Penn State

Steven Dimitri Henderson

Master's of Geographic Information Systems Program

My Job...

I am the GIS Coordinator for the Information Systems Division of the City of Gulf Shores, Alabama. I started working for the City in the Public Works Department as a civil engineer doing small project design, repair and maintenance contracts, and reviewing  drainage and construction plans for new subdivisions and commercial sites.  As the City's use of technology grew I became the City's "computer guy", purchasing computers, expanding and managing our networks, email, and even created the City's original six page web site (1998).  I managed the City's computer support contract and eventually supervised the City's first part-time Information Systems employee until the City finally created an Information Systems Division.  I now work in the Information Systems Division and focus on the development and implementation of the City's GIS for City operations and to provide maps and other information to it's citizens. 

The link below will take you to our web site,

My GIS Experience...

My first experience with GIS was an early experimental Intergraph (Microstation) based GIS created for the Army at Fort Benning, GA in the late 80's.& While I was a student co-op, I imported the GIS's topographic and utility data to help create site plans  for projects under design and helped engineers by drawing construction details.  After graduation working there as an engineer, I used both the maps and the associated database for the design of repairs for a sewer line project, the site plans for a large concrete utility trench, and even played with the early 3D capabilities for a truck ramp and scale installation.   After I came to the City of Gulf Shores, we utilized GIS data created by the Baldwin County Tax Assessor's office. We have used GIS data for a variety of City projects including beach renourishment, traffic planning, hurricane preparation, and maintenance and repair contracts.The picture below was generated from the City's geodatabase, showing an area around Little Lagoon Pass with FEMA flood zones, beach regulatory lines, and associated monuments overlaid onto our most recent aerial photography.

gsgis.jpg (43213 bytes)

About me...

I grew up on the Gulf Coast in Pensacola and Gulf Breeze, Florida. I went to Auburn University for my bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering and worked for some time as an engineer at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Now I live and work in Gulf Shores, Alabama. I completed Penn State's GIS Certificate Program in 2001 and am now enrolled and working on my Master's Degree in GIS. In my spare time, I enjoy kayaking on Little Lagoon and I am a fan of college football (Auburn Tigers, and now, Penn State Nittany Lions).

My Kayak on the Lagoon

Email Form

Email Form

Master's Program Courses

Geography 596A - Individual Studies Capstone Project Peer Review

This course consists of the individual research and preparation of a project to apply advanced knowledge skills related to geographic information systems in a way that makes a substantial contribution to his or her professional work.  The course culminates in a formal seminar presentation reviewed by students and faculty members.

Capstone Proposal Narrative

Proposal Presentation - A User Evaluation of Virtual Alabama

Virtual Alabama

Geography 497J - GIS Mashups for Geospatial Professionals (3 Credit Course)

This course is an expansion of Geography 863 into a three credit course. It expanded the primarily Google Maps API JavaScript programming course to cover HTML, Hypertext Markup Language, and its extension into XHTML and CSS, Cascading Style Sheets, in much more detail than the original course. The final project also covered using server side scripting languages such as PHP and SQL to extract data from a database to improve performance over text based XML files.

Web Publishing Technologies: HTML/XHTML/CSS

Introduction to GIS Mashups

Adding Basic Functionality to a GIS Mashups

Reading Data from an XML File

Reading Data from a Database

AL Vote '08


Geography 863 - GIS Mashups for Geospatial Professionals - (1 Credit Course)

This course develops a working knowledge of how geospatial professionals can develop web mapping applications that bring together data from multiple sources.  In the context of information technology, the term “mashup” refers to a web application that combines content from multiple sources into a whole that is greater than its parts. A GIS mashup is one in which at least a portion of the content is geographic in nature and in which information is typically conveyed through a map.  Companies like Google Earth and Yahoo! now offer free application programming interfaces (APIs) which make it easier and more affordable to publish online maps. These APIs provide a set of base layers upon which the map developer can overlay his/her own geocoded data. These data may be stored in files on the developer’s own server or they may be obtained dynamically through public web services or by parsing data embedded within other web pages.  This course demonstrates how GIS mashups can be created using the Google Maps API.

