Ciência e Sistemas de Informação Geográfica



  • Know the main events and milestones related to GIS evolution and be aware of the challenges that tend to guide GIS future developments
  • Identify the main characteristics and properties of Geographic Information (GI)
  • Recognize the importance of geographic information at the present time
  • Understand the ways in which Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are being applied to different knowledge domains (environment, public heath, local and regional administration, marketing, transportation, civil defense, etc.)
  • Know and apply correctly a set of concepts, terms and definitions related to the use of geographic information and associated technologies
  • Understand the relations between Geographic Information Science (GI Science) and Geographic Information Systems and explore the continuum that separates/links the theoretical, technological and practical issues within the field
  • To identify the main components of Geographic Information Science.
  • To know the topics that integrate and delimitate GI Science research field.
  • To frame the main geographic problems in the context of GI Science's components
  • To explore the relations between different GI Science's components.
  • To understand GI Science's research priorities.
  • To recognize the main challenges associated with GI Science's different components.
  • To understand the key geographical information activities that can be enhanced through the use of geographic information system;
  • To recognize the main advantages on presenting a holistic model of a functional geographic information system;
  • To identify the four main functional components or subsystems of a geographic information system;
  • To understand the main challenges associated with the GIS data input component;
  • To know consistent methods for GIS data entry, update, deletion and retrieval;
  • To be familiar with a wide range of analytical operations available to GIS users;
  • To recognize the importance of applying well-known principles of map design during GIS outputs generation.
  • Review data manipulation and analysis capabilities within a GIS;
  • Be familiar with the relevant terms and major topics of spatial analysis and modeling;
  • Understand what different modeling means in the context of GIS;
  • Understand the main issues relating to geographic analysis and modeling methods;
  • Be familiar with the diversity of models and how they are being applied by current GIS applications;
  • Know how models of spatial form and models of spatial processes are represented and analyzed using GIS;
  • Recognize the applicability of different spatial analysis operations;

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Marco Octávio Trindade Painho


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language

Portuguese. If there are Erasmus students, classes will be taught in English


Not applicable


Longley, PA, MF Goodchild, DJ Maguire, and DW Rhind, 2010, Geographic Information Systems and Science. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 3rd Edition.; Other readings suggested in class materials; Class notes available on the internet course homepage. Has links to other sources of information for GIS.; 0; 0

Teaching method

Lecture with discussion and student presentations.

Evaluation method

  • Individual short essay presented and discussed in class (Max 1000 words). 10 min presentation + 5 minute discussion - 15%. Topics for short essays are suggested at the end of each learning unit.
  • Individual term paper presented and discussed in class (Max 5000 words). To be written in Conference format. 20 min presentation + 10 minute discussion - 45%. Topics for term papers are proposed by students by no later than mid semester in a 200 word abstract containing title and summary
  • Two Midterm exams - 20% + 20% = 40%
  • Participation in class - 5%

Subject matter

GIS will be analyzed under a science and historic perspective: Is there a science behind the GIS? When and where did they begin? What are the factors responsible for their creation and evolution?  What are the contributions given by several disciplinary fields? 
The nature of spatial information and the integrating character of the analysis approaches and methods used by GIS and their growing application in different sectors of activity have contributed for a greater disciplinary convergence around the usually referred to as "geographic problems". The curricular unit will explore these "geographic problems" that express the main issues raised by the use of geographic information and associated technologies, setting the limits and scope of this new knowledge area.
Geographic Information Systems have the potential to improve our understanding of the real-world forms and processes. This potential is related with GIS functions, or key geographical information activities, that can be enhanced through the use of geographic information technologies and in particular, geographic information systems:

  • The measurement of spatial features parameters
  • The mapping of the earth surface phenomena
  • The monitoring of spatial changes across space and time.
  • The modeling of geographical forms and processes