Tag Archives: GIS For Biologists

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.

Final Call For GIS Courses For Marine Biologists In January 2017

21 Dec

This is the final call for the GIS courses we will be running in January 2017. These courses are ‘An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology’ and ‘An Introduction To Species Distribution Modelling In The Marine Environment’, and will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, between the 16th and 20th of January 2017. They 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 and is the author of the ‘An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology’ series of books.

1. An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology, 16th – 18th January 2017, Glasgow, Scotland: This three day course covers the basics of how to use GIS in marine biological research and is aimed at those who have little or no experience in using GIS, but who wish to learn. It consists of a series of background and practical sessions (using the freely available open source GIS software package QGIS or the commercially available ArcGIS software package) which will provide all the information needed to start successfully using GIS in marine biology, and it is taught in the type of language marine biologists will be familiar with. Cost: £395 (£300 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). For more information and to complete the online booking form, visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/Training_Course_Glasgow_January_2017.htm. Alternatively, you can email info@GISinEcology.com.

2. An Introduction To Species Distribution Modelling In The Marine Environment, 19th – 20th January 2017, Glasgow, Scotland: This two day course follows on from the introductory GIS course and provides all the information required to start using Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) in the marine environment in a practical and biologically meaningful way. In a series of background sessions, case studies and practical exercises, it covers how to create data layers of species distribution, how to select and create raster data layers of environmental variables, such as water depth, how to join information on species distribution to environmental information, how to export data from a GIS project for analysis in a statistical package, such as R, how to create spatial visualisations based on a statistical model and how to validate the spatial predictions of a model. The practical sessions work through a species distribution modelling project based on real marine survey data from start to finish. Cost: £295 (£200 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). This course can be done with either the freely available open source GIS software package QGIS or the commercially available ArcGIS software package. For more information and to complete the online booking form, visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/Training_Course_SDM_January_2017.htm. Alternatively, you can email info@GISinEcology.com. Note: This course requires a basic knowledge of GIS (as covered in the above introductory GIS course) and how to use ArcGIS or QGIS GIS software.

Attendance on each course will be limited to a maximum of 16 people. To attend either course, you must bring your own laptop computer and with the appropriate GIS software pre-installed on it. At the end of the course, all attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and completion.

The courses will be held in central Glasgow at the IET Glasgow Teacher Building (14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB, UK). 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.Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation. However, Glasgow provides a wide range of accommodation options to fit most budgets.

For more information on other upcoming courses from GIS In Ecology, visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/training_courses.htm.

Upcoming GIS Courses For Marine Biologists In January 2017

7 Nov

GIS In Ecology will once again be running its ‘An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology’ and ‘An Introduction To Species Distribution Modelling In The Marine Environment’ courses in January 2017. These courses will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, between the 16th and 20th of January 2017, and 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 and is the author of the ‘An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology’ series of books.

1. An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology, 16th – 18th January 2017, Glasgow, Scotland: This three day course covers the basics of how to use GIS in marine biological research and is aimed at those who have little or no experience in using GIS, but who wish to learn. It consists of a series of background and practical sessions (using the freely available open source GIS software package QGIS or the commercially available ArcGIS software package) which will provide all the information needed to start successfully using GIS in marine biology, and it is taught in the type of language marine biologists will be familiar with. Cost: £395 (£300 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). For more information and to complete the online booking form, visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/Training_Course_Glasgow_January_2017.htm. Alternatively, you can email info@GISinEcology.com.

2. An Introduction To Species Distribution Modelling In The Marine Environment, 19th – 20th January 2017, Glasgow, Scotland: This two day course follows on from the introductory GIS course and provides all the information required to start using Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) in the marine environment in a practical and biologically meaningful way. In a series of background sessions, case studies and practical exercises, it covers how to create data layers of species distribution, how to select and create raster data layers of environmental variables, such as water depth, how to join information on species distribution to environmental information, how to export data from a GIS project for analysis in a statistical package, such as R, how to create spatial visualisations based on a statistical model and how to validate the spatial predictions of a model. The practical sessions work through a species distribution modelling project based on real marine survey data from start to finish. Cost: £295 (£200 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). This course can be done with either the freely available open source GIS software package QGIS or the commercially available ArcGIS software package. For more information and to complete the online booking form, visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/Training_Course_SDM_January_2017.htm. Alternatively, you can email info@GISinEcology.com. Note: This course requires a basic knowledge of GIS (as covered in the above introductory GIS course) and how to use ArcGIS or QGIS GIS software.

