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Geographic Information Systems

Vak
2022-2023

Admission requirements

Required course(s):

  • Introduction to Statistics

Description

Geographic information systems (GIS) are computer systems for the collection, storage, visualization, and display of geographically referenced information. A GIS can be used to ask and answer complex questions that have a spatial component. We can use a GIS, for example, to choose suitable land for a residential development based upon a series of criteria (distance from wildlife refuges, cost, slope, soil type) or to identify statistically significant clusters of infant deaths in a city. In fact, there are applications for GIS in almost any area of study including policy science, urban and regional planning, public health/epidemiology, geology, hydrology, history, anthropology, paleontology, and, of course, geography.

In this course we utilize GIS to examine spatial data in relation to a range of environmental and socioeconomic issues. This course introduces GIS using common desktop packages called QGIS 3.x, or ArcGIS 10.x. You will use this software and some additional programs, called ‘plug-ins’ (QGIS) or ‘extensions’ (ArcGIS), for vector and raster (grid-based) analysis. The course is problem-based. Your task is to solve problems using the GIS and to demonstrate your new knowledge through homework projects, a practical exam, and a research project.

Course Objectives

Skills:

  • Students will develop and carry out a scientifically sound GIS project.

  • Students will effectively demonstrate scientific writing and technical skills related to spatial topics.

Knowledge:

  • Students will work together and individually to identify spatial questions and appropriate GIS methods to answer them in class and on their own time.

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of key terminology, concepts and software tools and how to apply them to analysing spatial problems.

Timetable

Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2022-2023 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

This methodology course will focus on both theoretical ideas underpinning how a GIS works and the practical skills you will need to use a GIS in a research setting. To that end this course will rely on lectures to introduce concepts and skills and then students will be asked to apply lecture material through hands on exercises. To demonstrate that students can independently utilize the material introduced during class sessions they will complete a practical exam, three lab assignments, and a final project.

Assessment Method

  • Participation, 10%

  • Labs x3, (1 @ 10%; 2 @ 15%)

  • Exam, 15%

  • Final Project, 35%

While this is primarily a course that will teach you specific skills, you will also be learning elements of scientific writing such as describing data and methodological choices in the process of developing your final project and homework assignments.

Reading list

Subject to change)

  • Heywood, Ian, Sarah Cornelius, and Steve Carver. 2011. An Introduction to Geographical Information Systems, 4th edition. London: Pearson.

Registration

Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator, course.administration@luc.leidenuniv.nl.

Contact

Dr. Achim Haeger, a.hager@luc.leidenuniv.nl

Remarks

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