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Geographical Information Systems

The Higher Diploma in Geographical Information Systems is a part-time course designed to give you a theoretical understanding of geographical information systems (GIS) and practical hands-on training in key GIS software. The course focuses on developing the skills and knowledge of the participants to enable the effective use of GIS technology in a professional environment. GIS is a fundamental technology for the effective management, manipulation, analysis and display of spatial data. The use of GIS technology has grown rapidly in the past 10 years and the demand for suitably qualified GIS professionals has increased significantly. The course has been designed to ensure that you will acquire the skills and expertise to meet the needs of potential employers.

Entry requirements

Applicants will be at least 21 years of age by 1st January of the year of application. Applicants should have a primary degree in a related subject (Geography, Geology, Planning, Engineering, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Surveying, Marketing or other related subject). Candidates with 2 years relevant professional experience may also be considered as deemed appropriate by the GIS Higher Diploma Committee and the ACE Committee. All applicants whose first language is not English must have attained IELTS Level 6 or the equivalent TOEFL score.


One year. The Higher Diploma in Geographical Information Systems is taken on a part-time basis over a 10 month period (10 x 3 day seminars). Lectures and workshops.

Careers or further progression

Skills and Careers Information
Having completed the course you will have comprehensive skills in the use of key GIS software and the underlying knowledge of how to effectively implement GIS, undertake analysis and ensure best practice. GIS is widely used in a variety of organisations in Ireland, including:

• county and city councils
• government departments
• the Defence Forces
• utility companies
• marketing and insurance companies
• environmental and engineering consultancies
• and many more.

Upon finishing the course many students have found work in these organisations or if already employed have gain promotion.

Further enquiries

Helen Bradley
T: +353 (0)21 490 2920
F: +353 (0)21 4271980

Subjects taught

You will take five modules:

Year 1 Modules:
GG5800: Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (10 credits)
The nature of geographical data; data structures; data sources; basic GIS functions and introduction to GIS database features.

GG5801: Visualisation of Spatial Data (10 credits)
This module will introduce students to the principles of cartography and visualisation. Emphasis will be placed on the production of effective maps based on established principles of cartographic design. The module will also focus on recent developments in geographic visualisation and the areas of internet mapping and interactive visualisation. Topics covered include projections and scale, cartographic design, symbology and colour, thematic and topographic mapping, 3D mapping and web GIS.

GG5802: Spatial Analysis and Geographical Information Systems (10 credits)
The aims and purpose of spatial data analysis; Boolean and other forms of logic; spatial autocorrelation; generalisation of spatial and non-spatial data; database querying through SQL; buffering, dissolve-and-merge and data overlay in vector GIS; map algebra and raster data analysis; interpolation and analysis of surfaces.

GG5803: G.I.S. Software and Systems (10 credits)
Introduction to and overview of the functions of ArcGIS, MapInfo, Erdas. Practical experience using the leading commercial GIS software. Current and future trends in GIS. Web GIS and customisation.

GG5804: G.I.S. Research Project (20 credits)
Students will develop their research proposal in agreement with relevant staff and carry out independent research over a 2 month period.


Unique Aspects of the Course
The Higher Diploma in Geographical Information Systems has been running successfully in UCC for 13 years and has an excellent reputation within the Irish GIS community. It is highly regarded as a course for continuing professional development, with many organisations sponsoring staff participation on the course. It is also very popular with those looking to work in the GIS environment. The course has an excellent employment track record.

Assessment method

Assessment for the course is a combination of written exams, continually assessed work and a research project.

Application date

How Do I Apply?
Adult Continuing Education now welcomes online applications for ACE programmes from Certificate to Masters level. Students can register and pay online quickly and securely by simply clicking the “apply now” button within course description, and filling out the online application form. Once you are registered on UCC360 you can apply for additional courses without needing to register each time.

ACE also welcomes applications by post and an application form can be downloaded and printed from within each course description (on web).

Course fee

€2750 per academic year (Recommended course textbook €40).

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: September 2017

Remember to mention gradireland when contacting institutions!