Lesson 1 - Introduction to GIS Mashups 

Lesson 2 - Adding Basic Functionality to a GIS Mashups

Lesson 3 - Reading Data from an XML File

Mashup Example



Geography 585 - Open Web Mapping

The course prepares students to design, develop, and implement custom web mapping applications using open standards and open source software. On completion of the course, students will be able to build and deploy a complete web mapping solution including selecting the spatial data, the server and client software. Students will be able to determine which type of mapping server is required for their needs and to explain why choosing an open standard based solution is better than a proprietary solution. The course will cover a variety of open source software packages for web mapping and will provide pointers to commercial solutions where appropriate.

Online Zoning Map Demonstration Proposal

Online Zoning Map Demonstration Installation and Instructions

 GS Zoning Demo Screen Capture



Geography 486 - Cartography and Visualization

Through this course's projects, students confront realistic problem scenarios that incorporate such skills and concepts as creating symbolization schemes, coordinate systems and map projections, creating isoline and other terrain representations, interpolation, classification schemes, multivariate representation and representation of data uncertainty. Those who successfully complete the course are able to design and produce effective reference and thematic maps using GIS software, can create and analyze workflows, and can interpret and critique maps and related information graphics verbally.

Cartographic Division & Initial Capstone Project Proposals

Emergency Management Reference Map - Week 1

Emergency Management Reference Map - Week 2

Representing Volumes and Surfaces

Multiple Classifications and Multiple Representations of Crime - Week 1

Multiple Classifications and Multiple Representations of Crime - Week 2



Geography 586 - Geographic Information Analysis

Choosing and applying analytical methods for geospatial data, including point pattern analysis, interpolation, surface analysis, overlay analysis, and spatial autocorrelation.  Analytical methods for handling specifically spatial data, that is, data where the arrangement of observations in space is thought to be of significance. The techniques introduced are often mathematically complex, but while these aspects are covered in the course, the emphasis is on the choice and application of appropriate methods for the analysis of the spatial data often encountered in applied geography.

Project 1 - Texas Redistricting Spatial Analysis

Project 3 - Understanding Random Spatial Processes

Project 4 - Point Pattern Analysis

Project 5 - Interpolation Methods

Project 6 - Raster Map Analysis

Project 8 - Spatial Autocorrelation

Quarter Long Project - Identifying Flood Prone Areas

Road Weighted Distance Allocation


Geography 584 - Geospatial Technology Project Management

Project management is a broad discipline that encompasses both technical methodologies such as system design and analysis, and interpersonal factors that affect professional relationships. Project management is also a discipline that has matured outside of, but can be incorporated into, geospatial technology.  By the end of this course, you will have devised a project plan from a scenario built upon the Philadelphia pole and pole attachment geodatabase you designed in the previous course. Your project plan will include a scope, detailed work structure with time line, a budget, a project roles and responsibility matrix, a quality plan, and a plan to address risk.

Assignment 1 - Geospatial Project Review

Peer Review - Assignment 1

Assignment 2 - Project Charter

Peer Review - Assignment 2

Assignment 3 - Position Description

Peer Review - Assignment 3

Assignment 4 – Gantt Chart and Network Diagram

Peer Review - Assignment 4

Assignment 5 - Quality Plan

Peer Review - Assignment 5

Assignment 6 - Budget

Peer Review - Assignment 6

Assignment 7 - Earned Value Analysis



Geography 583 - Geospatial Systems Analysis and Design

The course provides the geospatial information system professional an overview of systems analysis and design with emphasis the concepts behind the design process including: business use case modeling, business object modeling, requirements definition, analysis and preliminary design, and, finally, detailed design and deployment. The concepts of the geospatial software and database development process are introduced and the limitations of current modeling techniques are addressed within the spatial systems development paradigm. In a series of related activities the student applies the methods, tools and the concepts of the systems development process to document a portion of a geospatial system with Unified Modeling Language (UML), the standard graphical notation for modeling application needs. UML affords a common unifying framework that integrates database models with the rest of a system design.

Why Design Assignment

Tomlinson vs Rational Unified Process

Use Cases

Final Assignment Executive Summary

Class Diagram



Certificate Program 2000-2001

I completed the certificate program before the Master's program was available.  When it was announced, I intended to start on it immediately, but Hurricane Ivan and Katrina delayed my start.   We used  ArcView 3.x way back then.  Click the link below to see the work I completed for the certificate program.