Undergraduate course

Geographical Information Systems: Theory and Practice

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Objectives and Content

The aim of this course is to introduce the student to Geographical Information Systems through a theoretical and practical approach.

This is an introductory course in GIS as a tool for the analysis of spatial data. Lectures introduce the theoretical aspects; computer labs provide the hands-on experience with professional GIS software.

This study covers topics like the different definitions and understandings of GIS as a tool versus a science, GIS in a historical and future perspective, the different data structures used to represent geographical data and how to secure the quality of such data. Further it focuses on the organisation of geographical data in databases and how to query these, and it presents various types of spatial analyses, modelling and sources of errors in GIS. The principles and applications of remote sensing are presented and an introduction to image processing is given.

Learning Outcomes

Having completed the course the student should be able to:

  • manage and analyse geographical data in a geographical information system (GIS) based on the theoretical and practical knowledge the student achieved during the course.
  • demonstrate adequate knowledge about how data are represented in a GIS.
  • demonstrate adequate knowledge about basic data management in GIS.
  • demonstrate adequate knowledge about remote sensing as a method to collect data.
  • demonstrate adequate knowledge about different analytical tools in GIS and how these can be combined in models (geoprocessing).
  • identify potential sources of error in a GIS-project.
  • discuss the potential future development of GIS.

Required Previous Knowledge

GEO110, GEO115 or equivalent knowledge in cartography.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEO111, GEO112 and/or 204 (introduction courses in physical geography and/or quantitative method)

Access to the Course

Open to all students at the University of Bergen.

This course has a limited number of places. When registering for the course you apply to be admitted. The registration deadline for GEO215 is Friday in week 34, before the regular deadline. Students who fulfill the prerequisites, are admitted to the course after this priority list:

  1. Students from the bachelor programme in geography, geography students from the bachelor programme in environment and resource management and geography students from the bachelor programme in development studies.
  2. Students from the master programme in geography at University of Bergen
  3. Exchange students from universities who have an Erasmus agreement with the Department of Geography
  4. Students from other programmes at The University of Bergen
  5. Exchange students from other universities

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Lectures, computer labs with mandatory exercises

6-8 lectures á 2 hours

1 datalab á 3 hours per week (7-8 datalabs)

Total: 12-16 hours of lectures: 24 hours in computer lab

10-12 weeks in total

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

2 approved lab reports

Forms of Assessment

Home exam and oral exam. The oral exam may adjust the final grade.

Grading Scale

Grading A-F

Subject Overlap

GEO205 (5 ects) and GEO305 (5 ects)

Assessment Semester


Reading List

Literature is specified on a separate list. In addition all seminar descriptions and other material provided on Mitt Uib are part of the curriculum.

Course Evaluation

GEO215 will be evaluated minimum every third semester


Contact Information

Department of Geography


Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Home exam and oral exam

    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam
    • Exam part: Home exam

      Submission deadline
      13.12.2017, 14:00
      Examination system
      Digital exam
    • Exam part: Oral exam