Course #:  


Course Title:

Temporal GIS and Space/Time Geostatistics for the Environment and Public Health


Short Title:

Temporal GIS and Geostatistics


# Term Year:

Fall 2021


# Credits:

3 credit hours


Course Description


Reviews geographical information systems (GIS). Covers geostatistics theory for the interpolation of environmental and health monitoring data across space and time. Uses publicly available water and air quality monitoring data to create maps used for environmental assessment, regulatory compliance analysis, exposure science, and risk analysis.


More details can be found in the Course Website (see link below)


Prerequisites:   MATH 232; permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite.



Marc Serre, PhD

Associate Professor

Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering

1303 Michael Hooker Research Center

Phone:  919-966-7014



Teaching Assistant

Revathi Muralidharan


015 Rosenau Hall


Office Hours:  After class or upon email request to TA or Instructor. Email to request a zoom meeting.  For in-person help, ask for a time from 10-12:30 and 2-4 every Tues/Thurs in Rosenau 015


Course Website

Class Days, Times, Location: Tuesday Thursday 12:30PM-1:45PM, Wilson Hall room 128


Course Format

The course format will consist of lectures that the students are expected to attend. Lecture notes will be posted on the class website and students are expected to download these lectures before classes, then read them after class, including any lecture notes that are not covered in totality in class. The students are expected to do the homework assignments by their due date, to do two at home examinations, and to complete and present a class project by the end of the semester.


The course will contain several computer labs conducted in the ArcGIS and BMEGUI software packages. Information about these software packages are provided in the Course Website. Students are expected to install these software packages on their laptops and to use these software to complete the homework assignments and the class project.


Required Readings


There is not required readings. Student are encourage the read the papers available on the Course Website and the following book available at the UNC library:

George Christakos, Patrick Bogaert, and Marc Serre (2002) Temporal GIS: Advanced Functions for Field-Based Applications, Springer-Verlag, New York, N.Y., 250 p., CD ROM included



The instructor reserves the right to make changes to the syllabus, including topics, readings, assignments, and due dates.  Any changes will be announced as early as possible.  For session-by-session course schedule details, please see the Course Website.


Session Number


Assignment Due


Session 1

A rapid introduction to ENVR 468



Session 2

Introduction to ArcGIS



Session 3

Calculus of one and two variables. Bivariate integrals


8/31, 9/2  

Sessions 4,5

Obtaining and processing water quality data

Homework 1

9/7, 9/9, 9/14   

Sessions 6,7,8

Random variables using univariate and bivariate PDF


9/16, 9/21

Sessions 9,10

Exploratory analysis of spatial data using BMEGUI

Homework 2

9/23, 9/28

Sessions 11,12

Spatial Random Fields. Spatial covariance. Spatial variability modeling in BMEGUI

Homework 3

9/30, 10/5, 10/7

Sessions 13-15

Space/Time Random Fields. Spatiotemporal covariance. S/T variability modeling in BMEGUI

Homework 4


Session 16

Class cancelled - Wellness Day


10/14, 19, 26, 28

Session 17-20

Kriging theory and applications

Homework 5

11/2, 4, 9, 11, 16

Sessions 21-25

Mean trend and covariance modeling


Homework 6

11/18, 23

Sessions 26-27

Bayesian Maximum Entropy and GIS for public health

Homework 7

12/30, 12/3

Sessions 29-30

Students presentation





Course Assignments and Assessments

This course will include the following graded assignments that contribute to your final grade in the course.  For assignment descriptions and assignment grading rubrics, please see the Course Website


Graded Assignments

Points/Percentages of

Final Course Grade

1.  Homework


2.  Examinations


3.  Class Project






Course Grading Scale(s)

Final course grades will be determined using the following UNC Graduate School grading scale.  The relative weight of each course component is shown in the Graded Assignments section.


·       H—High Pass (93-100): Clear excellence

·       P—Pass (80-92): Entirely satisfactory graduate work

·       L—Low Pass (70-79): Inadequate graduate work

·       F—Fail (0-69)


Final course grades will be determined using the following UNC Undergraduate grading system.


A (90-100): Mastery of course content at the highest level of attainment that can reasonably be expected of students at a given stage of development.  The A grade states clearly that the students have shown such outstanding promise in the aspect of the discipline under study that he/she may be strongly encouraged to continue.


B (80-89): Strong performance demonstrating a high level of attainment for a student at a given stage of development.  The B grade states that the student has shown solid promise in the aspect of the discipline under study.


C (70-79): A totally acceptable performance demonstrating an adequate level of attainment for a student at a given stage of development.  The C grade states that, while not yet showing unusual promise, the student may continue to study in the discipline with reasonable hope of intellectual development.


D (60-69): A marginal performance in the required exercises demonstrating a minimal passing level of attainment.  A student has given no evidence of prospective growth in the discipline; an accumulation of D grades should be taken to mean that the student would be well advised not to continue in the academic field.


F (0-59): For whatever reason, an unacceptable performance. The F grade indicates that the student’s performance in the required exercises has revealed almost no understanding of the course content.  A grade of F should warrant an advisor’s questioning whether the student may suitably register for further study in the discipline before remedial work is undertaken.


Expectations, Policies, and Resources

Accessibility at UNC Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill facilitates the implementation of reasonable accommodations, including resources and services, for students with disabilities, chronic medical conditions, a temporary disability or pregnancy complications resulting in barriers to fully accessing University courses, programs and activities.  Accommodations are determined through the Office of Accessibility Resources and Service (ARS) for individuals with documented qualifying disabilities in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. See the ARS Website for contact information or email


Attendance/ Participation

Your attendance and active participation are an integral part of your learning experience in this course.  If you are unavoidably absent, please notify the course instructor (and Teaching Assistant if one is assigned).  No right or privilege exists that permits a student to be absent from any class meetings, except for these University Approved Absences:

  1. Authorized University activities
  2. Disability/religious observance/pregnancy, as required by law and approved by Accessibility Resources and Service and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.
  3. Significant health condition and/or personal/family emergency as approved by the Office of the Dean of Students, Gender Violence Service Coordinators, and/or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.


