NR 512 – Syllabus

Spatial Statistical Modeling

Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship

Warner College of Natural Resources

Name:    Wade Tinkham
Office:    Forestry 123e
Office     MW 10:30-12
Hours:    or by appointment

                Course Information
Term:                            Fall 2018
Lecture Day/Time:    Tuesday & Thursday 9:00-10:40
Lecture Location:      Engineering B3
Course Credits:           3

Course Overview
Spatial statistics refers to statistical methods designed to analyze spatially referenced data (i.e. data with known X and Y coordinates). When used to analyze spatially referenced data, conventional statistical methods may lead to incorrect conclusions, or are simply unable to answer spatially informed questions. For example, conventional statistical methods cannot be used to answer questions about spatial patterns – and the underlying causes of these patterns – present in the dataset. This course will introduce a variety of statistical methods (loosely termed Spatial Statistics) specifically design to analyze spatially referenced data and ask spatially informed questions. We will also discuss important concepts and concerns to consider when analyzing spatial data.

Course Goals and Objectives
This class is designed to teach you the basics of analyzing spatially referenced data with spatial statistics. This will be achieved through a combination of lectures and hands on lab exercises using a variety of software packages. We will primarily use the statistics software R. The ArcMap GIS software will also be used in limited situations. You will also spend a significant portion of class time developing, conducting, and writing up an applied spatial statistics analysis problem.
The purpose of the laboratory exercises is to provide you with hands-on experience analyzing and interpreting spatially referenced data. Information covered in the lectures will directly support the laboratory exercises, and class periods will often be a mix of lecture and lab.

Course Prerequisites

  • ST301 (Introduction to Statistics) or equivalent

Recommended Text

  • Interactive Spatial Data Analysis by Bailey & Gatrell
  • Applied Spatial Data Analysis with R by Bivand, Pebesma, & Gomez-Rubio
  • An Introduction to Applied Geostatistics by Isaaks & Srivastava
  • Additional readings will be posted on Canvas

Graphical Syllabus

There are no exams in this course. Grades will be based upon the completion of individual laboratory exercises (24% of the grade), successful completion of exercises associated with the development and completion of an independent research project involving the selection, processing, analysis, and interpretation of spatial data with spatial statistics (53% of the grade), presentations associated with your final project (14% of the grade), and presenting a paper and participating in discussion (9% of the grade). If you are using spatial data for your thesis project, you are encouraged to use those data. If you do not have access to appropriate datasets, the instructor will provide you with a dataset and will aid in the selection of an appropriate application/research question. Your goal is to complete the project and hand in a final report, in manuscript form (grading rubric is included below), by the end of the semester. You should strive to produce a final report that is worthy of peer review in a scientific journal of your choice. Taking an applied research project from the design and analysis stage through to a manuscript describing and disseminating the findings is a useful endeavor for all graduate students (and motivated undergraduate students) to undertake. Discuss project ideas with the instructor ASAP; a project must be clearly identified within the first three weeks of class.

It is important that you attend all lectures and labs and be on time for both. Each lecture and lab will build on knowledge and skills presented in previous sessions. If you fall behind it is very difficult to catch up due to the extensive technical vocabulary and the software skills needed to perform the analyses in the lab exercises as well as your independent project.
Math and statistical skills are a prerequisite for this class. You need to be able to do algebraic calculations as easily as you can add and subtract, as well as calculate a mean, standard deviation, variance and correlation and be able to interpret the output.
You will also need to be (or become) familiar with the R statistics package. We will spend a short amount of lab time learning the basics of R; however, we will quickly transition into more advanced R techniques. If you are unfamiliar with the package I can recommended useful tutorials the will teach you the basics.

Discussion Paper Presentations
Spatial Statistics can be applied to support a huge diversity of interesting problems and questions in the ecological, geological, and social sciences, among others. To help characterize the diversity of these applications each of you will present a scientific paper that uses Spatial Statistics in support of an applied science question. We will have roughly 7-10 paper discussions throughout the semester (see schedule). The presentations should be approximately 15 minutes long with additional time slotted for discussion. Your presentation should outline the paper for why the study was conducted, how the study was conducted, and the outcomes of the study, along with this you should be sure to try and address anything that might be confusing within the article. You will each work independently to select an appropriate paper (I will help if you like) and provide it to the class so each of us can read it prior to the discussion.

Course Policies

Late Work Policy
All late assignments will receive a 20% deduction in credit for one week, after which the late assignment will not be accepted for credit. Students must notify the instructors at least 1 week before missing an assignment, report, quiz, or exam, or they will not be allowed to make it up.

Library & Research Help
The CSU Libraries Help Desk provides basic research and technical assistance either in person at Morgan Library or by phone at 970-491-1841. Virtual assistance is also available via the Libraries’ Ask Us chat and email services ( Jocelyn Boice is the librarian supporting the Forest and Rangeland Stewardship Department and this course. Contact her for in-depth assistance at: / 970-491-3882.

Grades of “Incomplete”
Per university policy, an instructor may assign temporary grade of Incomplete to a student who demonstrates that he or she could not complete the requirements of the course due to circumstances beyond the student’s control and not reasonably foreseeable. A student must be passing a course at the time that an Incomplete is requested unless the instructor determines that there are extenuating circumstances to assign an Incomplete to a student who is not passing the course. When an instructor assigns an Incomplete, he or she shall specify in writing using the Department Incomplete Grade Form the requirements the student shall fulfill to complete the course as well as the reasons for granting an Incomplete when the student is not passing the course. The instructor shall retain a copy of this statement in his or her grade records and provide copies to the student and the department head or his or her designee. (Section I.6 of the Academic Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual)

Disability Access
Colorado State University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for all persons with disabilities. Students with disabilities who need accommodations must first contact Resources for Disabled Students before requesting accommodations from the professor. Resources for Disabled Students (RDS; is located in room 100 of the General Services Building. Their phone is (970) 491-6385 (V/TDD). Students who need accommodations in this course must contact the professor at the beginning of the semester to discuss needed accommodations.

