Tag Archives: GIS Courses For Biologists

First Call: An Introduction To Using GIS In Biological Research, Glasgow, 25-26 September 2017

10 Jul
GIS In Ecology will be holding an introductory training course for those who wish to learn how to use GIS in biological research, and it will provide an introduction to using GIS in a wide variety of biological research situations ranging from the basics of making maps through to studying the spread of diseases and creating maps of species biodiversity. It will consist of a series of background sessions on using GIS mixed in with practical sessions where you will work directly with GIS software to complete various tasks which biological researchers commonly need to be able to do.

The course will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, on the 25th and 26th of September 2017, and it will be taught by Dr Colin D. MacLeod, who has more than 15 years experience in using GIS for a wide variety of biological purposes. For those who cannot attend this course in person, a shorter online course based on the same materials is available at GISforBiologists.com.

The course will primarily be based around QGIS (also known as Quantum GIS), which provides a user-friendly, open-source, free alternative to commercial GIS software packages, and it is becoming increasingly widely used in both academic and commercial organisations  As a result, it is aimed at both those with no GIS experience, but wish to learn how to do GIS with QGIS, and also those who are familiar with using commercial GIS software, such as ArcGIS, but who wish to learn how to use QGIS as an alternative. However, this course is taught using  software-independent approach, and it is also open to those who wish to learn how to use ArcGIS to do biological GIS.

The practical exercises on this course will be based on those in the recently published GIS For Biologists: A Practical Introduction For Undergraduates  by Dr MacLeod, and a free copy of this book will be provided to all participants.

Attendance will be limited to a maximum of 15 people, and the course will cost £295 per person (£200 for students, the unwaged and those working for registered charities). To book a place, or for more information, email info@GISinEcology.com.

Glasgow has great transport links and is within half a days travel by car or by fast train links from most cities in the UK. For example, it can be reached in as little as 4h 30mins from London by train. It can also be reached by direct flights from many European cities and the flight time is generally under four hours.

The course will be held in central Glasgow at the IET Glasgow Teacher Building (14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB, UK).

Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation. However, Glasgow provides a wide range of accommodation options to fit most budgets.

New Online GIS Course For Biologists From GIS In Ecology

11 May

We’ve been running our in-person courses for just over five years now, and these have always proved very popular, but over this time we have been receiving an ever-increasing number of requests to make our courses available online for those who cannot afford to travel to Scotland to do them. This is an issue that we have always been very aware of, and it was something we were keen to try to do something about. Well, after a couple of years in development, we are finally in a position to do so, and I’m pleased to be able to say that we have just launched our very first online course.

This online course provides a basic, but practical, introduction to using GIS in biological research and is aimed at the complete beginner who needs a hand working out where to get started. It’s hosted on our new sister site GISforBiologists.com, and consists of just over three hours of on-demand videos which take you through all you need to know to make your first map, create your own feature data layers and work with raster data layers. We estimate that completing the course (which includes reading the background materials, watching the videos and completing the exercises) will take around nine hours, although the exact amount of time it takes will vary from person to person, and some will undoubtedly complete it much more quickly.

The practical exercises in the course are based around those found in our book GIS For Biologists: A Practical Introduction For Undergraduates and cover the same content as you would be taught on the first day of our ever-popular in-person course An Introduction To Using QGIS In Biological Research. A subscription to the videos costs US$30 and lasts for three months, giving you more than enough time to complete all three exercises. You do have to purchase a copy of the book separately (although you could probably get away with just working from the videos), but this still represents a substantial saving on learning the same GIS skills on our in-person course (which would costs up to £295 in course fees, as well as travel and accommodation costs).

The software which is used for the course is QGIS, and we selected it for this online course because it is freely available, meaning that there is no additional cost for software licences for those who wish to learn how to use GIS in biological research. It is also the software package that we recommend novice biological GIS users start with. However, the skills that you learn can be easily transferred to other GIS software packages, including ArcGIS, the leading commercial one.

