Topic outline

  • Welcome to GIS Development

    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.

    The first pre-assignment can be found in the Course materials -page.

    • 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 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 project work 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:
      • General interest in spatial problem solving and spatial problems
      • Programming experience and interest
      • Familiarity with and interest in learning software environments, frameworks, libraries, and ability to learn new 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, 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. The pre-assignments typically consists of reading some material and preparing to discuss it on the session. Each pre-assignment should take 1-4 hours of work.

      For the pre-assignments you need to reserve from 6 to 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.

      Thus, in total, the course can take 100-150 hours of work. The total amount of work per student may vary a lot, depending on individual circumstances.