autumn 2021
FSK-3012 Geographical Information Systems for Coastal and Marine Resource Management - 10 ECTS

Last changed 26.11.2021

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 "Geographic information systems for marine resource and coastal management I" or similar background. Students who do not meet the requirement must have to take prerequisite course module.   

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 aquatic, 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 aquatic resources, life and living in freshwaters, oceans, coasts, and littoral cities. 

The course covers topics like spatial thinking and reasoning in the context of marine governance, different methods of data input and data editing, data quality issues, GIS data models 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 geo-statistical analysis, 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 blue governance in particular. 

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

The course is organized in theoretical and practical modules. Lectures, seminars, peer-teaching and similar teaching learning activities introduce the theoretical aspects; practical sessions that include computer labs (using hands-on experience), in-class-exercises, web courses and case-based instruction provide practical GIS skills.  

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 candidate:  

  • has in-depth knowledge of theoretical and practical aspects of GIS and its application in costal and marine environments 
  • explains how GIS and social science research can be effectively integrated in marine resource management and demonstrates the use of GIS in mixed method research 
  • describes concept of representation, spatial data structure and  GIS data model  
  • explains why maps are important decision aids in coastal and marine resource management and planning 
  • discusses critically questions related with quality of spatial data and uncertainties in spatial analysis 
  • can analyze theoretical and methodological challenges of using GIS in marine resource governance 
  • describes the processes used in participatory mapping, participatory GIS (PGIS) and public participation GIS (PPGIS) 


The candidate: 

  • can develop a spatial question related to students own interest in fisheries and marine resource governance 
  • can use and develop skills to master GIS software (such as ArcGIS, QGIS, R) to process, analyze and present spatial information 
  • can find, analyze and deal critically with various sources of spatial and non-spatial data 
  • can employ practical skills and theoretical principles of GIS to solve geographical problems  
  • can identify sources of errors and uncertainties in a GIS project and correct them accordingly 
  • can develop models using different analytical tools in GIS 
  • can use different spatial statistics and geo-statistical  methods in an independent manner 
  • can conduct participatory mapping exercises, PGIS and PPGIS  
  • can design and carry out an independent GIS project in the field of aquatic, coastal and marine environments in accordance with applicable norms for research ethics 

General competences  

The candidate: 

  • can apply spatial reasoning and GIS skills to solve geographical problems and to support spatial  decisions 
  • can identify and analyze the role, benefits, limitations and applications of GIS in studying fisheries and other coastal and marine resources management 
  • is able to communicate academic issues, GIS analyses, and conclusions, with specialists in the field, the managers/planners and to the public, in oral and written forms. 

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Lectures, flipped classroom, seminars, computer labs, internet courses, peer teaching, problem/project based assignments. 


A written term paper (three-week home exam). The grading scale is A-F, where A-E are passing grades, while F means the course was not passed. 

Work requirements:

  • One oral Presentation - (on given topic)
  • At least 2 ESRI online training (selected) courses 
  • Two approved written reports on given assignments

Re-sit exam:

  • Students who did not pass the course can sign up for a re-sit exam that is arranged in the following semester where the student submits a revised version of the term paper. 


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