GIS expertise


Satellite orbiting earth


GIS technologies and techniques are used in research and modelling across a range of subjects within the university, some applications are less obvious than others. We have experts with interests in GIS spanning ecology, forestry, rural health, aquaculture, mountain studies, marine science, archaeology and the Gaelic language.

We have expertise in the collection of data from many sources, using specialist equipment including drones, GeoAcoustic Sub Bottom Profiler, combined with analysis in a number of packages (QGIS, ArcGIS). Our experts then apply their analysis to research, consultancy and teaching questions to form visual aids to understanding complex sets of data.

Beyond university staff and students, we can design and deliver bespoke short courses to fit your need; whether it be specific training, CPD, or a need to engage one of our experts to produce a specialist report.


For all GIS enquiries please email:

Your enquiry will then be directed to the most appropriate person.

Please use this email as your first point of contact if you are a member of staff or a student looking to connect with the group, or have a business need you think our experts can solve.

What can GIS be used for? content

What can GIS be used for?

What can GIS be used for?

What is GIS?

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software is designed to capture, manage, analyze, stores, manipulate and visualise all forms of geographically referenced information, linking to a map or maps.

The software helps you interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends. Global and local issues with a geospatial perspective require pervasive, complex, location-based knowledge and clear representations to illustrate and explain conclusions - GIS can help you.

In basic form GIS allows you to:

  • Create geographic data
  • Manage multiple data
  • Analyze multiple data
  • Display it on a map.

GIS Connects Geography with Data

GIS analysis and visualisations can have benefits to organizations of all sizes and in almost every industry. There is a growing interest in and awareness of the economic and strategic value of GIS. GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize our world in ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.

GIS software helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared.

Understand the World around You

Every day, millions of decisions are being powered by GIS, from pinpointing new store locations, predicting climate change, mapping movements of people or animals, changes to vegetation over time, reporting power outages or helping councils map the use of services. It relates groups of data to other data in a geographic context.

GIS Software

There are many software packages available, the most popular being from ArcGIS, QGIS, GRASS GIS, SuperGIS, SAGA GIS to JUMP GIS. There is other free GIS software, available.

The next section details the software programmes used at the university.....

GIS practitioners, software and equipment across the university content

GIS practitioners, software and equipment across the university

GIS practitioners, software and equipment across the university

Department/ DisciplineCurrent GIS Staff UsersGIS Software usedGIS Equipment/ Hardware
Ecology Louise de Raad QGIS, ArcGIS Online, ArcMap, R, Story Maps 4 handheld GPS (Garmin 64 stc). 4 iPads of ICT have the free Survey 123 and Collector app installed (to collect spatial data in the field); about 13 GPS devices;
Forestry/ ecology Euan Bowditch ArcMap  
PDM Forestry, Science Liz Barron-Majerik    
Lecturer in Geography Margaret Carlisle QGIS, ArcGIS,GRDAS (also IDRIS, MapMaker, MapLife)  
  Joachim Boehm ArcMap  
Aquaculture Lucio Marcello ArcGIS Online, Story Maps  
Teaching Su Bryan    
Rural Health Sarah Ann Munoz    
ICT Garry Main    
STEM Samantha Clark    
Ecology/ Aquaculture Melanie Smith    
Environmental Science Margaret Carlisle    
Marine Science and Technology (MST) Richard Shelmerdine ArcMap, ArcCatalog, ArcScene, ArcGlobe, qGIS In addition to UHI's ArcGIS licence, we have a stand-alone ArcGIS licence with some extensions for commercial work. Garmin Montana 600 handheld GPS units.
MST Rachel Shucksmith ArcMap, MapInfo  
MST Charlotte Slater ArcMap  
MST Leanna Henderson ArcMap  
MST Kathryn Allan ArcMap  
MST Mark Hamilton ArcMap  
Archaeology Institute Rebecca Rennell QGIS, ArcGIS Leica TCR+1205 R400
Northern Studies Alex Sanmark ArcGIS None
Mountain studies Ros Bryce    
Mountain studies Martin Price    
Archaeology Institute/ORCA Jen Harland QGIS, ArcMap Leica TS11
Archaeology James Moore ArcMap Leica Viva GNSS (GS15/GS15)
Archaeology Crane Begg QGIS, ArcMap Leica Viva GNSS (GS16, CS20)
Archaeology Sean Bell ArcMap Leica ScanStation C10
Archaeology Rick Barton ArcMap Trimble VRS R8 GNSS
Archaeology Amanda Brend ArcMap Paired Trimble R8 GNSS
Archaeology Linda Somerville ArcMap Kongsberg GeoAcoustics Sub Bottom Profiler (Pinger)
Archaeology Rebecca Rendell    
Archaeology Pete Higgins QGIS Handheld GPS
ICT & Information Systems, Marine Science Steve Gontarek ArcGIS, Openlayers, PostGIS, GeoServer Multiple handhelds. Specialised Autonomous Intrumentaion in the field
ICT & Information Systems Paola Arce ArcGIS, QGIS, Openlayers, Leaflet, PostGIS, GeoServer, ERDDAP  
Science\Ecology Michael Burrows ArcGIS, QGIS  
Various Marine 20+ practitioners Various Marine Contact Michael Burrows as SAMS GIS lead
Gaelic language Iain Campbell    


