Module M12 - Introduction to GIS for the Purpose of Practicing PGIS


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used to generate, manage, analyse and communicate digital spatial information. The use of GIS has evolved from a process controlled by experts to one used more commonly by marginalized communities. They have become an important tool for documenting, expressing and protecting spatial knowledge related to land use and territorial delineation. However, in order to realise the benefits of GIS, facilitators and community members must understand the capabilities of these technologies.

Module 12 provides an introduction to GIS for the purpose of practicing PGIS. PGIS seeks to realise the greatest gains to local communities in participatory mapping projects. The Module uses Quantum GIS, an open-source alternative to more expensive GIS software. The Module is composed of four Units which introduce the software and its key features, discuss data visualisation, demonstrate various GIS operations and assess the applicability of these kinds of technologies. Each Unit contains a short interactive presentation and a hands-on exercise to familiarise trainees with the main principles of operating GIS.

Module objectives / expected outcomes

After completion of the Module, the trainee will be able to explain the basic principles of GIS, visualise spatial information and relationships, describe the basic functions of GIS and conduct on-screen digitising.

Content outline and main topics covered


8 ¼ – 8 ¾ hrs, depending on exercises used.

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