Attendance on each course will be limited to a maximum of 16 people. To attend either course, you must bring your own laptop computer and with the appropriate GIS software pre-installed on it. At the end of the course, all attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and completion.

The courses will be held in central Glasgow at the IET Glasgow Teacher Building (14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB, UK). 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.Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation. However, Glasgow provides a wide range of accommodation options to fit most budgets.

For more information on other upcoming courses from GIS In Ecology, visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/training_courses.htm.

Final Call: GIS Courses For Marine Biologists In August 2016

28 Jul

This is the final call for attendees for two courses that GIS In Ecology will be running in August 2016. These are ‘An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology’ and ‘An Introduction To Species Distribution Modelling In The Marine Environment’. They will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, between the 8th and 12th of August 2016, and 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 and is the author of the ‘An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology’ series of books.

1. An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology, 8th – 10th August 2016, Glasgow, Scotland: This three day course covers the basics of how to use GIS in marine biological research and is aimed at those who have little or no experience in using GIS, but who wish to learn. It consists of a series of background and practical sessions (using ArcGIS 10.x GIS software) which will provide all the information needed to start successfully using GIS in marine biology, and it is taught in the type of language marine biologists will be familiar with. Cost: £395 (£300 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). For more information and to complete the online booking form, visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/Training_Course_Glasgow_August_2016.htm. Alternatively, you can email info@GISinEcology.com.

2. An Introduction To Species Distribution Modelling In The Marine Environment, 11th – 12th August 2016, Glasgow, Scotland: This two day course follows on from the introductory GIS course and provides all the information required to start using Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) in the marine environment in a practical and biologically meaningful way. In a series of background sessions, case studies and practical exercises, it covers how to create data layers of species distribution, how to select and create raster data layers of environmental variables, such as water depth, how to join information on species distribution to environmental information, how to export data from a GIS project for analysis in a statistical package, such as R, how to create spatial visualisations based on a statistical model and how to validate the spatial predictions of a model. The practical sessions work through a species distribution modelling project based on real marine survey data from start to finish. Cost: £295 (£200 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). This course can be done with either ArcGIS or the freely available open source GIS software package QGIS. For more information and to complete the online booking form, visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/Training_Course_SDM_August_2016.htm. Alternatively, you can email info@GISinEcology.com. Note: This course requires a basic knowledge of GIS (as covered in the above introductory GIS course) and how to use ArcGIS or QGIS GIS software.

Attendance on each course will be limited to a maximum of 16 people. To attend either course, you must bring your own laptop computer and with the appropriate GIS software pre-installed on it. At the end of the course, all attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and completion.

The courses will be held in central Glasgow at the IET Glasgow Teacher Building (14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB, UK). 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.Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation. However, Glasgow provides a wide range of accommodation options to fit most budgets.

For more information on other upcoming courses from GIS In Ecology (including home range investigation, creating custom GIS tools and using QGIS), visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/training_courses.htm.

Upcoming GIS Courses For Marine Biologists In August 2016

30 May

GIS In Ecology will once again be running its ‘An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology’ and ‘An Introduction To Species Distribution Modelling In The Marine Environment’ courses in August 2016. These courses will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, between the 8th and 12th of August 2016, and 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 and is the author of the ‘An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology’ series of books.

1. An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology, 8th – 10th August 2016, Glasgow, Scotland: This three day course covers the basics of how to use GIS in marine biological research and is aimed at those who have little or no experience in using GIS, but who wish to learn. It consists of a series of background and practical sessions (using ArcGIS 10.x GIS software) which will provide all the information needed to start successfully using GIS in marine biology, and it is taught in the type of language marine biologists will be familiar with. Cost: £395 (£300 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). For more information and to complete the online booking form, visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/Training_Course_Glasgow_August_2016.htm. Alternatively, you can email info@GISinEcology.com.

2. An Introduction To Species Distribution Modelling In The Marine Environment, 11th – 12th August 2016, Glasgow, Scotland: This two day course follows on from the introductory GIS course and provides all the information required to start using Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) in the marine environment in a practical and biologically meaningful way. In a series of background sessions, case studies and practical exercises, it covers how to create data layers of species distribution, how to select and create raster data layers of environmental variables, such as water depth, how to join information on species distribution to environmental information, how to export data from a GIS project for analysis in a statistical package, such as R, how to create spatial visualisations based on a statistical model and how to validate the spatial predictions of a model. The practical sessions work through a species distribution modelling project based on real marine survey data from start to finish. Cost: £295 (£200 for students, unwaged and those working for NGOs). This course can be done with either ArcGIS or the freely available open source GIS software package QGIS. For more information and to complete the online booking form, visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/Training_Course_SDM_August_2016.htm. Alternatively, you can email info@GISinEcology.com. Note: This course requires a basic knowledge of GIS (as covered in the above introductory GIS course) and how to use ArcGIS or QGIS GIS software.