Digital maps and collections available from UHI Libraries content

Digital maps and collections available from UHI Libraries

Digital maps and collections available from UHI Libraries

Within the university library, staff and students have access to a range of digital mapping from sources including The British Library, Ordnance Survey, Jisc Geostore (OS and BGS maps + more), Edina, Film and sound collections, historic collections, geology and marine mapping, Naxos, radio collections and various discipline specific collections (you must sign in to the library system using your university logon).

For more information and access to these collections follow the link below:

UHI Libraries Digimaps and collections

Training, mentoring and courses with GIS content

Training, mentoring and courses with GIS

Training, mentoring and courses with GIS

Available training and mentoring across the university

LocationDescriptionDuration (days)Delivered to whom?Delivered by
Inverness College UHI Staff development course: Introduction to Survey123. Survey123 is an app that can be used to set up (spatial) data collection in the field 0.5 Open to all IC staff and PGR students Louise de Raad
Inverness College UHI Staff development course: Introduction to ArcGIS Online. ArcGIS online is a cloud based GIS package that allows users to analyse and share data 0.5 Open to all IC staff and PGR students Louise de Raad
Orkney College UHI GIS in Maritime Archaeology: The Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) Part III course 2 All divers and non-divers interested in maritime archaeology On Hold (Previous tutors have left the Institute)
Orkney College UHI Introduction to GIS (QGIS) 0.5 Short introduction for UGT and PG students  
Orkney College UHI Digital Heritage, part of Introduction to Archaeology Evening Classes 0.5 Members of the public, evening class course Jen Harland/Crane Begg
SAMS No training courses offered, extensive use in commercial contracts      

GIS modules within existing courses:

SCQF levelUnit / Module nameSoftware usedUnit / Module LeaderPart of what programme?
8 Introduction to GIS QGIS Margaret Carlisle BSc Environmental Science, but also several students from other disciplines (Archaeology, Social work)
8 Digital Heritage QGIS, ArcMap Jen Harland/Crane Begg BA Hons Archaeology, BSc Archaeological Science and all joint Archaeology Degrees
9 Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing ArcGIS Online, ArcMap, ArcCatalog Margaret Carlisle BSc Geography
11 Digital Analysis in Archaeology QGIS, ArcMap Rebecca Rennell Mlitt in Archaeological Studies
12 Individual PGR training QGIS, R Mike Burrows  
9 Introduction to GIS / Scottish School of Forestry ArcGIS Joachim Boehm HND Forestry and BSc Forest Management
Additional resources content

Additional resources

Additional resources is an encyclopedia dedicated to geographic information systems. This repository incorporates contributions from the GIS community for the benefit of GIS professionals, students, and anyone with an interest in GIS software. The wiki contains informative articles about GIS concepts, new technologies, products, people, and organizations.


Keep up-to-date on the latest GIS software news and trends.

Free E-books

A large library of free e-books can help you learn more about GIS.

Essays on Geography and GIS