GIS APPLICATIONS IN BIODIVERSITY MONITORING
- Assessment methods
- Learning objectives
- Full programme
- Delivery method
- Teaching methods
There are no required propaedeutic courses. General requirements include a basic knowledge on Personal Computer use, basic mathematics and analytical geometry, base concepts in Geology, Botany, Zoology and Ecology. Knowledge of English language is recommended, since the most of the technical documentation is in English.
The final test is an oral examination. The student will answer and elaborate on some questions (one of which on a subject of choice) based on the course syllabus, both on general topics and on specific methodologies.
The final examination is aimed at assessing the achievement of the learning objectives defined above, first evaluating the comprehension of basic general concepts, then delving further into the ability to use them to solve real-world issues.
The final score (expressed in marks out of 30) will be based on comprehension (30%), capacity to apply theoretical concepts to real cases (30%), autonomy of judgement (20%) and communication skills (20%).
The course is aimed at giving basic theoretical and practical knowledge for an efficient use of modern digital cartography as an instrument to support planning and conservation of natural resources.
Topics covered will include the basic theoretical framework on which both "conventional" and modern cartography are based, introducing the student to the use of Geographical Information Systems applied to real-world problems. Creation and use of vector data and basic raster operations will be dealt with further detail with particular reference to wildlife management and conservation biology.
At the end of the course it is expected that students will acquire the following skills:
- knowledge of the fundamentals of contemporary map-making processes;
- familiarity with the technologies and methodologies presently available to produce and share geographical information;
- capability to use Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments;
- capability to organize and transpose field data into a map (e.g. cartographic restitution);
- ability in using GIS software autonomously and efficiently.
The course will deal with the following topics, covering 48 hours of lectures:
- introduction to Cartography and Digital Cartography (2 h).
- Geographical Information Systems, concepts and history. Analogic and digital mapmaking, origins of digital cartography and fields of application (1 h).
- The cartographic process, from data to maps (1 h).
- Cartography as a communication instrument, differences between traditional and digital cartography, mapmaking paradigms used in communication and copnceptual map models (1 h).
- Thematic cartography and general cartography (1 h).
- Cartographic techniques and instruments: spatial abstraction, simplification, generalization, scale, coregistering, use of legends, sectioning (2 h).
- Spatial representation techniques: perception of spatial information, spatial objects and cartographic objects, spatial information representation, filtering (2 h).
- Cartographic paradigms: thematic maps, concepts of theme, coverage and layering, graphic and cartographic primitives, data dimensionality (4 h).
- Standard data models: data types, entity-attribute model, geo-relational model (4 h).
- Raster and vector data, georeferencing (2 h).
- Cartographic projections and coordinate reference systems (4 h).
- Coordinate Reference Systems commonly used in Italy and Europe: UTM, ETRS/LAEA, other historical National Reference System (Gauss-Boaga), Regional Technical Maps (1 h).
- Traditional data sources and neogeography (2 h).
- The Global Positioning System (2 h).
- Introduction to Relational Databases (2 h).
- Using GIS Software: introduction to GIS Software. Most used data formats, Command Line Interface and Graphical User Interface. Introduction to Quantum GIS (10 h).
- Spatial data analysis: digitizing, map algebra, topological overlay, cost-distance modeling, species distribution modeling (4 h).
- Cartographic restitution and rendering: graphics and cartographic thematization (3 h).
The detailed program and the materials uded in the lectures are available on the e-learning platform.
The student is mandated to use one of the following textbooks:
DeMers M.N. (2008). Fundamentals of Geographical Information Systems, 4th edition (anche 2nd o 3rd edition, 1997, 2000) John Wiley & Sons.
Bolstad P. (2016). GIS Fundamentals: A First Text on Geographic Information Systems. 5th edition. ISBN: 978-1-50669-587-7, XanEdu.
Slides, data sets and any additional self-study material are available on the e-learning platform.
The course consists of 48 hours of lectures (6 ECTS credits) also using videoconferencing, of which 32 of active "hands-on" lectures in computer laboratory, all taught by the teache in charge, to sustain theoretical elements with real-world case studies and applications. Course attendance is recommended, but not mandatory: at that purpose, all the materials (slides, data sets, etc.) used are made available on the e-learning platform.
The teacher will be available at students' request at the beginning of each lesson to explain concepts and topics exposed in the previous lessons. Students are encouraged to interact with the teacher asking for clarifications when felt necessary at any time.
The teacher in charge is always available, subject to the arrangement of an appoiintment by e-mail.
At students request, the teacher will use the first part of a lecture to clarify or elaborate on previous lectures topics. It is also possible to ask for elucidations diring the lectures.
The use of the e-learning patform (forums, glossaries) is highly recommended to share among students any requested issue.