Topic outline

  • Due to the easing of the Covid-19 restrictions the plan is to have the GIS-E4030 GIS Development course held on-campus. If there are students interested in taking the course who do not have access to the Otaniemi Campus (due to e.g. distance), they should contact the teacher in charge of the course ASAP.

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

  • course schedule is as follows.

    Week (dates)

    Learning session

    Exercise session

    9 (28.2-6.3)

    Learning session 1

    Introduction to course, working in groups, software projects

    No session (project not started)

    10 (7-13.3)

    Learning session 2

    Project management and budgeting
    Area green factor (guest lecture)

    Project kickoff session

    11 (14-20.3)

    Learning session 3

    3d models
    Helsinki 3d models (guest lecture)

    Support session (obligatory)

    12 (21-27.3)

    Learning session 4

    Software development projects & spatial web services

    Deadline session

    13 (28.3-3.4)

    Learning session 5

    Topic TBA

    Support session (optional)

    14 (4-10.4)

    Learning session 6

    Project delivery and finalizing a project

    Deadline session

    15 (11-17.4)

    Period IV assessment week (no more learning sessions)

    Good Friday, no session

    16 (18-24.4)


    Project mid-term presentation (Deadline session)

    17 (25.4-1.5)


    Support session (optional)

    18 (2-8.5)


    Deadline session

    19 (9-15.5)

     Ascension day

    Support session (optional)

    20 (16-22.5)

    Project delivery & end seminar (20th)

    21 (23-29.5)


    Learning portfolio delivery (29th)

    22 (30.5-5.6)

     Period V assessment week


    During period IV, there will be a learning session on every Thursday starting at noon (12:15, to be exact). There will be no such events on period V.

    The course project will last 10 weeks (5 SCRUM sprints). The project will start early in period IV, and will last until late period V. Preliminary schedule is to start the project on the second week, and have the project delivery in late May.

    During both periods IV and V, there will be short (max 1h) chance for to meet the course staff regarding the project on Fridays between 10 and 12. Every other of these meetings will be an obligatory SCRUM spring review session. Every other session will be an optional, more general session, where the project group can discuss any issues they have with the course staff.

    In the beginning ov period V, there will be a mid-project presentation, where the project groups will describe their project and their work to the whole course.

    At the end of period V, there will be a project delivery seminar, where the groups will present their projects and formally submit them.

  • In order to pass the course, you need to do the following:

    1.      Do the project as part of a group
    Make a learning portfolio

    An overview of the project is given on the GIS development project page. Details of the learning portfolio are given below.

    Learning sessions (lectures) on the course

    On each week, we will hold a four-hour learning session. These learning sessions are not traditional lectures. Instead, we will look at the issues important to the course (such as working in a project, data management for a web service, etc.) together. The sessions will contain some lecture-like elements, but also group work, presenting your group work results, etc.

    The learning sessions will be held on campus on Thursdays at 12-14.

    Exercise sessions on the course

    Also, once per week each project group will have a one-hour session with the course staff to discuss the current state of their project. The sessions are either support sessions, or deadline sessions.

    In support sessions the group can bring forth problems they have had and ask for advice, or otherwise discuss what they need in order to move forward with their work.

    In deadline sessions the current state of the group’s project is reviewed, and the course staff will compare the state to the current Sprint Goals.

    Each group needs to reserve the time for their session beforehand.

    The Learning portfolio

    The learning portfolio consists of the following elements:

    1. A learning diary focusing on your work in the project, but also covering the learning sessions (lectures)
      1. Focus the diary on your part of the work in the project. You can, for example, include some of the following topics in your learning diary: what did you do, how much did you know beforehand and how much did you learn during the project, what did you consider particularly challenging, or particularly enjoyable, and what parts of your own work are you most proud of.
      2. Make sure to write the learning diary so it reflects on your own learning during the project, as well as remember to cover the whole project
      3. One way to structure the diary is also to take into account how the project is structured: the starting phase, two Sprints, and finally finishing the project
      4. The size of a good learning diary can be anything from 5 to 15 pages, depending on your writing style and the level detail you are using
    2. The time keeping you did for the project. You can also keep track of the time you used on the course that was not part of the project work.
    3. Your personal reflection on the project and the group work: what did it feel like working in a software project group, did your group work well together, were there things you think you succeeded particularly well, or things you failed at, etc.Appropriate length for this part of the protfolio is between 1 and 4 pages, depending on how much you feel you need to say, as well as how much you think you need to go into details

    You can also give course feedback in the learning portfolio, but this part is not required and will not affect the grading. You can also give feedback using the course feedback form if you wish for your feedback to be anonymous.

