GIS in biological research course (1-2 Oct 2018, Glasgow)

This is the second call for attendees for our upcoming introductory training course for those who wish to learn how to use GIS in biological research, and it will provide an introduction to using GIS in a wide variety of biological research situations, including marine mammal research, and the course includes two marine-mammal-specific practical exercises (one based around calculating the observed abundance per  unit survey effort of dolphins using a grid-based approach, and one based around mapping species richness for North Atlantic beaked whales). It is primmarily based around a GIS software package called QGIS, which is free to use. As a result, it is one of the best options for doing GIS for self-employed MMOs, small environmental consultancies, NGOs, those working on small marine mammal research projects with limited budgets for purchasing software licences and students working at universities who do not have access to commercial GIS software packages.

The course will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, on the 1st and 2nd of October 2018, and it will be taught by Dr Colin D. MacLeod, who has more than 15 years experience in using GIS for a wide variety of biological purposes. For those who cannot attend this course in person, a shorter online course based on the same materials is available from our sister site

The course will primarily be based around QGIS (also known as Quantum GIS), which provides a user-friendly, open-source, free alternative to commercial GIS software packages, and it is becoming increasingly widely used in both academic and commercial organisations  As a result, it is aimed at both those with no GIS experience, but wish to learn how to do GIS with QGIS, and also those who are familiar with using commercial GIS software, such as ArcGIS, but who wish to learn how to use QGIS as an alternative. However, this course is taught using software-independent approach, and it is also open to those who wish to learn how to use ArcGIS to do biological GIS.

The practical exercises on this course will be based on those in the recently published GIS For Biologists: A Practical Introduction For Undergraduates  – a free copy of this book will be provided to all participants.

Attendance will be limited to a maximum of 16 people, and the course will cost £295 per person (£200 for students, the unwaged and those working for registered charities).  To book a place, or for more information, visit or email

Glasgow has great transport links and is within half a days travel by car or by fast train links from most cities in the UK. For example, it can be reached in as little as 4h 30mins from London by train. It can also be reached by direct flights from many European cities and the flight time is generally under four hours.

The course will be held in central Glasgow at the IET Glasgow Teacher Building (14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB, UK).

Attendees will be responsible for their own accommodation. However, Glasgow provides a wide range of accommodation options to fit most budgets.