Introduction to the use of spatial data

BAN441 Introduction to the use of spatial data

Autumn 2024

  • Topics

    This course will introduce you to the world of spatial data handling using cutting-edge open-source software! Say goodbye to dusty old tables and say hello to interactive maps that will shout out the story you are trying to sell. The integration of computerized maps and the information management tools of a spreadsheet has revolutionized various fields and is now widely used across multiple industries. The focus of the course is on using geocoded data in economics, covering topics such as acquiring, managing, and transforming spatial data. The course is hands-on, with exercises and readings to give students a comprehensive understanding of the capabilities of spatial analysis. The course is based on QGIS. Rudimentary knowledge of R is helpful but not necessarily needed. A warning upfront handling geo-coded data can be addictive and is definitely fun.

  • Learning outcome

    This course offers a basic understanding of geocoded data, enabling you to transform real-world environments into 2D representations. You will learn to use diverse data sources, from modern satellite data to historical maps, to analyze economic phenomena. The course focuses on using the free open-source software QGIS to work with spatial data, and the skills acquired can be applied to other software.

    Upon successful completion of the course, the student will have attained the following:


    Upon successful completion of the course, the student will

    • Have acquired a practical understanding and proficiency in utilizing QGIS for geographical information system tasks.
    • Possess an understanding of the differences between vector and raster data.
    • Possess an understanding of coordinate systems and projections.


    Upon successful completion of the course, the student can

    • Extract data from common geo data sourcess like satellite images, OpenStreetMaps or historical maps.
    • Use geocoded data to address applied problems and/or research questions.
    • Produce maps that help to visualize economic phenomena that can be shared with everybody (e.g., PDF or JPEG maps).

  • Teaching

    The course will consist of short lectures at the beginning of each session. These will be followed by hands-on lab exercises using QGIS. During the course, students will work on different small exercises tailored to the main topics of the lectures. Since learning to use geocoded data and techniques takes time, students are expected to study and work on the lab exercises outside of class. The course is set up to concentrate. Lectures are concentrated over one week. The course assignment is supposed to be submitted approximately two weeks after the lectures have ended.

  • Credit reduction due to overlap


  • Compulsory Activity


  • Assessment

    Assessment is based on a final course assignment and is graded Pass-Fail. The assignment will be worked on in groups of a maximum of 4 students. The assignment will be a group-specific list of tasks to be solved using QGIS. The submission deadline will be approximately one month after the final lecture.

  • Grading Scale


  • Computer tools

    Students need access to a computer running QGIS (


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered autumn 2024 (last week of the semester)

Course responsible

Associate Professor André Seidel, Department of Business and Management Science (NHH) & Department of Business Administration (HVL)