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Introduction to GIS

Learn GIS, web mapping, and GIS analysis, and complete a GIS project on analyzing and mapping census data with QGIS.
4.3 (130 ratings)
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939 students enrolled
Created by Ardit Sulce
Last updated 2/2016
$15 $65 77% off
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  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • 4 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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This GIS (Geographic Information Systems) course will get you up and running with GIS in very short time. By the end of the course, you will understand the GIS process from beginning to end and you will be able to create both offline and online GIS maps from scratch. On top of that you will practice GIS by completing an entire GIS project using census datasets.

The course is ideal for professionals who want to learn GIS, but are not sure how to handle and turn spatial data into information. If you're planning to undertake a job that requires GIS skills, this course will give you the confidence you need to understand and solve a GIS problem.

In the course, you will understand what GIS is by looking at various GIS use cases. You will learn about vector and raster formats used in GIS. You will also learn about GPS and remote sensing technologies which are tightly related to geographic information systems. The course also covers map projections which can become the nightmare of a GIS project if they are not properly understood. You will to convert geographic coordinates back and forth to different projection systems.

One important part of the course is the practice activities. You will be given some raw spatial data which you will use to create a map using the QGIS software. Moreover, you will learn how web mapping works and you will create a web map with QGIS and OpenLayers and publish it online on your own website without using any third party service.

In the last part of the course, you will learn how to acquire, clean, analyze and visualize education and income data from the census database.

Who is the target audience?
  • Programmers, geologists, biologists, and every professional who deals with spatial data.
  • Everyone who wants to learn how to handle GIS, GPS, and remote sensing data.
  • Those interested in creating web maps.
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What Will I Learn?
Fully understand a GIS process.
Learn how to open, process, and visualize GIS data.
Learn how to work with both vector and raster data.
Get familiar with the GPS and the Remote Sensing technologies and learn how to use them in GIS.
Build a web map from scratch and publish it online.
Understand map projections and learn how to handle them.
Geocode addresses to longitude and latitude coordinates.
Learn how to use the QGIS software.
Understand the structure of US census data.
Complete an entire GIS project on acquiring, processing, analyzing, and visualizing census data.
Learn to perform joins, clipping, normalization, and more core GIS operation through the census project.
View Curriculum
  • A working computer.
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 39 Lectures Collapse All 39 Lectures 02:31:34
Introduction to GIS
4 Lectures 18:43

Let's get to know with the course firs before we dive into GIS.

Preview 02:24

You will get to know with the formal definition of GIS, but you will also get an exaqmple illustration of what GIS really involves in practice.

Understanding GIS

Learn how create a map of points with an OpenStreetMap base map in very simple steps using the QGIS software.

A mapping example in QGIS

Learn how to approach and solve a GIS problem by finding out the number of people 1 mile within a series of business address locations.

Doing GIS in QGIS: A real world example

Let's make sure you know what GIS is and what it means to know GIS.

Quiz 1
3 questions
Understanding Map Projections and Spatial Reference Systems
7 Lectures 21:10

Get introduced to the content of this section.


Map projections are crucial when working with spatial data.

Map projections

You will learn how coordinate systems come into the game with projections.

Coordinate systems

Datums are where a map projection is anchored. Here you will understand them.


You will learn what longitude and latitude really mean.

Geographic coordinates (longitude and latitude)

You will learn how the GPS technology works.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

You will be introduced to a type of map projection that is used globaly today.

The UTM projection

Understanding map projections and spatial reference systems.

Quiz 2
4 questions
How are GIS data made?
3 Lectures 06:52

Get introduced to the content of this section.


You will learn about the structure of the GPS data and how to use them in GIS

GPS data

You will learn about the structure of the Remote Sensing data and how to use them in GIS

Remote Sensing data

Make sure you have understood the difference between GPS and remote sensing data.

Quiz 3
1 question
The structure of GIS data
4 Lectures 11:07

Get introduced to the content of this section.


Here you will learn when to use vector and raster formats to represent geographic features.

Vector or raster?

You will deepen your understanding of GIS raster data and their file formats.

Raster file formats

You will deepen your understanding of GIS vector data and their file formats.

Vector file formats

Raster of Vector maps? Check your knowledge.
Quiz 4
2 questions
Desktop GIS - Working with GIS data in GIS software
6 Lectures 23:13

Get introduced to the content of this section.

Preview 01:03

You will learn how to create a shapefile out of a CSV file in QGIS.

Converting a CSV file into a shapefile

You will learn how to geocode addresses by converting them to numeric coordinates.

Converting addresses to coordinates

You will learn how to add a basemap to your GIS data so that you get an optimal cartographic look.

Adding a satellite background to a map

You will learn how to represent your GIS data by using stylizing capabilities of QGIS.

Stylizing geographic features

You will learn how to produce a high resolution image file out of your QGIS map.

Producing the final map
Web mapping
6 Lectures 18:48

Get introduced to the content of this section.


You will be introduced to the components that build a web mapping application.

System architecture of web mapping

You will create a web map with OpenLayers and QGIS and publish it online.

Producing a web map of San Francisco supermarkets

Here you will find the instruction and the data you need to add a polygon layer to the web map.

Preview 01:24

Here are some hints that will help you solve the web mapping exercise.

Exercise hints
4 pages

If you had problems solving the exercise, this lecture will clear them off the list.

Exercise solution
Project on obtaining, analyzing, and visualizing census data
9 Lectures 47:41

Get introduced to the section of this course.


Learn how to download census CSV and shapefile data from and

Getting US census data from the web

Tip on data handling

Learn how to download GIS shapefiles from the US census online database.

Getting shapefile data from the census database

Learn how to join any census data to GIS shapefiles.

Joining CSV census attributes with shapefiles

Learn how to turn your census data into maps in QGIS.

Creating census thematic maps in QGIS

Learn how to normalize population data by applying operations between attribute fields.

Preview 09:10

Learn how to create a map with map elements following standard cartographic rules.

Producing the complete map on PDF

Practice your GIS skills with this exercise.

Final exercise
About the Instructor
4.3 Average rating
4,036 Reviews
38,959 Students
6 Courses
Python and GIS Expert, Founder of

Ardit received his master's degree in Geospatial Technologies from the Institute of Geoinformatics at University of Muenster, Germany. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in Geodetic Engineering.

Ardit offers his expertise in Python development on Upwork where he has worked with companies such as the Swiss in-Terra,  Center for Conservation Geography, and Rapid Intelligence. He is the founder of PythonHow where he authors written tutorials about the Python programming language. 

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