HGO4940 – Advanced Geographic Information Systems

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course explores in depth how Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be used to study social processes. GIS has become an important tool, not only for planners and in risk assessment, but also in studies of society, the environment, and the interactions between them. In combined thematically oriented lecture-seminar sessions the students will learn and immediately apply fundamental knowledge components of GIS. The curriculum for each lecture-seminar session combines theory from text books, methodological book chapters or journal articles, and empirical journal articles where these methods are applied.

Spatial data is special data. In this course, the students will learn about the unique methodological aspects of spatial data which include collecting, managing, analysing and presenting such data and the respective results. A larger section of the course is devoted to spatial analytical methods and introducing the students to basic spatial econometrics, including spatial regression.

The course will mainly use ESRI ArcGIS, but students may also use open-source alternatives, such as GeoDa, QuantumGIS and R. Moreover, students learn to use GIS to prepare data for quantitative data analysis outside GIS, such as in SPSS or Stata.

Learning outcome

The students will learn about the fundamental components of a GIS, from the user and software side to the particular methods used to obtain information from spatial data. More specifically, this involves buffers and overlays, network analysis, GIS-based multicriteria assessment, spatial dependency and autocorrelation, spatial clustering and spatial regression methods.


  • Understand the special nature of spatial data and how they are different from non-spatial data.
  • Learn about the key components of a GIS, including users, databases, software, and networks.
  • Learn how we can collect and manage spatial data in both file formats and databases.
  • Learn basic to advanced spatial analytical methods, including network analysis, spatial multicriteria assessment and clustering.
  • Learn visualization techniques and cartographic principles.

Skills and competence

  • Develop skills to master GIS software.
  • Learn, critically discuss, and directly apply spatial methods and techniques in combined lecture-seminar sessions.
  • Complete a project where GIS will be used to study socio-spatial phenomena on master level.
  • Discuss sources of uncertainty and error in spatial data.
  • Create data models used to answer specific spatial questions.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

This course is a part of the Master's program in Human Geography. Students with admission to other relevant master’s degree programmes can apply for admission as guest students.

Students with admission to the programme must each semester register which courses and examinations they wish to sign up for in StudentWeb.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

SGO1910 – Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Similar introductory GIS courses must be approved upon application to the student advisor (by email).Basic understanding of computer systems recommended.


The teaching for this course is organized as a series of four-hour learning sessions. 

In addition, the students will individually work on a larger project. The seminars will consist of hands-on lab exercises where each student will work on solving spatial questions using GIS. The seminars will also function as a project helpdesk, where the students can receive assistance with their ongoing project work.

Handing in weekly assignments is mandatory in 100% of the seminars.

Completed and approved compulsory course work is valid as long as the course is offered. Students who have failed to complete the compulsory attendance cannot take the exam.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Assessment of the course is based on the individual project report. 

Examiner guidelines 

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

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