Community Standards in Our Course and Mask Use.

This semester, while we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, all enrolled students are required to wear a mask covering your mouth and nose at all times in our classroom. This requirement is to protect our educational community — your classmates and me – as we learn together. If you choose not to wear a mask, or wear it improperly, I will ask you to leave immediately, and I will submit a report to the Office of Student Conduct.  At that point you will be disenrolled from this course for the protection of our educational community. Students who have an authorized accommodation from Accessibility Resources and Service have an exception.  For additional information, see Carolina Together.


Counseling and Psychological Services at UNC Chapel Hill

CAPS is strongly committed to addressing the mental health needs of a diverse student body through timely access to consultation and connection to clinically appropriate services, whether for short or long-term needs. Go to the CAPS website, call them at 919-966-3658, or visit their facilities on the third floor of the Campus Health Services building for a walk-in evaluation to learn more.


Honor Code

As a student at UNC Chapel Hill, you are bound by the university’s Honor Code, through which UNC maintains standards of academic excellence and community values. It is your responsibility to learn about and abide by the code.  To ensure an effective Honor System at UNC, in this course students are expected to:

·       Students may use materials they wrote for other courses, but only if the student themselves produced the work.

·       For homework, students may verbally discuss approaches to the problems but each student should independently write up the answer and verify solutions.

·       For take-home tests, students must work completely independently without communicating with other students, tutors, or anyone else about any material related to the test questions.  The test is ‘open book’ and ‘open notes.’


If you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities, consult the Office of Student Conduct or review the following resources:  Honor System; Honor System module; UNC Library’s plagiarism tutorial; UNC Writing Center’s handout on plagiarism.

Inclusive Excellence

We are committed to expanding diversity and inclusiveness across the School — among faculty, staff, students, on advisory groups, and in our curricula, leadership, policies and practices.  We measure diversity and inclusion not only in numbers, but also by the extent to which students, alumni, faculty, and staff members perceive the School’s environment as welcoming, valuing all individuals, and supporting their development.


For more information about how we are practicing inclusive excellence at the Gillings School, visit the following webpages: Inclusive Excellence, Inclusive Excellence Action Plan, Minority Health Conference, and National Health Equity Research Webcast.


Additional campus resources include: the LGBTQ Center; Non-Discrimination Policies at UNC Chapel Hill; Ombuds; and Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct at UNC Chapel Hill.


In this class, we practice the Gillings School’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, anti-racism and equity in the following ways.

·       Develop classroom participation approaches that acknowledge the diversity of ways of contributing in the classroom and foster participation and engagement of all students.

·       Structure assessment approaches that acknowledge different methods for acquiring knowledge and demonstrating proficiency. 

·       Encourage and solicit feedback from students to continually improve inclusive practices.

·       Treat all members of the Gillings community (students, faculty, and staff) as human persons of equal worth who deserve dignity and respect, even in moments of conflict and disagreement.

·       Contribute to creating a welcoming and inclusive classroom environment, where all are able to learn and grow from one another.

·       Acknowledge and respect the diversity of experiences that others bring to the classroom and the ways in which this richness enhances everyone’s learning

·       Strive to maintain a spirit of curiosity and generosity, particularly in the face of new and/or seemingly contradictory information and perspectives Encourage and solicit feedback from students to continually improve inclusive practices.


Land Acknowledgement

Please read The Gillings School’s Land Acknowledgement.


Student Feedback and Equity Concerns

The Gillings School has in place a mechanism for students to provide feedback, including specifically equity concerns and bias-related issues. You can use this form to describe feedback, both positive and negative, about anything including issues related to your experience as a student at Gillings, administrative processes, and classroom activities. This form will also allow you to specifically describe incidents in which racial or other equity-related bias, or microaggressions, occurred. You may submit this form anonymously. However, for us to follow up and provide the necessary support, we encourage you to include your contact information. For further information, please visit the Student Feedback and Equity Concerns FAQ.

Please note that this form does not take the place of any University process or policy. If you would like to report an incident under the University’s policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct including Sexual and Gender Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Interpersonal Violence, and Stalking, please visit Safe At UNC or the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (EOC) for additional information, including resources, contact, and reporting options.

Technical support


The best way to help prevent technical issues from causing problems for assignments and examinations is to submit them the night before the due date and time.  Your instructor cannot resolve technical issues, but it’s important to notify them if you are experiencing issues. If you have problems submitting an assignment or taking a quiz in Sakai, immediately do the following:

1.     Contact the UNC Information Technology Services (ITS) department with the time you attempted to do your course action and what the course action was.

2.     Email your instructor with the information you sent to ITS and what time you sent the information.


The ITS department provides technical support 24-hours per day, seven days per week.  If you need computer help, please contact the ITS Help Desk by phone at +1-919-962-HELP (4357), or by online help request, or by UNC Live Chat.

Title IX at UNC Chapel Hill

Any student who is impacted by discrimination, harassment, interpersonal (relationship) violence, sexual violence, sexual exploitations, or stalking is encouraged to seek resources on campus or in the community.  Please contact the Director of Title IX Compliance / Title IX Coordinator (Adrienne Allison), Report and Response Coordinators in the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office, Counseling and Psychological Services (confidential), or the Gender Violence Services Coordinators (confidential) to discuss your specific needs.  Additional resources are available at the “Safe at UNC” website.