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Geographical Information Systems Fundamentals

Course Code:                          GLM7101

Course Level:                          Year One Semester One

Credit Units:                           3

Prerequisites:                           None

Course Description

This course provides students with an introduction to the fundamentals of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), spatial data and geographical databases, incorporating a review of the underlying geographical and technological concepts.

Objectives/Aims of the Course

The aims of this course are to facilitate the student to:

  • Introduce the basic concepts of GIS, which the student will use throughout the programme duration
  • Introduce the concept of spatial analysis and how it can be used to improve research data analysis.
  • Acquire skills for creating efficient and effective geo-databases using data input from digital and manual sources
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the relative strengths  and weakness of the various data structures such as vector and raster encoding, object-oriented, topological and non-topological storage data formats

Method of Teaching/Delivery

The course will be conducted through a mixture of lectures, tutorials, short classroom exercises, case studies, group discussions among the students and projects aimed at solving real life spatial decision making problems. Lecture materials and data for exercises will be prepared and availed to the students in advance to enable them have prior reading. Professionals from leading GIS institutions will be invited to provide lectures on GIS applications and issues.

Assessment Method

Assessment will be done through continuous coursework and final examination. Continuous assessment will include assignments, class room and take home tests, project work and presentations. A final examination will be written and will be offered at the end of each semester. Course work will carry a total of 40% and written examination carries 60%. Coursework marks will be divided into; Assignments 5%, Tests 15% and Practical Work 20%.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Explain and articulate the basic concepts of GIS and spatial analysis
  • Explore data in a spatial database
  • Use basic GIS software, hardware and data

Course Content



1. Introduction to, and Applications of  Geographical Information Systems;


2. History and Current trends of GIS


3. The nature of Geographic Information and spatial data types (Vector and Object Data Models ,Raster Data Models;)


  1. 4.  GIS Architecture


5. Fundamentals of Cartography and  Map Projections


6. Introduction to Spatial database management systems


 7. Analytical GIS capabilities of GIS – Spatial Operations


8. Map compilation and spatial data visualization


9. Spatial Data Capture for GIS databases




 Teaching Staff

1. Dr. Moses Musinguzi

2. Dr. Gidudu Anthony

3..Assoc Prof Majaliwa Mwanjalolo

Course Reference List

  1. Paul Longley, 2005 Geographic information systems and science2nd ed, John Wiley and Sons, 2005, 047087001X, 9780470870013
  2. Maguire, D. J., M.F. Goodchild, and D.W. Rhind (1991) Geographical Information Systems: Principles and Applications. Longman Scientific and Technical: Harlow, Vol. 1 and 2
  3. Chor Pang Lo, Albert K. W. Yeung 2007 Concepts and techniques of geographic information systems, Prentice Hall series in geographic information science, Pearson Prentice Hall, 013149502X, 9780131495029
  4. Longley P.A. , M.F. Goodchild, D.J. Maguire, and D.W. Rhind (2005) Geographical Information Systems and Science, Wiley: New York ISBN-10:0-470-87000-1(H/B)
  5. Burrough, P.A. and McDonnell, R.A. (1997) Principles of Geographical Information Systems Clarendon Press, Oxford.
  6. Groot, R. and J. McLaughlin (Eds). (2003). Geospatial Data Infrastructure – Concepts, Cases, and Good Practice. NewYork, OxfordUniversity Press.


Attachment Name Attachment Type

GLM 7101 Geographical Information Systems Fundamentals