Course: GIS for Beginners: Guide & Application - Online

Surrey Wildlife Trust

21st October 2022

Cost: Members £60, non-members £72

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

If you are a teacher, surveyor or simply enthusiastic about capturing and manipulating data, then it is vital that you know about GIS (Geographic Information System). This introductory course will explain how and why it is such an important tool when analysing data.

The tutor for this course, Ben Siggery, has been able to provide a session in which delegates can participate from home. It will still be a live event with a maximum of 10 students, ensuring as much interaction as possible.

For this course to work effectively, each delegate will require two full screens. If you already use 2 screens, then you will be fine. Otherwise, you must have the use of a computer/laptop and a tablet. Using a mobile phone as the second screen sadly will not work as it will be too small to see the tutors presentation or to work from. In addition, we have found that the computers used in this session need to be be relatively up-to-date. Older models tend to struggle with the data applications.

This course uses QGIS, a free GIS software, which you will need to download and install prior to the course. 

This course will take place over 2 days, one week apart.

Day 1 - Friday 21st October 10am-3pm

There will be an initial presentation and a comprehensive discussion about the practical elements of the software. We will spend the second half of the session working through some simple activities together, where you will use your own computer to follow what the tutor is doing. Then, some ‘homework’ will be set using the concepts learned. You will be given a week to collect data locally and upload it to the computer.

Day 2 - Friday 28th October 10am-noon

We will use everyone’s homework data to create our own maps, and learn how to produce a clean, professional looking end product. You will be shown where to find data online, where you can continue your learning and get a brief introduction to ArcGIS Online and Storymaps. To finish, you will have the opportunity to share concerns, ask specific questions and discuss any relevant issues.

We will be using zoom to run this course and therefore you will need to download this free app prior to the course. This application allows file sharing, group communication outside of the course times as well as the ability (when approved by the user) for the tutor to access a delegate’s computer to help guide them through any difficult aspects of the software use.

Tutor profile - Ben Siggery

Ben is a passionate freshwater ecologist who specialises in aquatic plants and invertebrates. He began as an Education Volunteer in 2014, but has now worked for the Surrey Wildlife Trust since 2016 as an Education Officer and as a GIS Analyst since 2018. Ben’s work ranges from pond dipping with school groups, to speaking at conferences and conducting detailed analysis of Surrey’s habitats. Recently his work has focused on habitat connectivity and natural capital.

Ben holds an MSc in Aquatic Conservation, Ecology and Restoration from University College London, extending his 1st Class Honours BSc in Environmental Geography. During his time at UCL, Ben specialised in freshwater conservation as well as studying Environmental GIS and the role of paleoecology in conservation. He continues to work closely with academic staff with the aim of publishing the findings of his MSc Thesis, which focused on the benefits of pond restoration to biodiversity, through the study of aquatic plants and beetles.

In his spare time, Ben puts on his waders and assists with the Trust’s RiverSearch and wetland projects, conducting habitat and botanical surveys.

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