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Back to Geographical Information Systems - Part 1

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Geographical Information Systems - Part 1 by École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

80 ratings

About the Course

This course is organized into two parts presenting the theoretical and practical foundations of geographic information systems (GIS). - Together theses courses constitute an introduction to GIS and require no prior knowledge. - By following this introduction to GIS you will quickly acquire the basic knowledge required to create spatial databases and produce high-quality maps and cartographic representations. - This is a practical course and is based on free, open-source software, including QGIS. If you study or work in the fields of land management or the analysis of geographically distributed objects such as land use planning, biology, public health, ecology, or energy, then this course is for you! In this first part of the course, we will focus on the digitization and the storage of geodata. In particular, you will learn: - To characterize spatial objects and/or phenomena (territory modeling) with respect to their position in space (through coordinate systems, projections, and spatial relationships) and according to their intrinsic nature (object/vector mode vs. Image/raster mode); - About the different means used to acquire spatial data; including direct measurement, georeferencing images, digitization, existing data source, etc.); - About the different ways in which geodata can be stored - notably, files and relational databases; - How to use data modeling tools to describe and create a spatial database; - To query and analyze data using SQL, a common data manipulation language. The second part of this course will focus on methods of spatial analysis and geodata representation. In this section, you will learn: - How to describe and quantify the spatial properties of discrete variables, for example through spatial autocorrelation; - To work with continuous variables. In particular, we will look at sampling strategies, how to construct contour lines and isovalue curves, and we will explore different interpolation methods; - To use digital elevation models and create their derivative products (i.e. slope, orientation); - How to evaluate the interaction between different types of geodata through overlay and interaction techniques; - How to create effective maps based around the rules of graphic semiology; - Finally, we will also explore other, increasingly common, forms of spatial representation such as interactive web-mapping and 3D representations. You can find an interactive forum for course participants on our Facebook page:

Top reviews


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this course helps me a lot in putting things I knew in the unprofessional or crude way into a more organized professional manner. if you are looking to learn the basis of GIS this is what you need


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it will help me for my career development thanks coursera

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1 - 25 of 26 Reviews for Geographical Information Systems - Part 1

By Ayush K S

Apr 14, 2020

Take this course only if you want to learn QGIS and only QGIS badly. Though the lectures are informative, the quizzes will surely drive you mad. The questions are made as vague as possible and the checking system checks only the text. No matter you query is working or not. If there is even a single space missing as in the actual fed answer, the system will mark it wrong. The discussion forum is small and sometimes useful. Not many people are available there.

By Sudan B

Apr 24, 2020

This course is really good for learning QGIS and SQL queries for GIS. Being a civil engineer, I hope I can use it frequently in my job. The course content is good but the quizzes and assignments are really really time-consuming due to their format of evaluation. Since the course is translated to English, there are unusual pauses in sentences and the constant flow of speaking makes monotonous and hard to grasp the sense of the sentences. So. you must be attentive all the time. This course is good if you want to know something about GIS but not for certification. My suggestion is: just skip the quizzes and try to grab the knowledge.

By Sarah W

Feb 2, 2021

Not a beginner-level course - or at least not for someone who has no previous knowledge of using GIS. There is no attempt made to define key terms or ideas, and the first assignment has very few directions for someone who has never used a GIS system. Definitely no step-by-step and I am having to rely on Google to figure out what the instructions mean, rather than being taught by the course itself.

By Đuro P

Oct 17, 2019

Second exercise files (from Week 1!) are corrupt. After installing second version, files remained corrupt. And for the first exercise, no explanations are included for any of the questions or problems occurring.

By José L Y

Apr 29, 2020

I didnt like the course. Boring content and software explanations are in french. Maybe the french version of the course if worth but not this one. Very disappointed.

By Sadiq A

Aug 5, 2020

this course helps me a lot in putting things I knew in the unprofessional or crude way into a more organized professional manner. if you are looking to learn the basis of GIS this is what you need


Jun 27, 2020

it will help me for my career development thanks coursera

By Alan H

May 10, 2022

I like the struture of the course and the fact that the course uses an open-source software: QGIS. Unfortunately, the English translation is not particularly good, which impedes understanding. The worst aspect is that the course uses an older version of the software than the current version. Differences between the older and current version mean that the prompts provided by the course exercises do not seem to be appropriate for the current QGIS version. As I could not get the exercise to work, I wrote on the course discussion forum to get some advice, unfortunately I am yet to hear a response and looking at older posts, this question has been asked previously to no response, so there doesnʻt seem to be much active support for the course. I am stopping the course after the exercise as there does not seem to be much point continuing.


