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Teaching & Resources


Self-Study Resources

The GIS Lab is assembling a list of valuable online spatial data resources relevant to the social sciences. Additionally, we are compiling self-study manuals for common GIS analysis methods. Some are available below, while more will be added when available.

GIS Lab Self-study course

Self-study course material is available to all UvA staff and students through this link (works only on campus or with VPN!) with a secure UvA login. Note: currently only Dutch version available, English material will be added soon. 

Online Self-Study Resources

Within ArcGIS Pro There are several tutorials available directly within the ArcGIS Pro software. After installing and launching the programme, simply click on the Learning Resources link on the initial start page to see a list of the lessons.

Online ArcGIS lessons Some useful self-study lessons are provided online by ESRI ArcGIS. (1) This ArcGIS Online Gallery provides several short basic lessons (Note: under Filter, you can select which software version you want lessons for). (2) ESRI ArcGIS also provides online mini-courses on different GIS topics to follow on their ESRI Academy Online Courses website. Many of these are paid courses, but they also have free ones, especially for some of the beginner lessons. To search for these, select your software of choice under Products and then check box next to Free.

Lists of other online tutorials This page from GISGeography provides a good selection of free online lessons in GIS, Python coding and cartography. GIS Lounge also provides a compilation of several useful free GIS lessons.

GIS Data Resources


The interactive online GIS application Regiomonitor Groot Amsterdam has been developed in collaboration with the GIS Lab. It makes it is easy to visually and statistically analyse time-series of spatial cluster maps of urban issues in the Amsterdam region. Maps can be created showing micro-scale areas (smaller than traditional administrative wards or districts) with high unemployment rates, citizens of certain age groups or ethnic backgrounds, social housing, high property value of houses and more. 

Since data is available from the year 2000 onwards, spatial dynamics in the demographic and socio-economic situation in the region can be monitored in an accurate way. 

Useful Online GIS Data Resources

Below is a list of useful online and open data resources that offer spatial data relevant to the social sciences. Some of these provide data directly in formats for ArcGIS software (i.e. shapefiles) while others involve some preparation to work with them in common GIS software. We link here to external sources. As with any data you are gathering from external sources, always be aware of its source, examine any metadata on it, and critically evaluate its quality and potential usefulness. The list below will be regularly expanded and updated.

Extensive GIS online data catalogue This page provides a very nice list of freely available GIS data from online sources. It is maintained and updated quite frequently. Scrolling down, you will find a Human Geography section that covers some useful themes.

Open Street Maps data OSM is a "collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world". The data is freely downloadable and can be very useful for basic spatial data such as on streets, administrative boundaries, landuses, etc. Interline and  GeoFabrik are two useful websites that calalog and provide extracts of the OSM data for free in shapefile format.  

European Data Portal The European Data Portal harvests the metadata of Public Sector Information available on public data portals across Europe, both from national, regional and city level open data sources.  (Note: many datasets are listed in their original language).

Statistics Netherlands data On the CBS geografische data page, basic data from the CBS (Statistics Netherlands) is provided along with the shapefiles of basic administrative boundaries for the entire country.

PDOK The Publieke Dienstverlening Op de Kaart (PDOK) is a platform for compiling and providing geodatasets from the Dutch government.

City of Amsterdam The Amsterdam open geographic data page provides a lot of interesting open datasets to download and is updated regularly.

Staff Training

Appointments can be scheduled with the GIS Lab members for one-on-one support for staff with inquiries on GIS and spatial methods for their research.

Additionally, the GIS Lab organizes intermittent short intensive courses on GIS. Whenever upcoming staff training courses are made available, these will be announced via email to all staff in the department. 

GIS Courses in the Bachelors and Masters 

The GIS Lab team are involved in teaching the GIS courses available in the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies’ programmes at the Bachelor's, Master's and Research Master's level. Please consult the UvA studiegids for current GIS courses on offer in the Department.

Student Final Project StoryMaps

Some of the GIS courses involve final projects which are published at the end of the course as online StoryMaps, hosted through our GIS Lab institutional account. Below are the links to some example student final StoryMaps: