Welcome to Automating GIS-processes 2018!

Automating GIS-processes -course teaches you how to do different GIS-related tasks in Python programming language. Each lesson is a tutorial with specific topic(s) where the aim is to learn how to solve common GIS-related problems and tasks using Python tools. We are using only publicly available data which can be used and downloaded by anyone anywhere. We also provide a computing environment which allows you to instantly start programming and trying out the materials yourself, directly in your browser (no installations needed).

Notice: we assume that you know the basics of Python programming. If Python is not familiar to you, we recommend to start with our earlier course that prepares you for this course, and focuses on learning the basics of Python, see geo-python.github.io.

Course format

The majority of this course will be spent in front of a computer learning to program with Python programming language and doing practical exercises. During Teaching Period I, the Automating GIS-processes and Introduction to Quantitative Geology courses met together and focused on learning the basics of programming with Python. Previously, both these courses lacked sufficient time for students to properly learn the basic concepts of programming in Python.

The computer exercises will focus on developing basic programming skills using Python and applying those skills to various GIS related problems. Typical exercises will involve a brief introduction, followed by topical computer-based tasks and exercises. At the end of the exercises, you are asked to submit answers to relevant questions, some related plots, and the Python codes you have written. You are encouraged to discuss and work together with other students on the laboratory exercises, however the laboratory summary write-ups that you submit must be completed individually and must clearly reflect your own work.

Open Access!

The course is open for everyone. The aim of this course is to share the knowledge and help people to get started with their journey for doing GIS more efficiently and in a reproducible manner using Python programming.

Step by step instructions with cloud computing

The materials are written in a way that you can follow them step by step exactly as they are written, as long as you use the cloud computing resources that we provide for you using Binder and CSC Finland cloud computing resources (for Finnish students). If you work from your own computer, you need to adjust the file paths to the data accordingly.

For teachers

If you would like to use these materials for your own teaching or develop them further, we highly support that. Please read more about how to do it from here.

Earlier versions of the course

Older course materials are available at:

Note, that the contents of the course are updated for each year. Hence, the older course materials may not be used, and they might be outdated.

Course topics by week

See earlier materials for learning the basics of Python programming from here.

The materials are divided into weekly sections that are published at these pages every Monday morning. Lessons are held with following schedule:



Class 1


GIS in Python; Spatial data model; Geometric Objects; Shapely

Class 2


Working with GeoDataFrames; Managing projections; Table join;

Class 3 Wed 14.11.2018 (note change

in schedule!)

Geocoding and making spatial queries

Class 4


Geometric operations; Reclassifying data with Pysal

Class 5


Visualization, making static and interactive maps

Class 6


Network analysis and routing in Python (transport modelling)

Class 7


Using Python programming in QGIS


Lesson content, readings and due dates are subject to change