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Advanced Geographic Information Systems



[BSc], GPH, GED, EES, ID, PSc, S

Admission Requirements

Geographic Information Systems.


Geographic Information Systems are used as a fundamental research tool in many scientific, often multidisciplinary, fields. Whether it is sustainability, environmental modeling or global public health, in all these disciplines location can play an essential role. In this course you will take a specific spatial perspective on one of your Major topics in the form of a small research project which you set up and carry out by yourself from A to Z. You will apply Geographic Information Systems in a scientifically sound way to integrate your data, map spatial patterns, unravel spatial relations and finally answer your research question. You will also try to address specific spatial issues that are well known in Geographic Information Science. During the course specific advanced spatial analytical methods, relevant for your projects will be presented and discussed (e.g. use of ArcGIS model builder, spatial statistics, raster modeling techniques and application of remote sensing data).

The course is very practical and relies on your self-efficacy and the interactions with your peers and teacher for evaluation and support. It will finalize with the presentation of a scientific research poster on your subject. You will need to deliver a research topic (title) with an initial research question to your teacher before the start of the course.

This course builds on the introductory course Geographic Information Systems (block 2/3).

Course Objectives

  • Set up and carry out a scientifically sound GIS project autonomously

  • Acquire skills and knowledge on the selection, integration, spatial analysis/modeling and presentation of geographic data and spatial information using GIS and spatial analytical methods

  • Understand the role of location and recognize specific spatial issues in a selected scientific subject

  • Practice and evaluate general academic skills.


The following textbook is not compulsory but recommended for students who want to have a good reference source for both practical and scientific aspects of GIS application:

Longley, P. A. (2015) Geographic Information Systems Science, 4th Edition, West Sussex, England: John Wiley and Sons, p. 504.

Or (e.g. for used version):

Longley, P. A., Goodchild, M. F., McGuire, D. J., and Rhind, D. W. (2005). Geographic Information Systems and Science, 3rd Edition, West Sussex, England: John Wiley and Sons, p. 560.

Contact Information

Alfred J. Wagtendonk
Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)
Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences
VU University Amsterdam
de Boelelaan 1085
1081 HV Amsterdam
Tel. +31 20 59 89558