autumn 2018
FSK-3012 Geographical Information Systems for Coastal and Marine Resource Management - 10 ECTS

Last changed 29.01.2019

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester. Applicants from outside the Nordic countries: 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

Master¿s course for students at the program Fiskeri- og havbruksvitenskap, retning ressursforvaltning and the Master's programme in International Fisheries Management (IFM). The course can also be taken as a singular course.

Admission requirements

Entrance requirements is FSK-2006 "Geografiske informasjonssystemer for marin ressurs- og kystsoneforvaltning" or similar background.

Application code 9371.

Course content

The course is an advance course in GIS that will enable the students to make use of the system in coastal and marine resource management and research. Students shall study relevant theories, methods and research design related to application of GIS in the field(s) related with the student's own master thesis or own interests in social sciences - related to fisheries and marine resource management.

The course covers topics like understandings of GIS as tool versus science and studies, spatial thinking in the context of marine governance, representing real world in GIS (conceptual and GIS data model), different methods of data input and data editing, data quality issues and database management. A larger section of the course is devoted to spatial analytical methods and the applications of GIS in coastal and marine environments. Students are trained in model building and basic python programming in GIS. The course will also introduce the students to qualitative and critical GIS. Further, it focuses on sources of errors and uncertainties in GIS in general, and challenges of use of GIS in fisheries and marine governance in particular.

The course will mainly use ESRI ArcGIS, but open-source alternatives (e.g. QGIS, ILWIS, GRASS and R) will also be introduced and used.

The course is organized in theoretical and practical module. Lectures introduce the theoretical aspects; computer labs provide the hands-on experience with professional GIS software.

Recommended prerequisites

FSK-2006 Geographic information systems for marine resource and coastal management I

Objectives of the course

The course aims at offering students in-depth theoretical and practical insights in the application of GIS in social sciences related to fisheries and marine resource management. Students are made to reflect upon relevant GIS methods that could be relevant for their own master thesis project or in related theme.

Intended learning outcomes:

On completion of the course, the student should have the following learning outcomes:


The student

  • has in-depth understanding of conceptual issues on costal and marine spatial thinking
  • understands what GIS is and its application in costal and marine resource management
  • understands how real world is represented in GIS and how maps are used in coastal and marine resource management
  • explains how GIS and social science research can be effectively integrated in marine resource management and demonstrate the use of GIS in mixed method research
  • learns to use GIS as an instrument in spatial planning, particularly in coastal zone and marine spatial planning
  • discuss critically questions related with quality of spatial data and uncertainties in spatial analysis
  • understands theoretical and methodological challenges of using GIS in marine resource governance
  • learns basic to advanced spatial analytical methods, including basics of model building and python programming in GIS
  • learns how to conduct participatory mapping exercises, and theoretical and practical aspect of Public participation GIS (PPGIS)
  • learns basic visualization techniques and the key map design principles


The student

  • can develop a spatial question related to students own interest in fisheries and marine resource governance
  • uses and develop skills to master GIS software (such as ArcGIS, QGIS, ILWIS, R) to process, analyze and present spatial information
  • can find, collect, and organize data for use in GIS
  • can design and carry out own GIS analysis in the field of fisheries and marine resource governance
  • can identify sources of errors and uncertainties in a GIS project and correct them accordingly
  • can develop basic models using different analytical tools in GIS
  • can use web GIS (mapping) applications/tools

General competences:

The student

  • can apply spatial reasoning
  • can communicate GIS outputs to support decision-making
  • is familiar with basic functions of ArcGIS 
  • can identify the role, benefits, limitations and applications of GIS in studying fisheries and other coastal and marine resources management

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Lectures, seminars, computer labs, internet courses and peer teaching.


A written term paper. The grading scale is A-F, where A-E is pass, and F is fail.

Work requirements: 1. One oral Presentation - (on given topic) 2. At least 2  ESRI online training (selected) courses 3. Two approved lab reports

A re-sit exam will be arranged for this course.

