Abstract ITC, the Faculty of Geo–Information Science and Earth Observation of the University of Twente, is an institute that aims at capacity building and institutional development, specifically in developing countries. In our Geoinformatics curriculum, we emphasise two principles. The first addresses the systematics of purposeful spatial data production and uptake into computerised systems; the second addresses the methodical construction of these computerised systems, applying principles of model – driven architecture, formal specification and transformational design of SDI nodes. The term Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) usually denotes large, complex systems, but its principles can also be applied in simple and cost–effective ways. This approach we have called SDIlight and it is of particular interest to our students that come from developing countries. We work with and build a software stack consisting of free and open source components. To achieve interoperability, we emphasise the use of open standards from the Open Geospatial Consortium and others. In this paper, we explain how our students apply the SDIlight approach in the GeoinformaticsMaster degree course. An important part of that course is a Case Study Application Building & Programming, in which students apply their knowledge in a ‘real–world’ project, with a focus on geo–information engineering skills. We conclude with a section that evaluates the effectiveness of using the SDIlight concept in teaching our Geoinformatics Master, and on the more general applicability of the methodology.