Aug 1, 2021

This course is not at all for beginners especially when you are a job person in parallel. There is less learning mindset but putting students into struggle is more obvious. No proper answer matching mechanism and in case of a wrong answer there is no hint for correction or missing point.

By Md G A

Aug 26, 2021

Problem with quizes!!

By Isabel A

Dec 12, 2022

If you are not a native French speaker, the translations to English can be a little jarring and confusing at times. I speak French fluently and still found parts of this course difficult to understand as English is my first language.

I would recommend the French version of this course if you speak French, but would recommend you find a different course in English if you don't.

The information in the course was extensive, however the videos could get quite long. I would appreciate shorter videos with more quizzes in-between. The quizzes that are currently on the course could be better formatted so that more answers are multiple-choice instead of filling in a box where the formatting of your answer could be the reason you don't get a point. For example, you write "shape and direction" instead of "direction and shape".

unfortunately, I ended up leaving the course halfway because I found a better course in English. I have to pay for this new course (from UC Davis) but it has so far exceeded my expectations and suits my learning style better.

By Walter J A

Jun 15, 2020

I really liked the course, topics, and practices, based on the fact that I didn't know anything about databases or GIS. As a negative, I can point out that I did not get any response from the instructors on the various problems related to syntax and understanding of the statements in the questions to be solved.

By Christi G

Apr 24, 2020

The content and delivery is really good. I learned a lot and the content is very relevant to the subject. I do feel that the translation of the lectures can be improved as well as the marking system, feedback and variation of versions of answers for the quizzes and assignments.

By Girish J

Jun 21, 2020

Amazing course. Waiting for Part 2 in English

By Carlos A S L

Sep 3, 2020

This course really helps me to understand how QGIS works and gave me all the tools would need to start my development in GIS. I found a hard time with the quizzes at the end of the lessons due to translation problems and quizzes sections due to very specific answers. Something very important was the pace of the computerizing voice was annoying some times. Overall a good learning experience.

By Jolaine A

Apr 10, 2023

The description falsely states " introduction to GIS and require no prior knowledge". You absolutely need prior knowledge in QGIS or other GIS programs to be able to complete the practice quiz. Working knowledge like importing data, importing maps, how to make layers, and basic interface navigation are not presented in the course. Also, data used in the videos aren't linked or accessible making it impossible to try and follow along.

By Gerardo J

Feb 26, 2021

This course is really good. I already have technical skills in GIS, but I learned a lot. Spatial and SQL databases through Spatialite can be a challenge for someone unfamiliar (like me) with these types of databases. It forces you to think hard. It is gratifying to be able to progress little by little and achieve things that at first seem very difficult. Thanks a lot!

By David M

May 13, 2020

Excellent course for me as haven't worked with GIS for nearly 20 years. It is not a "How To" course - if you want to learn how to use QGIS go to Youtube, but if you want to understand the basics of geographical data, how it is used, created, transformed and analysed then this is exactly the course for you.


Feb 28, 2021

Es un curso excelente que te introduce no solo a lo que son los sistemas de información geográfica de manera Grafica, también nos enseña los conceptos y secuencias en lenguaje SQL,

By Kemal S

Aug 15, 2022

Thanks for everything.

By Barbara T

Oct 17, 2021

I have learned a lot about how to use QGIS, not just to load, create, and edit maps, but also to query spatial and topological data, and to become a little more knowledgeable about some areas of computer technology as needed for working with QGIS and PostGres. It took me twice as long as the recommended 6 weeks, but it was worth all the effort and the research that was necessary for me to keep up with and follow the material in this course.

By William G D

Jun 15, 2020

The content of the course is really good, I appreciate the effort of the teachers, however, the platform that marks the tests needs to be improved. Generally speaking, I have learned a lot with this course, albeit without a basic understanding of GIS.


Jan 26, 2024

This course is excellent regarding content and structure. However, it needs a bit more explanation of the QGIS software itself to facilitate the first part of the exercises and laboratories.

By Anjali V R

Apr 23, 2022

Very informative course on open source software like GIS and SQL. It was difficult to understand at first due to the language and translation in the slides but got a hang of it slowly.

By Pablo A Y C

May 2, 2024

It’s too complex for me.