Geographical Information Systems

Course: CMM 21

Instructor: Dr. Benjamin Hennig

Course Catalog Description

About the Course

This course is about the power of maps. Learning the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) may at first appear a rather technical challenge. In this day and age we can not avoid the use of digital technology in our quest for understanding the world around us. Yet GIS still has the centuries-old study and practice of making maps at its heart. And while computers can help us undertake spatial analyses and geographic visualisations much more efficiently, an understanding of the underlying principles and concepts of cartography is just as important to fully exploit the potential that modern GIS tools can have. Therefore this course aims to include as much engagement with maps and aspects of visualisation as it showcases and exercises the use of GIS as a valuable tool to apply and utilise these skills.


I am a geographer who learned to love this subject during my studies at the Universities of Cologne & Bonn and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (Bremerhaven/Germany). I finished my graduate studies with research on hyperspectral remote sensing applications in coastal ecosystems. After being a lecturer in human and urban geography in Cologne I continued my academic journey in the Social and Spatial Inequalities Research Group at the University of Sheffield (UK). Here I completed my PhD as part of the Worldmapper project with research on visualising the human and natural dimensions of our planet. I then went on to join the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford as a senior research fellow. Since end of 2016 I moved to Iceland where I am now a Professor of Geography at the University of Iceland. Here I continue my focus on investigating social inequalities, humanity’s impact on Earth, global sustainability and the development of concepts for analysing, visualising and mapping these issues. I also remain engaged at the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment as a Honorary Research Associate.