Attendance Policy
Students must inform the instructors prior to any anticipated absence and take the initiative to make up missed work in a timely fashion. In the event of a conflict in regard to this policy, individuals may appeal using established University procedures. University-sanctioned activities include competitions, events and professional meetings in which students are officially representing the institution. Appropriate sanctioned activities include:

  • Intercollegiate athletics;
  • Collegiate club sports and competitions;
  • Conferences and workshops recognized by the University not related to academics;
  • Commitments on behalf of the University (ASCSU, band, etc.); and
  • Professional activities recognized by the University related to academics.

Department heads or their designated representatives must approve sanctioned professional and departmental activities. Other sanctioned activities must be approved by the appropriate program director on record with the Division of Student Affairs offices or the Department of Athletics.

Religious Accommodation
Participation in official University activities, e.g., an out-of-town athletic event, or special religious observances may provide a legitimate reason for an excused absence. The student is responsible for discussing this with the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

Final Exam Policy
Final examination week is part of the regular semester. Student attendance shall be consistent with University policy. If a student has three or more final examinations (not classes) scheduled for the same day or if conflicts of examination times occur, the student may negotiate a time change with the instructors involved. If the parties involved cannot find a mutually agreeable time, the Registrar’s Office indicates which courses must be changed. Note: The Registrar’s Office must be notified at least one week prior to Final Examination Week to allow instructors time to make appropriate accommodations.  It is the student’s responsibility to initiate negotiations.

Any student who has a conflict with the examination schedule must inform the instructor as soon as possible before the examination. If an agreement cannot be reached between the instructor and student as to the appropriateness of a make-up examination the student should appeal to the department head.

Professionalism Policy
Per university policy and classroom etiquette; mobile phones and electronic devices must be silenced during all classroom and lab sessions. Those not heeding this rule will be asked to leave the classroom/lab immediately so as to not disrupt the learning environment. Please arrive on time for all class meetings. Students who habitually disturb the class by talking, arriving late, etc., and have been warned may suffer a reduction in their final class grade. When emailing the instructor or TA, please do so in a professional manner by including a salutation, complete sentences, and your full name, CSU ID, and the course number in your email.

Academic Integrity
The Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship takes academic integrity seriously. At minimum, academic integrity means that no one will use another’s work as their own. The CSU writing center defines plagiarism this way:

Plagiarism is the unauthorized or unacknowledged use of another person’s academic or scholarly work. Done on purpose, it is cheating. Done accidentally, it is no less serious. Regardless of how it occurs, plagiarism is a theft of intellectual property and a violation of an ironclad rule demanding “credit be given where credit is due.”
Source: (Writing Guides: Understanding Plagiarism.

If you plagiarize in your work you could lose credit for the plagiarized work, fail the assignment, or fail the course. Each instance of plagiarism, classroom cheating, and other types of academic dishonesty will be addressed according to the principles published in the CSU General Catalog (under “Academic Integrity/Misconduct:

Of course, academic integrity means more than just avoiding plagiarism. It also involves doing your own reading and studying. It includes regular class attendance, careful consideration of all class materials, and engagement with the class and your fellow students. Academic integrity lies at the core of our common goal: to create an intellectually honest and rigorous community. Because academic integrity, and the personal and social integrity of which academic integrity is an integral part, is so central to our mission as students, teachers, scholars, and citizens, we will ask to you sign the CSU Honor Pledge as part of completing all of our major assignments. While you will not be required to sign the honor pledge, we will ask each of you to write and sign the following statement on your papers and exams:

“I have not given, received, or used any unauthorized assistance.”

Title IX Information
CSU’s Student Sexual Harassment and Violence policy, following national guidance from the Office of Civil Rights, requires that faculty follow CSU policy as a “mandatory reporter” of any personal disclosure of sexual harassment, abuse, and/or violence related experiences or incidents shared with the faculty member in person, via email, and/or in classroom papers or homework exercises. These disclosures include but are not limited to reports of personal relational abuse, relational/domestic violence, and stalking. While faculty are often able to help students locate appropriate channels of assistance on campus (e.g., see the CSU Health Network link below), disclosure by the student to the faculty member requires that the faculty member inform appropriate CSU channels to help ensure that the student’s safety and welfare is being addressed, even if the student requests that the disclosure not be shared.
For counseling support and assistance, please see the CSU Health Network, which includes a variety of counseling services that can be accessed at:  And, the Sexual Assault Victim Assistance Team is a confidential resource for students that does not have a reporting requirement and that can be of great help to students who have experienced sexual assault. The web address is Source:

Non-Discrimination Statement
Colorado State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or pregnancy. The University complies with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, related Executive Orders 11246 and 11375, Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 402 of the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and all civil rights laws of the State of Colorado. Accordingly, equal opportunity of employment and admission shall be extended to all persons. The University shall promote equal opportunity and treatment in employment through a positive and continuing affirmative action program for ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veterans. The Office of Equal Opportunity is located in 101 Student Services. Source: