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Advanced Courses in Life Sciences

1st Edition

Geographical Information Systems with R: using R as GIS

November 20th-22nd, 2019, Barcelona (Spain)


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Introduction to Geographical Information Systems with QGIS


A Geographical Information System is a set of data, tools, software and hardware, designed to store, manage, visualise, analyse, and represent spatial data, either in vector (points, lines, polygons) or raster (image, pixels) format. GIS is behind many activities of our world: from Google Earth and Maps, GPS navigation management of logistic and transportation services, land-cover maps such as CORINE, territorial planning, production of topographical maps and other thematic cartographies, to natural risk analyses and calculation of species’ potential distributions. Every activity using spatial data needs a GIS.

Do you know how to work with spatial data? Do you need to use a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) but you cannot buy professional software? Do not worry, there are many alternatives to freeware GIS that are at least as good as the professional solutions. However, it is not so well-known that you can use the famous programming language R as a GIS too.

This course will teach you the basic theory and practice of GIS using R. By the end of this 3-day practical course, you will have the capacity to visualise, map, and analyse spatial data, in vector as well as raster format.

This course is orientated to PhD and MSc students, as well as other students and researchers working on any discipline using spatial data.

This course will be mainly practical, with some theoretical lectures. All spatial processes and analyses will be performed with R, which is free and open-source software and allows automated and fully reproducible workflows. Students will learn to import different types of spatial data, visualise the data, perform spatial analyses, and represent the results in thematic maps.


Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont (ICP)

C/ de l’Escola Industrial, 23
08201 Sabadell, Barcelona (Spain)

How to get there


November 20th-22nd, 2019




21 hours on-site.

This course is equivalent to 1 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) at the Life Science Zurich Graduate School.

The recognition of ECTS by other institutions depends on each university or school.


Places are limited to 20 participants and will be occupied by strict registration order.

Participants who have completed the course will receive a certificate at the end of it.


Neftalí Sillero instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. Neftalí Sillero
Centro de Investigação em Ciências Geo-Espaciais

Marcia Barbosa instructor for Transmitting Science

Dr. A. Márcia Barbosa
CIBIO-InBIO, University of Évora


Ana Rosa Gómez-Cano coordinator at Transmitting Science

Dr. Ana Rosa Gómez-Cano
Transmitting Science

Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno instructor at Transmitting Science

Dr. Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Transmitting Science


Participants must bring their own computer with R installed. Basic knowledge in R is required. No previous knowledge of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is necessary.


Wednesday, November 20th, 2019.

  • T: Introduction to GIS.
  • P: Introduction to GIS with R: Import and plot data.
  • T: Cartography.
  • P: Cartographic projections.

Thursday, November 21st, 2019.

  • T: Vector GIS & data base operations.
  • P: Attribute and spatial queries: join/merge, filter/subset, select by attribute, select by location, summarize, add/calculate new attributes (columns), plot attributes.
  • T: Vector analyses.
  • P: Vector analyses: buffer, merge, dissolve, intersect, unite, select, calculate area.

Friday, November 22nd, 2019.

  • T: Raster GIS.
  • P: Raster analyses: rasterize, crop, mask, merge, distance surface, zonal statistics.


  • Course Fee
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  • Early bird (until August 31st, 2019):
  • 420 *
  • Regular (after August 31st, 2019):
  • 525 *
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks and lunches (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.
  • Course Fee + Accommodation Package
  • {{content-1}}
  • Early bird (until August 31st, 2019):
  • 420 * + 195 = 615
  • Regular (after August 31st, 2019):
  • 525 * + 195 = 720
  • This includes course material, coffee breaks, accommodation from Tuesday to Friday, breakfasts and lunches (VAT included).
    * Participants from companies/industry will have an extra charge of 100 €.

We offer the possibility of paying in two instalments (contact the course coordinator). Discounts (see Funding below) are not cumulative and apply only on the fee, not to Accommodation Package or other options.


Accommodation Package

If you take the Accommodation Package you will be hosted in the Hotel Urpí, in single standard rooms.

Accommodation is included from Tuesday (check-in) to Friday (check-out). Breakfast and lunch are also provided, starting from breakfast on Wednesday to lunch on Friday (included). Dinners are not included.

Check-in on Tuesday is from 14:00 on.

Transport from Barcelona city is not provided, but you can find how to arrive to Sabadell here. The hotel is located at 10 minutes walking from the train station and the Venue.

Other accommodation options

If you do not want the Accommodation Package, accommodation is available in places other than Hotel Urpí: Where to stay near the Venue.


Hotel Urpí

Hotel Urpi room


Course Schedule
  • Monday to Friday:
    • 9:30 to 13:30 Lessons.
    • 13:30 to 15:00 Lunch (included).
    • 15:00 to 18:00 Lessons.

The schedule is approximate; it is possible that the content of one day may run into the next and a working day may be longer than advertised.



Former participants will have a 5 % discount on the Course Fee.

Furthermore, a 20 % discount on the Course Fee is offered for members of some organizations (Organizations with discount). If you want to apply to this discount please indicate it in the Registration form (proof will be asked later).

Spanish unemployed scientists, as well as Spanish PhD students without any grant or scholarship to develop their PhD, could benefit from a 40 % discount on the Course Fee. If you want to ask for this discount, please contact the course coordinators. That would apply for a maximum of 1 place and it will be covered by strict inscription order.

Discounts are not cumulative and apply only on the fee, not to Accommodation Package or other options.


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