A hands-on introduction to databases and geodatabases

A two-sections foundation course with examples in MySql, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, Oracle XE and ArcGIS/MsAccess for the design and development of Relational (I) and Spatial Databases (II)

Brochure (333 Kb) Registration module (132 Kb)

Data acquisition is critical for any decision-making processes. Effective data management is the key to maintain data value and data consistency over time, and it is an essential requirement in designing and administering successful information systems and applications. Improper practice in data management generally results in information and economic loss, leading to erroneous decisions as well as risks for human life in mission-critical applications.
Text files, spreadsheets and binary files, in specialized domains, are widely used for storing digital data. Storing data in separate files can be quick and easy but represents a problem when an application has to be scaled up, involving more data users and longer project life time. A more structured approach in data management must be adopted, the database approach.
A first section, following a brief introduction to current standards in textual data encoding, transfer and rules-binding (XML, DTDs and XML Schema), key technologies for the developments in Web 2.0 and Semantic Web, addresses comprehensively the issues mentioned above by introducing theory, design and implementation of relational database systems.
After introducing the fundamentals of Web RDBMSs (Relational DataBase Management Systems), namely MySql (and WAMP) and PostgreSQL/PostGIS from Open Source community and free industry standard Oracle XE, the course adopts a hands-on approach addressing design, development and deployment requirements of two sample database standards by providing examples (and data) from business management and environmental monitoring information systems,. The databases creation will provide the opportunity to review basic and advanced concepts from a practical perspective, including an in-depth analysis of SQL, the standard foundation language to build and query relational database.
Diagram Entity Relation A second section covers advanced topics in spatial databases (or geodatabases), building on previous body-of-knowledge and addressing issues in design, development and deployment data management in geographical applications. Provided a general overview of spatial databases, different approaches are investigated and critically reviewed from a technical and economical perspective, including elementary approaches based on native data types addressing simple point geometry, geographic data types in PostGIS, Oracle XE and ESRI geodatabase model. The course includes a brief introduction to and critical review of open-source and proprietary (web) database front-end solutions, namely uDig, QuantumGIS, OpenJump and ESRI ArcGIS, further to basic concepts in designing and development bespoke web mapping mashup solutions.


Disclaimer: Please be aware that the course is intended as a foundation course on theory and practice in RDBMS and geodatabase design, development and deployment, in order to build a consistent body-of-knowledge and awareness about key database issues, rather than a fully-featured introduction to any (geo)database platform. However, worked hands-on examples, course material and adopted textbooks are intended to provide a relevant gateway to specific platforms, supporting participants in their pathway toward development of professional and robust applications.



SECTION I – Relational databases

Provided an introduction to fundamentals in data management and relational database management systems design and development, introduction to and installation of RDBMS platforms MySql, PostgreSQL/PostGIS and Oracle XE, sample case studies review, the first part of the course will focus on RDBMS theory, SQL and non-geographic applications development.

Data management and database approach

RDBMS platforms and course sample case studies

Desktop single-user database management systems (i.e. MsAccess): potentials and limitations. Fundamentals in web database management systems, client-server architecture, HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol). Introduction to and installation of RDBMS software platforms, from Open Source community and from industry:

Overview of the two course sample case studies: factory business data and environmental monitoring data management. Identification of initial entities and relationships, EAR (Entity Attribute Relationship) diagrams, normalisation.

Relational database model foundations and SQL


SECTION II – Spatial databases

Geographic data management and geodatabase approach

Geographic database platforms

Review and critical assessment of different solutions, other than simple point geometries management in native SQL data types:






Geographic database front-end applications

Applications addressing geographic visualization requirements of course sample case databases: hands-on review of different options in geographically enabling the environmental monitoring geodatabase by storing point coordinates through:

Introduction to and critical review of open-source and commercially available single user and web database front-end solutions, namely uDig, QuantumGIS, OpenJump and ESRI ArcGIS, further to basic concepts in designing and development bespoke web mapping mashup solutions, extensively addressed by the “Google Maps Mashups” course.


GIScience project

The course is part of a wider learning project in GIScience and GIS, applications and geographic mashup development, environmental applications. Supported by high-level professional and academic profiles, the project includes following courses:

Following a complex and coherent learning path, after traditional part-time and distance learning philosophy, the course has been based, since its first edition in 2003, on both formal classes and self-learning periods, making course accessibility easier and learning objectives realistic


WAMP/MySQL, PostgreSQL/PostGIS, Oracle XE, ArcGIS/MsAccess, uDig, QuantumGIS, OpenJump


Who is it for?

The course is targeted to professional working in the public sector and young researchers that are interested in the foundations of database theory andin the practical issues related to efficient data management and database design and development using commercial and open source platforms
The course is structured in two sections. A first module covers the foundations of database deisgn and development, with a focus on SQL and front end web applications. The second module more advance topics geodatabase theory and focus on geodatabase management for dynamic web mapping applications and WebGIS.

Location & dates

The course will take place at the Environmental Education Centre Casa Archilei , located in Fano (PU) and easily accessible from major transport links. The course will have a duration of 40 hours, with 8 hours lesson. The course will have a duration of 48 hours, with 8 hours lesson on 8-9-22-23 may and 12-13 june 2015

Registration and payment options

Course fees are 1350 € + VAT (22%), to be paid in a unique installment before starting date. Fees are reduced to 1250 € + VAT (21%) for participants with their own notebook.

Fees reduction

Registration before March 31 th, 2015

GIScience Alumni

Students regularly enrolled in degree, post-degree and Phd courses at italian or foreign universities at the moment of registration Education Institutions, public and private companies enrolling more than one person











Registration modules is available for download in PDF format or they can be requested at info@giscience.it


At the end of the course, participants attending at least 70% of the lessons will be awarded a Completion certificate.

Didactic Material

The course adopts the following textbook, included in registration fees:

Basic Web references








ESRI geodatabase models - general

ESRI geodatabase models - templates

Further recommended references Books preview available at Google Books


For further information, please refer to info@giscience.it Email address or refer to contact references at Contacts section of web site www.giscience.it .

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Ultimo aggiornamento 20/10/2012