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Snowboarding in New York State

A GIS Case Study


Jeffrey C. Brunskill
Department of Geography and Geosciences
Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania
Christopher A. Badurek
Department of Geography and Planning
Appalachian State University


This case study provides a realistic scenario to introduce and reinforce concepts presented in introductory level geography courses, particularly in cartography and in human, physical, or environmental geography. In the case, students read about a land developer who is interested in purchasing an existing New York State ski area and converting it into a resort that caters to snowboarders. Students play the role of consultants hired to analyze eight resorts and determine the most suitable site for investment based on a variety of spatial variables, such as population, income, education, transportation networks, and annual snowfall. The students’ task is to outline the criteria to use in determining the optimal site, analyze the available datasets, and present a proposal based on their findings. The case makes use of ArcView 3.3 software.


  • Develop an introductory understanding of GIS software (e.g., ESRI’s ArcView) for map design and spatial analysis.
  • Develop an introductory understanding of spatial data and its use as discussed in class.
  • Develop a basic understanding of the fundamental principles of cartographic design. This includes the distinction between nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio data, and cartographic techniques for representing each.
  • Develop a basic understanding of cartographic generalization and data classification methods.
  • Develop a basic understanding of multi-criteria decision-making and how maps and spatial information are used in this process.
  • Develop a final research report using mapping as a tool for supporting claims made.


GIS; geographic information systems; ArcView; cartography; maps; mapping; map overlay analysis; orthophoto; topographic maps; digital elevation model; DEM; spatial data; snowboarding: New York State

Topical Areas


Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division



Type / Methods

Analysis (Issues), Dilemma/Decision, Role-Play, Student Presentations



Subject Headings

GIS  |   Geography  |   Business / Management Science  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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