thinkWhere is bringing its extensive knowledge of geographic information systems (GIS) and services to the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

Having worked with organisations such as the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, Ofgem and EuroGeographics (the membership association for the European National Mapping, Cadastre and Land Registry Authorities), the Stirling-based tech company is providing training courses on open source GIS to support pioneering research by UHI.

Over 69 percent of research submitted by UHI for independent review achieves the two highest grades – internationally excellent and world leading.  Projects are assessed from the fields of Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology and Area Studies. Students from these, and other disciplines, have already received training from thinkWhere with further courses booked later this year.

“Graduate students identify specific training needs as part of their analysis and progress monitoring,” commented Val Cooper, Graduate School Training Officer.

“If these needs cannot be met internally, by colleagues or university staff, then we look to the commercial sector for help. Having shortlisted thinkWhere as a possible provider of training courses, their flexible approach, delivery mechanisms and value for money made them an obvious service partner.”

Working alongside staff from the UHI Graduate Office, thinkWhere has already delivered a number of courses both onsite at UHI campus locations and at its dedicated training facility in Stirling. Courses delivered have included QGIS Beginner, Advanced and Fast Track, QField for QGIS as well as PostGIS User and Administrator. QGIS is the free, open source cross-platform desktop GIS, and PostGIS is the open source software that adds support for geographical objects to PostgreSQL databases.

Feedback from UHI training delegates on the thinkWhere courses attended has included:

  • “A very good trainer; keen, knowledgeable and likeable making the whole session enjoyable”
  • “The trainer was able to provide insight into real world projects and therefore the wider capabilities of GIS making the session both interesting and valuable” and
  • “This was the best training I have received in my university career, probably in any employment I have been in!”.    

Based in Inverness, UHI is the only university in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, and with over 50 learning centres UHI covers an area that exceeds that of Belgium. Given the geographical challenges of reaching such a dispersed population, UHI has become a world leader in online learning and virtual classroom technology.

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