Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Course content

The student will learn the basic concepts being used when acquiring, storing, handling and visualizing geographical information – with an emphasis on digital maps and digital techniques. The course will introduce the basic analytical capabilities of vector/feature- as well as raster-based GIS. Further, focus will be put on basic cartography and map-reading. In this way the student will obtain the needed theoretic as well as practical skills and competences required to work with maps – both in paper and digital form. The student will learn to use the achieved theoretic knowledge when evaluating the quality of available data and produced results. During the course, the student will, through the practical exercises, acquire the skills to plan, carry out and they shall submit a GIS project. Moreover, the student will practice communication with other professionals within the geospatial data and GIS community. 




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Learning outcome


  • Cartography (both in relation to paper and digital maps respectively)
  • Map Comprehension and Appreciation
  • Map Types (topographic, thematic, legal, historic, etc.)
  • Geospatial Data Resources (at the servers of the Institute and on the Internet)
  • Digital Data Types: the vector data model (2D: points, lines and polygons; 3D: point cloud) and the raster data model (images and thematic rasters)
  • Data Capture (GPS, digitizing and image georectification, LiDAR)
  • Geodatabase build-up and editing
  • Assessment of Accuracy and Quality
  • Data Transformation and Analysis (incl. overlay, proximity and network analyses)
  • Recent developments within the field of GIS
  • Internet-based GIS
  • Map Layout and Digital Cartography
  • GIS in Landscape and Urban Planning, Geodesign


  • Understand and appreciate the theoretic and methodological background of maps.
  • Discriminate between map types, and to justify the use of various thematic and topographic datasets for given purposes.
  • Search, identify and retrieve digital geographic data from various sources, incl. knowledge of key owners/distributors of national and local geospatial data.
  • Select data required for a given task, and to argue for the choices made.
  • Decide which type of geographical data (point, line, polygon, raster) to apply in a given context, to a given phenomenon.
  • Produce digital geospatial data ‘from scratch’ using analogue maps and aerial photos (incl. georectification, georeferencing and digitizing), or a GPS device.
  • Find and select methods of data analysis required for a given task, and to argue for the choices made.
  • Produce composite maps from multiple sets of digital map sources.
  • Using Internet-based GIS resources of geospatial data and tools.



  • To possess a comprehensive insight into maps in general and GIS in specific – from map reading to creating/collecting, storing, transforming, and presenting digital spatial data.
  • To apply maps and spatial analytical results to articles, theses, project reports, posters etc, produced after attending the course.
  • To plan, prepare and carry out project work together with colleagues and external partners.

The course is constituted of lectures, exercises and a project work. It is recommended – but not a prerequisite – that the projects are conjoined with activities related to other courses and project works. Exercises will take place in the digital student computer lab.

See Absalon/Canvas for course literature.

There are no specific formal requirements. All Master level students may sign up for the course, however, comprehensive knowledge of IT, including good practical skills in catalogue organization in Windows or similar, is recommended as well as some basic understanding of math and statistics.
Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.


Written + Individual: Relates to the compulsory outputs from the practical exercises (e.g. map layouts), handed in by the student.
Written and/or Oral + Collective: Relates to the process and the outputs of the group project (incl. a Project Plan and a Poster).

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 3 hours under invigilation
The three hour digital examination consists of two parts:
1. Shorter, factual questions referring to the text of all exercises, lecture presentations and other obligatory course texts.
2. A practical computer exercise (using a GIS software) relating to the skills acquired during the course exercises.
Only certain aids allowed

All text material (including the text book, the hand-outs and notes relating to the lectures), in paper or digital format, may be used.
Pocket calculators may be used.
Students are not permitted to bring their own computers, tablets, cell phones or other types of communication gear.



Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Two internal examiners/co-examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

In order to pass the course the student should obtain 50% correct answers on the written exam. Furthermore, in order to obtain the grade 12, the student should convincingly and accurately demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competences described under Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 23
  • Preparation
  • 106
  • Practical exercises
  • 64
  • Excursions
  • 7
  • Guidance
  • 3
  • Exam
  • 3
  • English
  • 206