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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Principles of Geographical Information Science (GEGR10039)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides an essential background for students with limited knowledge of Geographic Information Science and as a foundation for other courses. The module begins by tracing the origins and recent rapid development of GIS and outlines linkages with other related technologies. Principles covered include co-ordinate reference systems, map projections and the different models that GIS employ to represent real-world entities. Also considered are the effects that these models and the analytical functionality of systems have on the information that can be derived. Vector and raster data models are explained and there is an introduction to representing and analysing 3D, terrain data. Various case studies are used to highlight various types of analysis typically performed using GIS. Basic elements of graphic design and communication are reviewed to ensure that output from GIS is comprehensible and effective. The module concludes by addressing the wider social and economic factors that influence the success or failure of GIS in an institution.
Course description Wk1: GIS and Geography -systems and science, computer based problem solving, the development of GI science, its impact on the geographic discipline.
Wk2: Representing geographical data via Data Models
Wk3: Spatial Analysis and Geographic Decision Making
Wk 4: A primer on Map Design
Wk 5: Data Capture Technologies and Data Quality
Wk 6: No Lecture (Kindrogan fieldcourse)
Wk 7: Surface Modelling and analysis of Digital Elevation Models
Wk 8: Exploring the role of Remote Sensing in monitoring at the global scale
Wk 9: Participatory GIS
Wk 10: Exploration of socio-technical issues through case studies
Wk 11: Revision Future Developments and Course Review

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Environmental Sensitivity and Change (GEGR08001) AND Economic and Political Geography (GEGR08003)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  27
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 170 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Class assessment: Non Assessed Essay 1500 words
Non Assessed Design Document, Set in Week 2, discussed in tutorials in week 3.

Degree assessment: One two-hour examination (2 questions) 60%; One computer-based GIS project (2000 words) 40%

Overall mark for the course (ie degree coursework and examinations) of at least 40 to pass
Feedback An essay is set early in the course as a means of providing formative feedback on the comprehension of ideas. This non assessed essay encourages students to learn about GIS through discussion of case studies. 'TopHat' interactive question answering will be used to gauge student comprehension during the lecture.
The course organiser is available via e-mail and office hours. Tutorial are used to explore levels of understanding, and in supporting comprehension of the requirements for the class assignment.
Summative feedback is given on the Biofuels project, and on exam answers in the semester following.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Principles of Geographical Information Science2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand the components and a range of the methods which make up geographical information systems and the field of geographical information science
  2. display knowledge of the multifarious data sources commonly used in GIS, and critically understand the importance of data modelling in the storage of such data
  3. appreciate the functionality of the ArcGIS software, including basic expertise in anlysis, classification, query and integration of vector and raster data and its visualisation
  4. apply appropriate cartographic principles in the construction of maps (including an appreciation of map projections)
  5. develop an integrated practical project, drawing on appropriate source data, providing meaningful analysis, effective visualisation of output and drawing appropriate conclusions which demonstrate professional level insight
Reading List
Heywood I, Cornelius S, Carver S 2011 An Introduction to Geographical Information Systems 4th Edition.

Schmadt, M. GIS Commons: An Introductory textbook on Geographic Information Systems

Bolstad, P. Chapter 1: An Introduction to GIS, GIS Fundamentals 4th Edition

de Smith, M Goodchild M F Longley PA 2015 Geospatial Analysis A Comprehensive Guide to Principles Techniques and Software tools. This edition

Burrough P A, McDonnell R A & Lloyd CD (2015) Princoples of Geographical Information Systems for Land resource Assessment. Oxford: Clarendon. Third Edition

Longley PA, Goodchild MF, Maguire DJ and Rhind D W (eds) (2010) Geographical Information Systems and Science. Chichester: Wiley. 3rd Edition
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr William Mackaness
Tel: (0131 6)50 8163
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Mcallister
Tel: (0131 6)50 4917
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