British Columbia Institute of

Important Notice: COVID-19 Institute response


GIST 7160 - GIS Databases & Big Data

Geographic Information Systems Part-time Studies Course

School of Construction and the Environment

BCIT is planning for a substantial return to on-campus activity for the fall 2021 term as informed by BC Public Health Officer guidelines. Refer to each course listing for details.

Course Details

This course is an introduction to database systems, geodatabases and Big Data. Topics will include database, GIS, and cloud computing services terminology. Database systems will be compared, and ESRI’s enterprise geodatabase and ArcGIS Online cloud capabilities will be examined. Data modelling (conceptual, logical and physical models), advanced spatial data structures, spatial SQL and international metadata standards will be covered. Data discovery, Open Data (e.g., OpenStreetMap) and RESTful Big GeoData services will be discussed. The use of Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) tools such as Safe Software’s Feature Manipulation Engine (FME) will also be demonstrated. The students will each develop their own geodatabase for one of five application areas: regional transit and commuting; regional weather and natural hazard emergency management; municipal infrastructure management; retail, logistics and eCommerce; or public health. Finally, this course provides a basic introduction to what Big Data is, how these datasets can be imported into a geodatabase, and how they can be visualized using ArcGIS Pro (desktop) and ArcGIS Online (cloud). This is a rapidly-changing field with high levels of innovation.


GIST 7100 and GIST 7128





Winter 2022

Below is one offering of this course for the Winter 2022 term.

CRN 87522

Thu Jan 13 - Thu Mar 31 12 Weeks

Class Meeting Times

Dates Days Times Locations
Jan 13 - Mar 31 Online


William Johnstone

Course Outline

TBD – see Learning Outcomes in the interim




  1. Internet delivery format.
  2. Departmental approval needed
  3. **IMPORTANT: The final exam must be written at an approved Exam Centre only. Details will be emailed to you after registering for the course or visit for information. Students should be accepted into the GIS program and completed the prerequisites prior to registration of this course. To receive approval, please email your BCIT Student ID to . For more information about online courses at BCIT, please visit: Students must check your e-mail account for start-up instructions sent upon registration of this course. To be successful in our online courses, plan to spend 4-6 hours per course each week on your studies, starting Week 1. Our courses are highly interactive with participation requirements weekly. Most of our online learning courses require a textbook. You can search for your course textbook at : If no textbook is listed, course material will be provided via e-mail.
  4. Important course information will be sent to you prior to your course start date. Check your myBCIT email account to access this information.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Distinguish between and give examples of data concepts such as: spatial vs attribute data, structured vs semi-structured vs unstructured data, and regular data vs metadata.
  • Distinguish between and give examples of DBMS models: RDBMS, OODBMS, ORDBMS, GIS, and Spatial DBMS.
  • Distinguish between and give examples of basic and advanced spatial data structures.
  • Describe the architecture of a modern enterprise spatial DBMS.
  • Describe the essential characteristics of Big Data and web (cloud) services
  • Describe how to scope and design a Big Data geodatabase for an application area.
  • Download and import cloud-based Open Data and Big GeoData into your own geodatabase.
  • Implement spatial databases using GIS desktop tools including ArcGIS Pro, and cloud data tools such as ArcGIS Online.
  • Develop visualizations of Big GeoData datasets using ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Insights.

Effective as of Fall 2020

Related Programs

GIST 7160 is offered as a part of the following programs:

School of Construction and the Environment

  1. Geographic Information Systems
    Part-time/Distance & Online Learning   Advanced Certificate


Interested in being notified about future offerings of GIST 7160 - GIS Databases & Big Data? If so, fill out the information below and we'll notify you by email when courses for each new term are displayed here.

Privacy Notice: The information you provide will be used to respond your request related to BCIT course information and is collected under Section 26(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). For more information about BCIT’s privacy practices contact: Associate Director, Privacy, Information Access & Policy Management, British Columbia Institute of Technology, 3700 Willingdon Ave. Burnaby, BC V5A 3H2, email:

Programs and courses are subject to change without notice.

Find Courses

English Language Proficiency

BCIT's Part-time Studies English Language Proficiency Standard is English 12 (or equivalency). Students who do not meet this requirement should upgrade their English skills prior to any future registration.

Payment Changes At BCIT

We've changed the way we accept payments.

Find out more

Course Navigation, Related Links & Tools

Registration News

Registration is now open for the Winter 2022 term.

Classroom Locations

Classroom locations are subject to last minute changes. Please check the Part-time Studies Classroom Locations listing at on the first day of any course you are registered for.

Part-time Studies Financial Aid

Will you be studying at BCIT part-time? Do you need assistance funding your studies? Find out if you qualify for Part-time Studies financial aid.