NIGB15035U Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Volume 2024/2025

BSc Programme in Natural Resources


The student will learn the basic concepts being used when acquiring, storing, handling and visualing of 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 theoretical as well as practical skills and competences required to work with maps – both in paper and digital form. The students will learn to use the achieved theoretic knowledge when evaluating the quality of available data and produced results. During the course, the students will, through the practical exercises, acquire the skills to conduct a geospatial statistical analysis project and to create 3D scenes. Moreover, the student will practice communication with other professionals within the geodata and GIS community.

Learning Outcome


  • Understand the theory of:
    • Cartography (both in relation to paper and digital maps)
    • Map comprehension and map communication
    • And reflect upon those subject areas.
  • Recognise and fully understand:
    • Map types (topographic, thematic, legal, historic, etc.)
    • Digital data types: the vector data model (2D: points, lines, and polygons; 3D: point cloud, multi-patches, scenes) and the raster data model (images and thematic rasters)
  • Have comprehensive knowledge about:
    • Geospatial data resources (on the servers of the institute and on the internet)
    • Recent developments within the field of GIS
    • Internet-based GIS
    • Key owners/distributors of national and local geospatial data


  • Be proficient in all the steps of a GIS project:
    • Data capture (GPS, digitising and image georectification, LiDAR)
    • Geodatabase build-up and editing
    • Data transformation and analysis (incl. overlay, proximity, network, and geospatial statistical analyses)
    • Map layout and digital cartography (incl. web interface)
    • Assessment of accuracy and quality
  • Understand and convey the theoretical and methodological background of maps. 
  • Discriminate between map types and justify the use of various thematic and topographic datasets for given purposes.
  • Search, identify, and retrieve digital geographic data from various sources.
  • Select data required for a given task and 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 digitising) or a GPS device.
  • Find and select methods of data analysis required for a given task and argue for the choices made.
  • Produce composite maps from multiple sets of digital map sources.
  • Use internet-based GIS resources of geospatial data and tools.



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

See Absalon/Canvas for course literature.

Comprehensive knowledge of IT, including good practical skills in catalogue organization in Windows or similar, is highly recommended. Some basic understanding of math and statistics.
The course is constituted of lectures, exercises and an analytical project work. Exercises will take place in the digital student computer lab.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 23
  • Preparation
  • 100
  • Practical exercises
  • 77
  • Excursions
  • 2
  • Guidance
  • 1
  • Exam
  • 3
  • Total
  • 206

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 geospatial project (incl. a Report).

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
On-site written exam, 3 hours under invigilation
Type of assessment details
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. One longer question referring more to the practical skills of handling a GIS project.
Exam registration requirements

Assignments have to be handed in and accepted. The digital test forms connected to the exercises (e.g. DIGIT tests, provided by the Absalon/Canvas) have to be completed. Further, the project work has to be displayed as a public poster, or as a web-based StoryMap, and be accepted.

Only certain aids allowed

All text material (including the text book, the hand-outs and notes relating to the lectures and exercises), in paper or digital format, 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

Same as the ordinary exam.

Requirements listed under the Exam registration requirements have to be met no later than three weeks before re-examination, in order to be eligable for re-examination.

Criteria for exam assesment

See Learning outcome