Landscape types in the county of Östergötland in 1979, from “Kulturgeografiskt seminarium 1/79. Fogelvik, Stefan: Kvantitativ landskapsanalys. Att beskriva landskap med siffror, en manual med tillämpningsexempel”.
Landscape types in the county of Östergötland in 1979, from “Kulturgeografiskt seminarium 1/79. Fogelvik, Stefan: Kvantitativ landskapsanalys. Att beskriva landskap med siffror, en manual med tillämpningsexempel”.

Geographic information systems (GIS) have in recent decades transformed the management of spatial information. There has been a transformation from printed paper maps to spatial databases for analysis and visualization. Spatial information is an important element in geographical studies. Maps have been used and created by geographers for a long time.

Today, there are large amounts of spatial data available. Smartphones, computers and tablets can now be used to look at maps, aerial photos and satellite images covering many parts of the globe. It is possible to navigate and search for information spatially. Location services using satellite navigation has enabled detailed navigation in urban environments. Companies, municipalities, states and other organizations collect more and more digital data spatially. This includes spatially represented details on population, employment, activities, land use, topography, spatial plans, etc. Along with self-created information it is possible to make powerful geographic analyzes of contemporary society. This is an important tool in research and application in many sectors where geographers work.

Examples of the use of geographic information are public online services to find the nearest cafe or calculate the fastest or closest transport route between two points, whether it is by foot, car or public transport. Companies can use GIS to estimate a potential market in a certain area. GIS is also used to analyze the current and future needs of public transport. The production of maps of certain phenomena such as bike trails, nature reserves and development plans is still important to visualize a relationship.
 

Map produced by students in a GIS course with raster based cost-analysis method to calculate areas reached by the fire brigade with different response times and how the area changes with a proposed new location of the fire station.
Map produced by students in a GIS course with raster based cost-analysis method to calculate areas reached by the fire brigade with different response times and how the area changes with a proposed new location of the fire station.

 

Education

At the Department of Human Geography you can take courses that deal with spatial information from the bachelor level (first cycle) to the master level (second cycle). In these courses, students apply their knowledge of GIS and spatial information in projects and using various software.

A basic course – Geographic Information and Cartography, 7.5 credits – is the entry course if you study separate courses. This module is included in Human Geography I, 30 credits, which can be studied separately or within the Bachelor's Programme in Human Geography with Intelligence Analysis for Policy and Business, 180 credits. Students at the Bachelor’s Programme in Urban and Regional Planning, 180 credits, follow a similar course that in addition includes statistics. (The basic courses are offered in Swedish only.) Since GIS has become an important tool in companies, government and other organizations it is important for planners and geographers to have a good basic knowledge of GIS and spatial information.

Both of these two basic modules give the required pre-knowledge to access the more specialized courses at the bachelor level. Geographical Information Analysis I, 7.5 credits, and Geographic Information Analysis II, 7.5 credits, may be studied together one after the other, constituting a block of 15 credits. Here you get a deeper knowledge in analysis and visualization.

At the master level there is an opportunity to specialize further within the course GIS in the Social Sciences, 15 credits.

Thus, you can study courses of 22.5 credits (7.5 +7.5 +7.5) at the bachelor level and 15 credits at master level. It is also possible to write an essay or a bachelor’s or master’s thesis about or using GIS, and accordingly getting an additional 52.5 credits (7.5 + 15 credits at bachelor level and 30 credits at master level).
 

Laboratory session in one of the GIS rooms for education in the Geo Science Buildning.
Laboratory session in one of the GIS rooms for education in the Geo Science Building.

 

Resources

The Department of Human Geography has access to the major commercial GIS programs like ArcGIS and MapInfo that are used in Sweden and globally. The Department is also an IDRISI resource center. Additionally we work with Open Source programs that have come to grow in importance in recent years. Stockholm University students has access to digital geographic information produced by Lantmäteriet (the Swedish mapping, cadastral and land registration authority), which enables detailed analysis in GIS.

The GeoProcessing Unit is the department center of GIS activities.
 

Spatial data can be processed and classified in form of vector data, such as lines points and polygons. In the map above, depicting the countryside outside the town Skara, we can find roads, settlement and land-use. Spatial data can also be more raw and unprocessed such as the raster ortho photo to the right. c Lantmäteriet, i2012/899.
Spatial data can be processed and classified in form of vector data, such as lines points and polygons. In the map above, depicting the countryside outside the town Skara, we can find roads, settlement and land-use. Spatial data can also be more raw and unprocessed such as the raster ortho photo to the right. c Lantmäteriet, i2012/899.

 

Gisela

Gisela is a site created by Department of Human Geography. It contains general information about geographic information systems (GIS) and cartography and software-specific tips for handling and analysis of spatial data. Gisela is a complement to the course literature and the supervision that occurs at the Department's GIS courses, and also as a guide for students who want to expand their knowledge in the subject.
 

Presentation of research using GIS in the Department of Human Geography.
Presentation of research using GIS in the Department of Human Geography.

 

Research

Many researchers in the Department use GIS in their studies. This applies to the study of landscape, planning, population and more. Some have, however, more specific projects that focus on developing GIS methods, for example satellite images. For further details please go to the research profile Population Geography, Migration and GIS. Researchers within this profile are responsible for the courses in cartography and GIS.