Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

University of Galway

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

  • Host University

    University of Galway

  • Location

    Galway, Ireland

  • Area of Study

    Computer Science, Geography

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Students may not take this course if enrolled in TI216, TI245, or TI253

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Aims and Objectives

    o Basic concepts of GIS
    o Applications of GIS
    o Computer skills

    This course covers the basic concepts and applications of a geographic information system (GIS). The topics of GIS data concept, modelling, attribute management, input and analysis are explained. GIS software ArcView is selected as the main training software package for computer practical in this course. Students will get general knowledge of a GIS and acquire the basic techniques of GIS software to independently produce professional maps and carry out queries and basic analyses.

    General Course Outline

    o Introduction: overview, definition
    o Spatial data concept
    o Spatial data modelling
    o Attribute data management
    o Data input
    o Data analysis


    You are reminded that attendance is important for this course.

    Teaching and learning methods

    o 12 hours lecture (1 hour per week)
    o 12 hours computer practical: Arts Millennium Suites, 1st floor (1 hour per week)
    o Tutorials (Several hours for helping you to do the assignment will be provided)


    1. Ian Heywood, Sarah Cornelius, and Steve Carver: An Introduction to Geographical Information Systems. Longman:
    New York.1998/2002/2006.
    2. Tor Bernhardsen: Geographic Information Systems: An Introduction. 2nd Edition. John Wiley: New York. 1999/2002.
    3. Julie Delaney: Geographical information systems: an introduction. 2nd Edition. OUP Australia & New Zealand. 2007.
    4. Keith C. Clarke: Getting Started with Geographic Information Systems. Prentice Hall. 1998/2001/2003.
    5. ESRI: Getting to Know ArcView GIS. Environmental Systems Research Institute. 1999. 654pp.


    o Two assignments (No.1, 50%, Due Week 9; No. 2, 50% Due Week 13)

    There is no final exam for this course. All the marks will be given based on continuous assessment of the assignments.

    The assignments are designed to help students get familiar with basic concepts and techniques of GIS and critically evaluate their potential applications. Specific requirements for the assignments are provided separately on Q-Drive of the campus network.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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