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E-GEO260 Introduction to geographic information systems

This course aims to prepare students to read, understand, interpret, and create maps and other products from maps for geoscientific purposes.

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Teaching metods


Next course

Spring 2021



Course fee

12 000,- + semester fee

I find mapping to be a powerful tool for decision-making, and this course is a first step in preparing you for using maps and spatial analysis. This course is self-paced so that it can be flexible with your schedule.

Lecturer Lisa Watson


At the end of the semester, students should have an understanding of what it means to create a map. This course is intended to be beneficial for basic cartographic applications.

Specific objectives

  • reading, understanding, and interpreting maps
  • reading and understanding scientific literature
  • writing scientific summary of work
  • basic understanding and use of geographic information systems
  • ability to use and understand basics of GPS
  • solve basic spatial problems using Python
  • present work in a scientific manner.

Course dates

The course will be in the period 15.01.2021 - 01.06.2021

There will be an online meeting 15th of January 2021 10.30.

The exam report can be delivered in Norwegian.

Course Materials

Required materials:

  • Course reading and labs loaded on Canvas as pdf
  • E-lectures via Canvas Studio
  • QGIS open source and free software

Course Policies

  • The course load is equivalent to approximately 10 hours per week.
  • Readings and e-lectures provide appropriate background for exercises.
  • A weekly virtual meeting via Zoom will be held in order to provide support and answer questions.
  • Course communications will be via email and Canvas. It’s up to you to make sure your email is set up correctly with the University.
  • There is no exam for this course.
  • The course follows a self-paced format. All assignments can be handed in early; feedback will be given as appropriate throughout the semester.


  • Test – 20%
  • Cartography report – 35%
  • Mapping project - 45%


GIS and mapping for geoscience (i.e. What is this course about?)

  • E-lecture
  • Course information
  • Assign cartography report
  • Group project assignment explained
  • Groups assigned

History of mapping

  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Basic concepts, parts 1, 2, and 3”

Geodesy and Projections, Coordinate reference systems, datums, and map scales

  • E-lecture o Reading: “Basic concepts, parts 4, 5, 6, and 7”
  • Lab: Projections, CRS, and scales

Data organization and structure

  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Organization, parts 1, 2, and 3”
  • Lab: Organizing data and understanding data structures

Remote sensing

  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Organization, part 4”
  • Lab: Import lidar data to GIS


  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Organization, part 5”
  • Lab: Geocaching and importing GPS data to GIS
  • Downloading data
  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Organization, parts 6”
  • Lab: Find and evaluate online data


  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Organization, part 7”
  • Lab: Georeferencing

Shapefiles and geodatabases, contours and hillshades

  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Organization, parts 8 and 9”
  • Lab: Creating data

Visualisation: Basics to reading a map

  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Visualisation, parts 1, 2, 3, and 4”
  • Lab: Visualisation and map reading

Visualisation: Symbology

  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Visualisation, part 5”
  • Lab: Understanding symbology and map reading

Plan and create a map

  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Visualisation, part 6”
  • Lab: Map creation

Using Python to solve basic spatial problems

  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Python in GIS”
  • Lab: Solving basic spatial problems programmatically

Spatial query o E-lecture

  • Reading: “Spatial Query”
  • Lab: Spatial query

Combining data

  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Combination”
  • Lab: Combination


  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Analysis”
  • Lab: Analyzing data


  • E-lecture
  • Reading: “Prediction”
  • Lab: Using GIS for prediction

Click here to apply for the course Introduction to geographic information systems


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Contact persons

Divisjon for utdanning

UiS etter- og videreutdanning
Divisjon for utdanning

UiS etter- og videreutdanning