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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Technological Infrastructures for GIS (PGGE11234)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course introduces students to the concepts underlying distributed spatial information
systems, including the building of systems and object-oriented computer programming. Such
systems have overtaken traditional monolithic GIS software packages such as ArcGIS, to
provide mapping and simple spatial analysis for the majority of users. Programming is
introduced using the Python language, with illustrations of its use within GIS, together with
examples of the construction of stand-alone systems, web applications and mobile apps in the
android environment. The course introduces a basic set of programming fundamentals such
as input/output techniques, selection statements, iterative loops, basic data structures,
emphasises error elimination and testing strategies in code development. The course also
reflects on the technology and benefits of distributed GIS services (web, mobile and multi-computing
architectures and contrasts these with previous monolithic systems. It will
illustrate the importance of distributed GIS in corporate and enterprise environments. The
underlying technology of computer networks are explained. Emphasis is placed on web-based
systems, although consideration is also given to location-based services accessible via mobile
devices and smartphones. Web mapping systems are explained in detail, including Google
Maps, Leaflet/Folium, OpenLayers, Mapserver and developments in data to feed these systems
are reviewed. The importance of standards is highlighted, and OpenGIS and other key
standards are explained (including WMS, WFS, WMTS). The use of these standards to produce
a range of applications from AJAX-based mashups to integrated web services - is discussed.
Issues such as service provision, security and privacy will be discussed. Practical work is
central to learning on the course both in supervised sessions and during the participants own
time. Practical work will examine different solutions to building systems to serve geographical
data and give the students the skills necessary to create such systems.
Course description Lectures and Practicals

1.Technological Infrastructures for GIS BMG
2. Introduction to Programming CH
Practical: Basic Python programming CH
3. Object Oriented Fundamentals and Program Testing CH
Practical: Object-Oriented programming in Python CH
4. The Place of Standards, OpenGIS and Spatial Data Infrastructures BMG
Practical: Authoring web pages BMG / ONM
5. Organising Python Projects: Testing and Documentation CH
Practical: Testing and Documentation CH
6. Reading and Self-Learning
7. Building Distributed GI Services BMG
Practical: Linking Spatial Data to the Web BMG / ONM
8. The Battleground of GI: Local Search and Web Mapping BMG
Practical: HTML forms and Web Mapping APIs BMG / ONM
9. Web Frameworks, GIS Integration and DBMS interfacing from Python CH
Practical: Web Mapping using JavaScript and Python CH / ONM
10. Location-Based Services and Data Issues BMG
Practical: Advanced Web Services CH / BMG /
11. Mobile GIS and App Development
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 5, Summative Assessment Hours 100, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 51 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework

