Geographic Information Systems on the Web

Lecturer (Coordinator):
Marina Álvarez
Guillermo Román


First semester




This course deals with a very powerful tool for capturing, viewing and publishing throughout the world distributed geospatial data on the Web. Those data are the 80% of the whole amount of data that is handled today.

Here will be studied: GIS as the basis of SIG in the Web, performing practical work with free software. The most recent geographical information capture methods, such as LiDAR flight data, open data and other sources of data capture; Drones in Antarctica, where the Research Group of the UPM works, of which the teacher is the coordinator of the line of Geomatics and Theory of the Decision.

As SIG in the Web Spatial Data Infrastructures (IDES) are tools with different levels of implementation, such as global, continental, national, regional, municipal, etc., the guidelines that allow implementing them at European and national level will be studied.

Afterwards, XML language will be revised as the base language of Google’s geographic languages GML and KML. We will study the CityGML standard, that allows urban 3D models to be interoperable with other models such as BIM (Building Information Model).

Then the potentials of the Web services to visualize spatial data will be studied. Spatial Databases will be studied.

Lastly, a SIG WMS service for publishing data will be implemented using free software on the Web.

Learning Goals

  • Capturing, analyzing, displaying and publishing geographically referenced information via Web, being it a high-quality information management system capable of capturing and displaying free cartographic data and images housed in web geoservers all over the world, sponsored by the Open geoespatial Comsortium (OGC).
  • Obtaining an appropriate usage level of freely available SIG software, especially for handling satellite images, aerial photographs, LiDAR data, Big Data, and other novel methods of SIG data capture.
  • Obtaining an appropriate level of software utilization for the development of freely available web geoservers.
  • Obtaining an appropriate level of freely available spatial databases usage.
  • Relating the software used in this course with the software employed in other subjects offered at the School. The students, while being capable to capture, read, understand and analyse data, will be able to perform web queries about territory and integration of existing or designed elements, made by other programs such as CAD design programs.


  1. Introduction
    1. Introduction to SIG
    2. Construction of spatial data models
    3. Measurement of the thematic component of spatial data
  2. Representation of Spatial data
    1. Construction of representation models
    2. Spatial data structure formats
    3. Spatial Data Sources and Acquisition
    4. Spatial Analysis
  3. Visualization of Spatial Information
    1. Definitions, components and examples of SIG in the Web
    2. XML Technologies
    3. SIG services on the WEB
    4. OGC Clients
  4. Publication of Spatial Information
    1. Development of a WMS service
    2. Spatial Databases
    3. SIG Project on the Web

Recommended Reading

  • Longley, P.A. et al: "Geographic Information Systems: Principles, Techniques, Management, and Applications". Ed. John Wiley and sons, 2005.
  • Longley, P.A. et al: "Geographic Information Systems and Science". Ed. John Wiley and sons, 2005.
  • Groot, R.; MCLaughlin, J.: "Geospatial Data Infrastructure. Concepts, Cases and Good Practice". Ed. Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Burrough, P.A. et al: "Principles of Geographic Information Systems". Ed. Oxford University Press, 1998.
  • Bosque Sendra, J.:"Sistemas de Información Geográfica". Ed. Rialp, 1997.
  • Yue-Hong Chou: "Exploring Spatial Analysis in Geographic Information Systems". Ed. Onword Press, 1997.

Assessment Method

Evaluation will be continuously performed throughout the course, taking into account:

  • Attendance to face-to-face lessons, and follow-up of online classes
  • Doing the proposed activities for each topic throughout the course in order to assess the assimilation of the explained concepts
  • Participation and collaboration of the students in the seminars that are established for the subject.

The subject will be passed when 5 or more points are obtained of a total amount of 10 according to the following rule:

FINAL NOTE = 60% Personal work + 20% SIG project on the Web + 20% Assistance and participation in class and seminars

Students who have not reached the minimum score to pass the subject must do an examination consisting of:

  • A variable number of short questions of a strongly conceptual nature
  • Developing a topic related to SIG technology on the Web

Tuition Language


Subject-Specific Competences

Code, description and proficiency level for each subject-specific competence
Code Competence Proficiency Level
CEM1 Examination of the state of the art to identify research problems related to the design, construction, use and evaluation of complex software-intensive sociotechnical systems C
CEM2 Analysis and synthesis of solutions to problems requiring innovative approaches to the definition of the computational infrastructure, processing and analysis of heterogeneous data types P
CEM8 Application of the theoretical and mathematical foundations of heterogeneous functions and data processing and analysis and evaluation and design of related methods for application in practical domains A

Learning Outcomes

Code, description and proficiency level for each subject learning outcome
Code Learning Outcome Associated competences Proficiency level
RA-IS-1 Understanding Geographic Information Systems (SIG) and the methods and technologies used to develop them CEM1 C
RA-IS-2 Understanding the services defined by the Open Gis Consortium for the development of Spatial Data Infrastructures CEM2 P
RA-IS-2 Capability for the design and development of a Spatial Data Infrastructure, including its theoretical and practical limitations CEM8 A

Learning Guide

Learning Guide: Geographic Information Systems on the Web