Topic outline

  • Welcome to GIS Development

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      Join the course Team with the Team code p4w6k4f.

      Learning sessions and other course meetings will be held in the Team, on the general channel.

      You can join the course learning sessions by using this link: Click here to join the meeting.

    • Due to the ongoing Covid-19 epidemic GIS-E4030 GIS Development course will be held 100% on-line. This requires adjustments to the learning sessions, as well as in how the students on the course work in their group work projects. I urge especially those students who are uncertain of their technical expertise to reserve some extra time for the course activities. When a tool or a framework does not work as it should, it can take quite some time to get everything running.

      This year, the course will span two periods for the first time. Thus, there is a lot of flexibility in how we conduct the course. More on this on the first learning session.

      The courses uses MS Teams for learning sessions and for daily discussion for matters related to the whole course. Details how to join the team for the course will be added here later.

      Goal of the course

      The goal of this course is for the students learn how methods required for GIS application development work. After the course, the student has an understanding how software development projects work, how spatial data is developed, how services are set up, and how databases can be maintained, and used in GIS analysis. Depending on the exact project topic as well as the student's role in the project group, they are likely to focus on some of these topics more than others.

      In addition, the students familiarize themselves and practice with the technological tools required in GIS software development and management of GIS data sets, and make a short GIS development project. In the project, the students will practice how to keep track of the amount of work done on a software project, and compare this to the amount of resources assigned.

      The project will be done in groups. The groups will have 3-5 people, with group of size 4 being the optimal. A group of this size can continue to function, even if one person needs to drop out of the course. A group of four is also sufficiently large that the participants can divide work between them, and people can specialize in different tasks. However, in a group of four, there aren’t too many people, and therefore everyone will find work they need to do in the project.

      The amount of time a student should dedicate for work outside the learning sessions is approximately 100 hours. This comes to approximately 10 hours of work per week during the 10 weeks of the project work. This number includes both the work done for developing the group project, as well work needed for individual studying.

      After the course, the students are familiar with the practical work and tools used in software projects, and have practiced working in a software project group.


      For masters' students in geoinformatics the GIS-E1070 Theories and techniques in GIS is a prerequisite course. Geoinformatics students who have not finished the course should contact the course staff before the first session.

      In general, the following skills are useful on the course:
      • Programming experience and interest
      • Familiarity with and interest in learning programming environments, frameworks, libraries, and ability to learn new programming languages and environments
      • Interest in group work and willingness to work on projects
      To those students who feel hesitant after reading the prerequisites: remember that in your working life you are very likely to encounter all sorts of project work you need to do. In those projects you will encounter new tools, new concepts, and new technology you need to master. This course is a chance to practice that in a safe environment. You will learn things, and there is no a external customer here.

      Learning and exercise sessions and use of time on the course

      There will be no traditional lectures on the course. Instead, on every Thursday during period IV, there will be a learning session in MS Teams, where we will discuss the topics related to the course. The sessions can include also brief lectures, but the work methods will also include different kinds of group discussions and such. The maximum time for individual learning session is 4 hours. Approximately 3 hours likely to be closer to the mark.

      The learning sessions will be complemented by self-study material. The material is to be read before the session. In order to emphasize this, there is a pre-assignment for each learning session, which are obligatory part of the course. In order to do the pre-assignment, you need to read the material, consider it, and write a short report. Each pre-assignment should take 2-4 hours of work.

      The deadline for each pre-assignment is on the evening before the learning session. This is in order to give the course staff time to read through the submissions before the session.

      For the pre-assignments you need to reserve 6*4=24 hours and for the learning sessions you need to reserve approximately 18 hours. Most likely to the total amount of work used for these parts of the course will be less than 48 hours, total.

      In addition, on Fridays every student group on the course can have a session with the staff for discussing their project.

      These sessions can either be support sessions or deadline sessions. In the support sessions, the purpose of the session is for the group to be able to bring problems they have to the course staff. In the deadline sessions, the group can demonstrate the current state of their project, and discuss with the course staff what will be the next steps.

      For these sessions you need to reserve 10 hours.

      For project work and individual learning (with pre-assignment work excluded) you should reserve approximately 100 hours.

      Thus, in total, the course can take 140-150 hours of work. The total amount of work per student may vary a lot, depending on individual circumstances.

      Course grading

      The course grade is based on the grade of the project, adjusted by the grade of the learning portfolio. The pre-assignments need to be submitted before each session, and should also be included in the portfolio.

      The project is graded from 0 (failed) to 5, a grade of 0 from the project will mean the whole course is failed.

      The learning portfolio is graded either failed, or from -1 to +2.

      A failed learning portfolio will mean the whole course is failed; otherwise the learning portfolio grade is used to adjust the project grade to get the full course grade (maximum of 5). To give an example, a project grade of 2 and a portfolio grade of -1 will give the student the course grade 2-1=1, and a project grade of 3 and portfolio grade of 0 will give the student course grade 3.

      A portfolio grade of -1 cannot fail the course, thus if the project grade is 1 and the portfolio grade is -1, the course grade will be 1.

      Project grading

      Both the project result (the software and/or service delivered) and the project documentation including the final report will be graded from 0 (failed) to 3.

      Grade 3 is given for very good or excellent work.

      Grade 2 is given to a work of good quality.

      Grade 1 is given for a functional work of low quality.

      Grade 0 is given for not returning the work, work with significant omissions, or really low quality. A grade 0 will fail the project.

      The final project grade will be the sum of these two grades minus one. Thus, if a group gets 2 from their project and 2 from their documentation, their final grade will be 2+2-1=3.

      Portfolio grading

      Failed: no portfolio has been returned, or the returned portfolio is significantly incomplete.

      Grade -1: The portfolio is missing parts, or is of low quality. The portfolio does not demonstrate how the student has participated on the course, how they now understand the course topics, and how they have learned on the course.

      Grade 0: The default grade; the portfolio contains all the required elements, but does not show any significant merits, or does not demonstrate how the student learned and absorbed the course contents.

      Grade +1: A good portfolio that contains all the required elements, and shows that the student has focused on the course and the portfolio, and has been able to learn and analyze their learning.

      Grade +2: An excellent portfolio that delivers all the required elements in a praiseworthy manner, as well as goes beyond the requirements in analyzing what the student now understands and what they have learned on the course.