UBDC Summer Training 2017: ”Beyond Excel”: PostgreSQL for Data Management

Tuesday 29 August 2017
13:30 – 16:30 BST
Jura Teaching Lab, Level 4 Annexe, University of Glasgow Library, Hillhead Street, Glasgow G12 8QE

This course is aimed at users working with larger datasets that would be difficult to analyse using spreadsheet applications such as Excel.

PostgreSQL is a powerful, open source object-relational database system. It has more than 15 years of active development and a proven architecture that has earned it a strong reputation for reliability, data integrity, and correctness. It runs on all major operating systems, including Linux, UNIX (including macOS), and Windows. It can handle very large datasets with hundreds of millions of rows and individual tables up to 32TB in size.

Throughout the course of the afternoon, you will learn how to perform fundamental database operations using PostgreSQL such as data loading, linkage, queries and creating a variety of outputs. The course will demonstrate these techniques by allowing participants to use a variety of example datasets from UBDC's open data collection. These data may include: aggregate health data from ISD, Scottish Census geographic data (output areas, datazones, LSOA), SIMD and other Scottish Government open data and Strava.

Course instructor

Rod Walpole, UBDC, University of Glasgow.

Course duration

Half day (Tuesday 29th August 2017, 1:30pm – 4:30pm)

Course location

Jura teaching lab, Level 4 Annexe, Glasgow University Library


Social scientists, students and practitioners - anyone with responsibility for producing and managing datasets.


  • £25 - For UK registered students
  • £35 - For staff at UK academic institutions, Research Council UK funded researchers, UK public sector staff and staff at UK registered charity organisations
  • £50 - For all other participants

Pre-requisite knowledge

This course continues of from our morning course Getting started with Data Management that can be registered for separately. We would recommend a knowledge of the fundamental data principles covered in this course.

Course content

Course participants will be introduced to the following:

  • Overview of PostgreSQL and database technology
  • Creating a database
  • An introduction to database objects (tables, indexes, constraints, views, functions) and schemas
  • Common data types
  • Creating database tables and loading data
  • Querying the data
  • Visualising / exporting the results
  • Using PostgreSQL with other technologies (QGIS, R, LibreOffice)