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High hopes for ‘map app’ courses

Geographical information systems, ‘GIS’, are being used for almost everything now, including map applications on smart phones. Students from 14 countries took a course on it

Plans are afoot to offer courses across all University of Copenhagen faculties and professions in the use of the so-called Geographical Information System, GIS.

This is according to Lene Fischer, associate professor at the Institute for Geoscience and Nature Management IGN, who has just held a course on it.

GIS – or Geographic Information System – is a collection of hardware, software and geographic data that lets you visualize, question, analyze, interpret and understand all data which has a geographical component. Release of basic, geographical, data is increasingly allowing research, and a host of practical applications.

Read our article: So what is GIS?

Diverse courses, programmes

Examples of this are traffic maps, that update in real time, letting you avoid traffic jams, smartphone applications that let you find your buddies on the ski slopes, and to check the geology under your feet.

Students learning geography, landscape architecture, geology and more have for some time been able to learn about both basic and advanced use of Geographical Information System, GIS. Now, according to Lene Fischer, the experience from this course will be used to create more detailed, more advanced and more future-oriented courses.

“We plan for more diversity, both in the way courses are held, in the composition of students and in the programmes we use,” says Lene Fischer. Lene finished teaching the advanced GIS-course just two weeks ago.

Open source – open borders

For the first time at the University of Copenhagen, a GIS course was held, for the most part, on an open source platform. The objectives of the course were to give an effective approach to the use of open source GIS in a way that was practical relevant for work in nature conservation, forestry and outdoor planning.

“Together with the fact that basic, geographical data have been released, open source programmes increase the number of people being able to work with GIS. As we continually discover new ways of using the tool, this is good news for both research and for practical use,” Lene says.

The course, held at the University of Copenhagen’s Skovskolen unit in Nødebo, had 41 students with a variety of backgrounds from 14 different, European countries.

“By making a melting pot of cultures and professions we hope to have created a knowledge-sharing network across national borders,” Lene Fischer says.

Read our article: So what is GIS?

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