArcGIS Online Challenge (learning path)

Explore potential uses of ArcGIS Online in your research and teaching at Ohio State

Learning Objectives

Module 4 provides an introduction to the types, real-world applications, and potential benefits of spatial analysis.


Through completing this module, you will:

  1. Describe various types of spatial analysis and an example application for each
  2. Summarize the key components of a spatial problem solving approach
  3. Apply one or more spatial analysis techniques in the context of a real-world problem using ArcGIS Online


Read Chapter 5 of The ArcGIS Book titled "The Power of Where" (pages 65-82). This chapter covers some of the most fundamental types of spatial analysis with examples of real-world applications and introduces other important aspects of a spatial problem solving approach.


  • The ArcGIS Book (Ch. 5, p. 65-82): The Power of Where (est. 20 min.)
    • Note: You do not need to do the Quickstart and Learn ArcGIS activities found on pages 83-84.


Based on your interests and the geospatial data type(s) you are likely to encounter in your own work, complete at least one of the following tutorials to gain some hands-on experience using spatial analysis to address real-world problems in ArcGIS Online. The first tutorial listed provides an example of spatial analysis working with vector data, while the second primarily focuses on working with raster data. In each tutorial, you'll ask a geographic question, make maps to visually explore the data, and perform spatial analysis to generate and interpret results. 


Note: New layers created by analysis operations must have unique names within Ohio State's ArcGIS Online organization. To ensure the layers you create have a unique name, we encourage you to add your Ohio State name.# to the end of the layer names provided in the instructions for the activities below.


  • Site a New Hospital (est. 45 min.)  
    • The governmental body of Loudoun County, Virginia needs to identify a location for a second hospital within the county based on a set of specific spatial criteria. In this tutorial, you'll learn to use spatial analysis proximity and overlay tools to identify suitable areas that meet the necessary requirements for siting a new hospital. (Credit: This tutorial was originally developed by Esri's Learn Team.)


  • Assess Hail Damage in Cornfields with Satellite Imagery (est. 45 min.)
    • In this tutorial, as an imagery analyst for a local farmer organization, you will perform a crop damage assessment based on satellite multispectral imagery captured before and after a major hailstorm. You will create online tiled imagery layers, add them to a web map, and explore them visually. Then, you'll perform change analysis, applying a vegetation index to both images, computing the difference between the two, and extracting the average loss of healthy vegetation per field. (Credit: This tutorial was originally developed by Esri's Learn Team.)

Brainstorming Questions

Think about the following questions before moving on to Module 5, and reflect on how you might transfer what you are learning to your own work.


  1. In the context of your own research, how might you (re)frame your question to emphasize the importance of adopting a spatial problem solving approach? Based on your research question and goals, what types of spatial analysis could be the most appropriate?
  2. If you are an instructor, what are some topics you already cover in class that could benefit from a spatial problem solving approach? How might you highlight these connections for your students, and how could this be integrated into the learning objectives and activities in your course?

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