Recommended reading/syllabus

[Updated Syllabus and reading list will be announced prior to course start. ]

Longley, P. A. et al. (2015), Geographic Information Science and Systems (4th Ed.), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Pages 496.

Carocci et al. (2009). Geographic information systems to support the ecosystem approach to fisheries: status, opportunities and challenges, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 532. Rome, FAO. (110 pages)

Wright, D.J. and Halpin, P. N. (2005), Spatial Reasoning for Terra Incognita: Progress and Grand Challenges of  Marine GIS, in Wright, D. J. and Scholz, A. J. (Eds) Place Matters: Geospatial Tools for Marine Science, Conservation, and Management in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon State University Press. (26 pages)

Vallega, A. (2005), From Rio to Johannesburg: The role of coastal GIS.Ocean & Coastal Management, 48, 588-618. (31 pages)

Fisher, WL., and Rahel, FJ. (ed.), 2004. Geographic Information Systems in Fisheries,  American Fisheries Society. Chapter 2, 7 -9

Goodchild, M. F. (2014). Twenty years of progress: GIScience in 2010. Journal of Spatial Information Science, (1), 3-20. (18 pages)

Goodchild, M. F. (2011). Scale in GIS: An overview. Geomorphology, 130(1), 5-9. (5 pages)

Valavanis, V. D. (2002) Geographic Information System in Oceanographic and Fisheries. London: Taylor & Francis. Chapter 1, pages 23.

Crampton, J. W.  (2001). Maps as Social Constructions: power, communication and visualization, Progress in Human Geography, 25(2), 235-252. (18 pages)

Martin, K. S. & Olson, J. (2017), Creating space for community in marine conservation and management: mapping "Communities at sea", in Levin, P and Poe, M.R. (ed.) Conservation for the Anthropocene Ocean: Interdisciplinary Science in Support of Nature and People, 143 - 168. (18 pages)

Johnsen et al. (2014) The creation of coastal space - how local ecological knowledge becomes relevant. Maritime Studies. 13(2). (20 pages)

Dapueto et al. (2015), A spatial multi-criteria evaluation for site selection of offshore marine fish farm in the Ligurian Sea, Italy. Ocean & Coastal Management 111, 64 - 77. (14 pages)

Aswani S. and Lauer M. (2006), Incorporating Fishermen¿s Local Knowledge and Behavior into Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for designing Marine Protected Areas in Oceania. Human Organization. 65(1): 81-102. (22 pages)

Calamia M. A. (1999), A methodology for incorporating traditional ecological knowledge with geographic information systems for marine resource management in the Pacific.SPC Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Information Bulletin 10, 2-12. (11 pages)

Chien L. K. et al. (2012), A study of ocean zoning and sustainable management by GIS in Taiwan. Ocean & Coastal Management, 69, 35-49. (15 pages)

Longdill P. C. et al. (2008), An Integrated GIS Approach for Sustainable Aquaculture Management Area Site Selection. Ocean & Coastal Management, 51 (8-9), 612-624. (13 pages)

Silva, C. et al. (2011), Site selection for shellfish aquaculture by means of GIS and farm-scale models, with an emphasis on data-poor environments. Aquaculture, 318 (3-4), 444-457. (14 pages)

Valavanis, V. D. et al. (2004), Critical regions: A GIS-based model of marine productivity hotspots. Aquatic Sciences 66, 139-148. (10 pages).

Baldwin et al. 2013. Participatory GIS for strengthening transboundary marine governance in SIDS. Natural Resources Forum, 37 257-268.

Sullivan et al. 2015. Combining geographic information systems and ethnography to better understand and plan ocean space use. Applied Geography 59 (70 - 77).

Paudel, K. P. (2018) Hands-on-Exercise for FSK3810.

Other resources:

Rød, J. K. (2015), GIS: Verktøy for å forstå verden. Fagbokforlaget.

de Smith, M. J., Goodchild, M. F. and Longley, P. A. (2015) Geospatial Analysis - A comprehensive guide -  A free web-based GIS resource.

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: FSK-3012