Attendance on each course will be limited to a maximum of 16 people. To attend either course, you must bring your own laptop computer and with the appropriate GIS software pre-installed on it. At the end of the course, all attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and completion.

The courses will be held in central Glasgow at the IET Glasgow Teacher Building (14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB, UK). 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.Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation. However, Glasgow provides a wide range of accommodation options to fit most budgets.

For more information on other upcoming courses from GIS In Ecology (including home range investigation, creating custom GIS tools and using QGIS), visit: http://www.GISinEcology.com/training_courses.htm.

New Book – ‘GIS For Biologists: A Practical Introduction For Undergraduates’

24 Jan

GIS For Biologists - CoverGIS For Biologists: A Practical Introduction For Undergraduates is a new book by GIS In Ecology‘s founder Colin D. MacLeod.

It provides background information on using GIS in biological research as well as six practical exercises specifically created to help biologists learn how to use GIS in daily lives.

The instructions for these practical exercises are provided for both ESRI’s ArcGIS For Desktop 10.3 (the most widely used commercial GIS software package) and QGIS 2.8.3 – the leading open source, and so freely available, GIS software.

As well as providing the perfect practical exercises for any biologist interested in learning how to use GIS, this book is also well-suited for those who wish to teach GIS, but who do not have the time to develop their own course content.

This book is supported by a dedicated GIS For Biologists webpage which provides helpful information on where to get your preferred GIS software, how to download and install it, and how to download the data used in the practical exercises in the book, as well as links to free short videos which have been created to accompany the book’s contents.

GIS For Biologists is available to purchase as a paperback or as a kindle ebook (although due to its fixed page format, it is only available on devices and Kindle apps with ‘pinch and zoom’ capabilities). Free previews of the contents can be downloaded from the book’s homepage.

From The Back Of The book:

This book provides a user-friendly and practical introduction for undergraduates to the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in biological research. Unlike most other books about using GIS, this information is specifically presented in a biological context and it is divided into two sections.

The first section provides just enough background information to allow the novice biological GIS user to get started with GIS without getting too bogged down in the theory behind it or making some of the most common mistakes made by beginners. It covers areas such as what GIS is, why GIS is useful in biology, the basics of GIS, common concepts and terms in GIS, how data are contained in a GIS, useful information about what to think about before starting a GIS project and how to break down and translate biological tasks into the language of GIS. This information is all provided in easy-to-read and non-technical language, with specific reference to its application in biological research.

The second section, which constitutes the main body of the book, consists of six practical exercises accompanied by detailed instruction sets. The first four exercises introduce the novice biological GIS user to basic, but important, GIS skills, such as making a map, creating new feature data layers, creating raster data layers and joining together data from different data layers. The final two consist of case studies of how GIS can be used to answer real biological research questions. Each of these exercises represents a stand-alone GIS lesson which can be completed either on its own or as part of a practical session for an undergraduate class. In addition, each exercise focuses on a different area of biology, such as tropical ornithology, epidemiology, marine biology and rainforest ecology, and on a different part of the world, including the Amazon rainforest, a Scottish field station, Mount Mabu in northern Mozambique, the North Atlantic Ocean and the USA. Instructions for each exercise are provided for both the leading commercial GIS package (ESRI’s ArcGIS® 10.3 software) and the leading freely available open-source GIS software (QGIS 2.8.3, also known as Quantum GIS), meaning that this book can be used to learn, or teach, how to use GIS in biological research, regardless of the availability of commercial software licences.

Taken together, the two sections of this book provide the perfect primer to show undergraduates, and other novice GIS users, how useful GIS can be in biological research, why it is rapidly becoming a key skill in many areas of biology, and how to start using it.

The PSLS series of books uses Task-Oriented Learning (TOL) to teach the practical application of research skills to the life sciences. This involves demonstrating how these skills can be used in the specific circumstances in which they are likely to be required, rather than concentrating on teaching theoretical frameworks or on teaching skills in a generic or abstract manner. By seeing how the similar processes are used to achieve a variety of different goals within a specific field, it becomes easier for the reader to identify the general rules behind the practical application of these processes and, therefore, to transfer them to novel situations they may encounter in the future.

***Please Note: Links to the Amazon listing provided in this post are affiliate links. This means that I will receive a small percentage of any purchases made after following these links. This helps support the existence of this blog. If you do not wish this to happen, click here to go to the Amazon listing directly.***

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.