This course represents the start of a new phase in the development of GIS In Ecology, and we aim to make more of our training materials available online through GISforBiologists.com over the next year or so. By doing this, we hope to further promote the use of GIS as an important tool for the modern-day biologist, no matter where in the world they are working, or what field they are working in.

Upcoming Courses From GIS In Ecology: ‘Home Range Analyses’, ‘Creating Custom GIS Tools’ and ‘Using QGIS In Biological Research’

5 Jan

GIS In Ecology will be running three GIS courses for biologists/ecologists over the next few months. These courses will be held in Glasgow in Scotland, and will be taught by Dr Colin D. MacLeod, a biological researcher with more than 15 years experience in using GIS. These courses are:

1. An Introduction To Investigating The Home Ranges Of Individual Animals (15 – 16 February 2016): This course will provide an introduction to investigating the home ranges of individual animals using a GIS-based approach. It will cover how to create a minimum convex polygon (MCP), how to create a kernel density estimate (KDE) in environments with and without barriers to movements, how to create 50 and 95% percentage volume contours (PVCs) and how to select an appropriate bandwidth/h value. This course is aimed at anyone who wishes to use GIS to study the home ranges of animals in either the terrestrial or aquatic environments, even if they have little or no existing knowledge of GIS. It will primarily use ArcGIS software, but it will also cover the use of ArcMET and Geospatial Modelling Environment (GME) for home range analyses. Duration: 2 days. Cost: £295 (£200 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). Places will be limited to a maximum of 15 people and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. For more information on this course, visit www.gisinecology.com/Training_Course_Home_Range_February_2016.htm or email info@GISinEcology.com. Places can also be booked through this email address.

2. An Introduction To Creating Custom GIS Tools For Biological Research (17 – 18 February 2016): This course will provide an introduction to the creation of custom GIS tools for use in all areas of biological research. Creating custom GIS tools for biological research allows you not only to automate frequently repeated tasks (saving time and reducing the risk of accidental processing errors), but it also allows non-GIS specialists to process and analyse data using standard protocols in a GIS-based environment by running a single easy-to-use tool. This means that creating custom GIS tool provides an effective way of expanding the pool of individuals within a research group or organisation who can carry out specific and complex GIS tasks. The course will consist of background session which will explain the principles of creating your own custom GIS tools, as well as practical exercises in which a number of example tools will be built and tested. There will also be the option of building your own custom tool to automate a task of your choice. This course assumes that you have at least a basic knowledge of GIS and is not aimed at complete beginners. It will use the ModelBuilder module of ESRI’s ArcGIS software to show how biologists can create custom GIS tools for use in their research. Duration: 2 days. Cost: £295 (£200 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). Places will be limited to a maximum of 15 people and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. For more information on this course, visit www.gisinecology.com/Training_Course_Custom_GIS_Tools_February_2016.htm or email info@GISinEcology.com. Places can also be booked through this email address.

3. An Introduction To Using QGIS In Biological Research (21 – 22 March 2016): QGIS (also known as Quantum GIS) is the leading, open source, and so freely available, GIS software (see http://www.qgis.org/en/site/about/index.html for more information), which can be run on Windows, Mac OS and Linux operating systems. This course will provide an introduction to the use of QGIS in biological research. It is aimed at those just starting to use GIS in their research and who have little or no existing knowledge of this subject area, those who are looking for a free, open source GIS solution for their biological research, and at existing users of commercial GIS software, such as ArcGIS, who wish to learn how to do GIS using QGIS software. Duration: 2 days. Cost: £295 (£200 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). Places will be limited to a maximum of 15 people and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. For more information on this course, visit www.gisinecology.com/Training_Course_QGIS_For_Biologists_March_2016.htm or email info@GISinEcology.com. Places can also be booked through this email address.

Finally, there are also a very limited number of spaces still available on our January 2016 courses titled ‘An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology’ (18 – 20 January 2016) and ‘An introduction To Using Species Distribution Modelling In the Marine Environment’ (21 – 22 January 2016). For more information on these courses, visit www.gisinecology.com/Training_Course_Glasgow_January_2016.htm, or email info@GISinEcology.com. Places can also be booked through this email address.