BENA4033 Basics of Geoinformatics (2 cr)

Study level:
Intermediate studies
Grading scale:
Responsible organisation:
Department of Biological and Environmental Science
Curriculum periods:
2020-2021, 2021-2022, 2022-2023

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A course related to the fundamentals of spatial data, geographic information systems, and spatial analyses.


Digital maps and geographic information in general. Basic principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and their use in analyzing geographic information, remote sensing data sets and other spatial data. Examples of applications of GIS. Global Navigation Support Systems (GNSSs), and differential correction methods. A short introduction to spatial statistics methods, including spatial interpolation. A few computer applications are introduced on the course, including ArcGIS programs.

Learning outcomes

After completing this course, the student should be able to

  • Describe how geographic information is stored in computers, and give examples how spatial data can be used in analyses.
  • Describe how geographic coordinate systems and map projections work in general, and describe the systems used in Finland more carefully.
  • Store and analyze observations related to natural phenomena.
  • Describe the principles of global positioning system (GPS) and the differential correction related to it.
  • Use some basic methods available in geographic information systems (GIS), such as joining data sets, editing them, projecting them to other coordinate systems, summarizing, proximity studies, buffer-based analyses, overlay analyses (intersection, union), and route optimization.
  • Describe how these methods can be applied to solving simple research problems.
  • Use the basic terms of spatial statistics correctly.
  • Describe the geostatistical spatial interpolation method, ordinary kriging, and its assumptions.

Study materials

Lectures and exercises will be available in Moodle.


  • Holopainen M. ym. 2015. Geoinformatiikka luonnonvarojen hallinnassa. Helsingin yliopiston metsätieteiden laitoksen julkaisuja 7. (valikoiden); ISBN: ISSN: 1799-313X
  • Paul A. Longley, Mike Goodchild, David J. Maguire, David W. Rhind. 2011. Geographic Information Systems and Science, 3rd Edition. Wiley. (valikoiden); ISBN: 978-0-470-72144-5
  • Richard Webster, Margaret A. Oliver. 2007. Geostatistics for Environmental Scientists, 2nd Edition. Wiley. (valikoiden luvut 1-5, 8); ISBN: 978-0-470-02858-2

Completion methods

Method 1

Lectures and computer exercises are not compulsory, but most students need them in order to pass the course.
Evaluation criteria:
Final exam 100%.
Time of teaching:
Period 3, Period 4, Period 1
Select all marked parts
Parts of the completion methods

Teaching (2 cr)

Participation in teaching
Grading scale:
Study methods:

Active participation to course lectures and exercises, or self-study of the materials and programs, and an exam.