Tag Archives: GIS training courses

Final Call: Training Course – QGIS For Biologists, 27-28 March 2017

19 Feb

Training Course – An Introduction To Using QGIS In Biological Research

GIS In Ecology will be holding an introductory training course for those who wish to learn how to use the free, open-source GIS software QGIS (also known as Quantum GIS) in all aspects of biological research. The course will be held in Glasgow on the 27th and 28th of March 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.

This course 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.

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.

To attend this course, you must bring your own laptop computer and have a working copy of QGIS 2.8.3 pre-installed on it. You can find information about how to get this software package by searching QGIS in any web browser. At the end of the course, all attendees will receive a certificate of attendance and completion.

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.

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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.

Upcoming GIS Courses From GIS In Ecology

21 May

GIS In Ecology will be running two courses in August 2015. These courses will be held at our regular venue in Glasgow City Centre in Scotland. The two courses which we will be running are:

An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology (17 – 19 August 2015): This is a three day course aimed at GIS beginners and it provides a practical introduction to using GIS in marine biology. It will be taught by Dr Colin D. MacLeod, the founder of GIS In Ecology, and author of An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology. It is primarily aimed at users of ESRI’s ArcGIS software (other courses are available for QGIS users). This course costs £395 per person (or £300 for students, the unwaged or those working for registered charities). You can find out more about this course by clicking here.

An Introduction To Species Distribution Modelling In The Marine Environment (20 – 21 August 2015): This is a two day course, which follows immediately after the introductory GIS course, provides an introduction to all aspects of running a successful species distribution modelling study in the marine environment, including practical sessions which will work through a species distribution modelling (SDM) project from start to finish. It is aimed at those with at least a basic knowledge of GIS (such as that gained during the introductory course mentioned above) and it will be taught by Dr Colin D. MacLeod, the founder of GIS In Ecology. It is primarily aimed at users of ESRI’s ArcGIS software (for the GIS elements of the course), and R statistical software (for the modelling elements).

This course costs £295 per person (or £200 for students, the unwaged or those working for registered charities). The practical elements of this course will be based on An Introduction To Using GIS In Marine Biology: Supplementary Workbook Three: Integrating GIS And Species Distribution Modelling, and those attending will receive a free copy of this book. You can find out more about this course by clicking here.

NOTE: This is not a statistics course, rather it concentrates on the practical elements which are needed to integrate GIS and SDM, and all the practical steps you need to take to complete an SDM project, regardless of the statistical approach you wish to use.

If you are interested in signing up for one both of these course, or would simply like some more information, please email info@GISinEcology.com with the subject line: August 2015 Courses.

Why We Need To Change The Way We Teach GIS To Ecologists

11 Nov

The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has exploded in the last decade and it is now an important skill for many ecological research projects, as well as being an ever-more common requirement in job adverts.  However, the way GIS is taught to ecologists, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, hasn’t developed in consort with this explosion in its use. Instead, it remains stuck in its roots as a tool for geographers, cartographers and businesses. This means GIS tends to be taught as a series of more or less abstract exercises that demonstrate how to use specific tools within GIS software packages rather than as an integrated skill-set. As a result, while students may learn how to do individual tasks, they often fail to grasp how to apply what they learn to their own research. It doesn’t help that the classes as often taught by geographers who have little understanding of ecology and use standard examples that have no relevance to those working in biological sciences (a standard one involves working out where best to site a new shop based on information about population densities and road networks, and this leaves most ecologists scratching their heads as they try to work out why on earth they’d ever need to know such a thing). In short, the way that GIS is currently taught to ecologists manages to confuse and alienate them, and many simply give up on ever trying to get to grips with this increasingly important skill, to the detriment of both their research and their job prospects.

In this respect, GIS currently finds itself in much the same position that statistics was twenty years ago. Now, we recognise that in order to teach students how to use statistics properly, we need to teach them not just the mechanics of a specific test, but that we need to also teach them everything from survey design, through data collection to test selection and on to how to write up the results.

If the use of GIS in ecological research is to develop in the way that statistical analysis has in recent years, we need to completely change the way it is taught.  We need to stop trying to teach by showing how to use individual tools within GIS software in a more or less abstract manner, and instead teach it as a connected and integrated skill set. This needs to include instructions on how to collect data in a manner that it is GIS-compatible (including how to set up and use GPS receivers properly), how import these data into GIS projects, how to link data from different sources together, and most importantly, how to integrate any work carried out within a GIS framework into other related frameworks, such as statistics. This needs to be taught in a manner and a language that ecologists can easily understand, and this means that it needs to be taught by other ecologists and not members of the nearest Geography faculty.

Students on a GIS In Ecology course learning how to collect GIS-compatible data not in a lecture theatre or in a computer classroom, but in the field as they would do as part of their own research projects.

This is the approach that GIS In Ecology was set up to both pioneer and promote.  It has been developed through more than a decade of use of GIS within my own research projects, training my own graduate students and also teaching various classes. This has culminated in our first course aimed specifically at terrestrial ecologists that GIS In Ecology ran for graduate students at a field station near Glasgow last week.  Over the three-day block, it took students with little or no knowledge of GIS and taught them everything from making a map through collecting data in the field using a GPS and how to build a GIS project that could be used to answer a specific research question.  While some of the course consisted of lectures, most of it involved students working through practical exercises, both in the classroom and out in the field.  All examples and data sets used came from real ecological research projects, meaning that the student were learning their skills in a manner that would be similar to how they would need to be able to apply them.  Similarly, since the course was being taught by someone who was both an ecologist and a GIS specialist, any questions they had could be answered in an ecological framework. 

While the true measure of the success of this approach will only really come once these students start using GIS in their own research projects, the immediate feedback was extremely positive.  By lunchtime on the first day, they’d already made their first map, and at least one said she’d learned more in those three hours than on a dedicated  twelve week undergraduate GIS module. By the end of the course, almost all were eager to start using their newly acquired skills to their own ecological research.  This compares to the large numbers that leave traditional courses vowing to never use GIS again for as long as they live.

However, unlike many modules taught by geographers, the GIS In Ecology approach does not stop there.  By providing a dedicated GIS forum for ecologists, we provide a place where those who take part in our courses (or anyone else who is interested) can ask for help from the GIS In Ecology instructors, and indeed from each other.  Through this, we aim to provide a more integrated and complete training environment that provides ecologists with a way to learn how to actually use GIS in an ecologically meaningful manner and apply it to their own research projects. Our experiences so far have suggested that if this approach was adopted more widely, we would quickly see a sea-change in the use of GIS in ecological research that would greatly benefit both those wishing to make ecology their career and the quality of ecological research as a whole. If, however, GIS continues to be taught in the same piece-meal manner that is, unfortunately, so common at this current time, it is likely to stagnate to the detriment all involved in ecology.