Diagram (15%) - due Tuesday, week 2

Programming Assessment (35%) - due Tuesday, week 8

Web Mapping component of Capital Greenspaces Project (50%) - due Friday, week 11 (see Research Practice and Project Planning course information)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the value of distributed geographical information and services
  2. Understand the value of networked information and the organisation-wide deployment of a system
  3. Understand the technological underpinnings of distributed GIS and the restrictions inherent in both hardware and protocols, mitigating strategies and opportunities
  4. Understand the fundamental principles underlying Object-Oriented software design
  5. Employ formal methods to produce effective software designs as solutions to specific tasks.
Reading List
Anderson, G. and Moreno-Sanchez, R. (2003). Building Web-Based Spatial Information Solutions around Open Specifications and Open Source Software. Transactions in GIS, 7: 447-466.
B'Far, R. (2005) Mobile Computing Principles: Designing and Developing Mobile Applications with UML and XML. Cambridge University Press.
Billen, R., Joao, E., and Forrest, D. (2006) Dynamic and Mobile GIS: Investigating Changes in Space and Time. Innovations in GIS. CRC Press.
de la Beaujardiere, J. (2004) OGC Web Map Service Interface Version 1.3.0, Open GIS Consortium, Inc.,
Briggs, J. (2007) Snake Wrangling for Kids, O'Reilly.
Dodge, M. and Kitchin, R. (2001) Mapping Cyberspace. Routledge, London
Dunfey, R.I., Gittings, B.M. and Batcheller, J.K. (2006) Towards an Open Architecture for Vector GIS, Computers & Geosciences 32(10) p.1720-1732
Eisenberg, J. (2002) SVG Essentials, O'Reilly.
Erle, S., Gibson. R., and Walsh, J. (2005) Mapping Hacks: Tips & Tools for Electronic Cartography, O'Reilly.
Fu, P and Jiulin Sun (2010) Web GIS: Principles and Applications. ESRI Press. Redlands, Calif. USA.
Gittings, B. M. (ed.) (1999) Integrating Information Infrastuctures with GI Technology, Taylor and Francis, London.
*Groot, R. and McLaughlin, J. (2000) Geospatial Data Infrastructure, Oxford University Press.
Gittings, B. M. (ed.) (1999) Integrating Information Infrastuctures with GI Technology, Taylor and Francis, London.
Hazzard, E. (2011) Open Layers Beginners Guide, Packt Publishing
Holovaty, A., Kaplan-Moss J., (2009) The Django Book, Apress.
*Kraak, M.-J. and Brown, A. (2001) Web Cartography, Taylor and Francis, London
Kropla, B. (2005) Beginning MapServer: Open Source GIS Development, Apress
LaMance, J., Jarvinen, J. and DeSalas, J. (2002) Assisted GPS: A Low-Infrastructure Approach. GPS World, March 2002.
Lemmens, M. (2011) Geo-information: Technologies, Applications and the Environment. Springer Science & Business Media.
Lutz, M. (2013) Learning Python. O'Reilly.
*Martelli, A. (2009) Python in a Nutshell. O'Reilly.
Masó, J., Pomakis, K. and Julià, N. (2010) OpenGIS Web Map Tile Service Implementation Standard. Version: 1.0.0, Open GIS Consortium, Inc.,
*Mitchell, T. (2005) Web Mapping Illustrated, O'Reilly
Newton, A., Gittings, B. and Stuart, N. (1997) Designing a scientific database query server using the World Wide Web: The example of Tephrabase. In Kemp, Z. (Ed.) Innovations in GIS 4. Taylor & Francis, London.
Newton, P. W., Zwart, P. R. and Cavill, M. E. (eds.) (1995) Networking Spatial Information Systems. Wiley, Chichester.
*Peng, Z-R and M-H Tsou (2003) Internet GIS: Distributed Geographic Information Services for the Internet and Wireless Network, Wiley, London.
Peterson, M.P. (Ed.) (2003): Maps and the Internet, Elsevier
Plewe, B. (1997) So you want to build an online GIS? GIS World, 10 (11), 58-60.
Plewe, B. (1997) GIS Online: information retrieval, mapping and the Internet, OnWord Press, Santa Fe.
Portele, C. (2007) OpenGIS Geography Markup Language (GML) Encoding Standard. Version: 3.2.1. Open GIS Consortium, Inc.,
Putz, S. (1994) Interactive Information Services Using World-Wide Web Hypertext. Computer Networks and ISDN Systems 27(2), pp. 273-280.
Tang, W. and J. Selwood (2003) Connecting Our World: GIS Web Services, ESRI Press, Redlands.
Tosta, N. (1999) NSDI was supposed to be a verb. In B.M. Gittings: Integrating Information Infrastructures with GI Technology, pp. 13-24.
Vretanos, P.A. (2005) Web Feature Service Implementation Specification. Version: 1.1.0, Open GIS Consortium, Inc.,
Williams, Mike (2010) Google Maps API Tutorial
Wilson, T. (2008) OGC KML. Version: 2.2.0, Open GIS Consortium, Inc.,
Worboys, M. F. and Duckham, M. (2004) GIS: A Computing Perspective. CRC Press, Second Edition.
Yang, C., Wong, D., Miao, Q and Yang, R. (eds.) (2011) Advanced Geoinformation Science. CRC Press, Boca Raton.
Yeager, N. J. and McGrath, R. E. (1996) Web Server Technology, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc., San Francisco.
Youngblood, B. and Iacovella, S. (2013) GeoServer Beginners Guide, Packt Publishing
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will provide the students with a range of highly marketable skills and introduce them to technologies sought after by employers. These technical skills relate closely to the employment opportunities identified by our Industrial External Examiner, professional bodies and graduate feedback. The students also gain skills in logical thinking, project work, organisation and report-writing.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Bruce Gittings
Tel: (0131 6)50 2558
Course secretaryMrs Katherine Ingram
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