GEOG 865
Cloud and Server GIS



It is an exciting time for Cloud GIS. There has been a huge upswing in interest in geospatial data, and the computing infrastructure to support the visualization and analysis of this data has been developed as well. While the infrastructure to support cloud GIS is now accessible to everyone, the exact forms it will actually take is still unknown.

The purpose of this course is twofold: first, to give you practice with using a variety of cloud GIS services, and second, to give you an understanding of what cloud computing is more broadly, and how it should and should not be applied in various GIS problem contexts.

You will be creating a variety of cloud GIS services during this course. Most of these will fall under the heading of server GIS. The platforms for this will include GIS infrastructure as a service, GIS platforms as a service, and GIS software as a service. These platforms will be defined in subsequent lessons, along with the five essential aspects of cloud computing.

By the time this course is over, you should feel comfortable setting up and using server GIS using cloud computing, and you should have an understanding of how cloud computing can help solve GIS problems.

cloud on blue sky with sunlit rays

Lesson Overview

The first lesson begins with a discussion of the definition of cloud computing followed by the use of the Amazon Web Services (EC2) to create your own cloud by starting and stopping a virtual machine. Finally, we have our first cloud computing discussion, on the overall topic of Cloud GIS.

    Lesson Objectives

    At the successful completion of this lesson you should be able to:

    • set up your Amazon account;
    • create an Amazon instance from an Amazon Machine Image. Start, stop, and log in to that instance.


    • Complete: L01: Assignment
    • Participate: L01 Discussion: Cloud Computing