    If you want, you can further structure your learning diary using things like the Gibbs’ reflective cycle. The following web resources might be useful:

  • The learning session materials as well the pre-assignments and submission box for the learning diary can be found here.

  • Topic 1: wind speed analysis process using ANSYS and CSC HPC resources

    Your organization has been hired by the City of Helsinki to do a wind analysis on the Helsinki 3d city model. However, before the actual analysis work can be started, you need to figure out the best way to approach the problem. Thus, you have been given the task of figuring out how to tackle the problem. 

    Helsinki City is interested in how wind behaves at ground level (at most 2m above the ground): wind speed behind obstacles from different directions, over- and underpressure caused by the wind. The pressure changes are also interesting at above 2m height due to how they can affect buildings. Input data sources for the project also need to be considered. The wind simulations should include the most likely wind directions on a level of each month. The data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute would be the first choice, due to being public data from a reliable data source in Finland, but other data sources should be considered if FMI data turns out to be difficult to work with. 

    The preferred software for the analysis is Ansys Discovery. For interactive work with small datasets, the Ansys Discovery Student edition ( is available for this project. The first task in the project is to find out how to do the analysis on Ansys Discovery in interactive mode (e.g. using the graphical user interface), and document this task on a level where the documentation alone can be used to duplicate the process. 

    However, the graphical version of the software is insufficient for large datasets and bigger analyses. For that your organization has access the Ansys engineering simulation suite in  high-performance computing resources (the Centre for Scientific Computing HPC suite: The second task in the project - to be done after the completion of the first - is to document how to use HPC resources for large-scale analysis, including delivery of the data to the HPC environment, execution of the analysis tasks, and retrieval of the result data in appropriate format(s).

    Topic 2: Area green factor web service

    In this project your task is to develop a prototype web service for providing spatial area green factor data for user-provided urban plans. The area green factor is a tool for estimating ecosystem services to support sustainable urban planning. An Excel-based calculator has been developed already: and there is a Swedish QGIS plugin available that does similar calculation ( Thus the primary material for the project is not in English, which should also be reflected in the project group (at least one person needs to be fluent in Finnish; at least one person fluent in Swedish would be beneficial). The area green factor includes six ecosystem services: 1. biodiversity 2. noise control 3. stormwater management 4. microclimate control 5. pollination 6. recreation and health. In this work, your task is to see what open geospatial data can be used as source data for the calculation and to create a prototype web application for providing area green factor data. In the prototype, only publicly available data will be used as input. Therefore the ecosystem services included and how they can be taken into account will need some adjustment for this prototype service. The client is aware that the results of this project will be a best-effort solution instead of a full implementation of all ecosystem services.

    In the first phase of the project, the area green factor web service should be able to show green factor calculation results for a given area. It is important to also provide sufficient metadata about how the green factor calculations were done (e.g. input data included and possible simplifications in the analysis process). After this has been established, the service should be expanded to support user-provided urban plans. Thus, the users should be able to use the service to, for example, compare the green factor differences between different urban plans.

  • The course grades are created using each student's learning portfolio, as well as the deliverables from the development project:  the development project report, the project expenses report and the project log.

    The learning portfolio will create 50% of the course grade and the project deliverables 50% of the course grade. Both are assessed using points so that maximum possible total for the course is 40 points. Grades are awarded according to points.

    Passing grade for the course is 20 points, with minimum requirement of 5 points fro both the learning portfolio and the project assessment.

    Learning portfolio assessment

    In order to pass the course, the learning portfolio must be submitted and a minimum of 5 points must be gained from it. The maximum points for the portfolio is 20 points.

    The learning diary part of the portfolio can get a maximum of 9 points.
    The personal reflection part of the portfolio can get a maximum of 9 points.
    The timekeeping part of the portfolio can get a maximum of 2 points.

    Project assessment

    In order to pass the course, the project gorup must submit a project report, a expenses report and a project log and get a minimum of 5 points of them combined and a minimum of 1 point from each.

    The project report is worth a maximum of 10 points.
    The expenses report is worth a maximum of 4 points.
    The project log is worth a maximum of 6 points.