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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Business Geographics (PGGE11210)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course aims to introduce students to the organisation of corporate structures and the use of GIS in business. Growing utilisation of ┐locational┐ analysis in different types of organisation is moving GIScience outside its longer-established and more traditional roles in cartography and facilities management. This course will introduce participants to different types of corporate structure and the sorts of impacts that GIS Experts can have in business, government or the third-sector.

We examine the purpose and structure of companies, internal/external service provider models, business ethics, processes and professionalism, GIS consultancy and the role of the adviser. The course concludes with a discussion of current issues surrounding big/open data, open software, legal frameworks and opportunities for company building and growth.

The Business Geographics course comprises these core activities:

A series of lectures and workshops on key topics.
Role-playing exercises and writing designed to hone professionally relevant skills.
The AGI/EEO professional seminar series which students should attend.
Course description 1. The what, why and how of business: What is a company, how to set up a company. Finance and growth (organic vs capitalised). Legal issues, licensing, copyright, data restrictions, patents. Engaging with the Private Sector. APCT

2. GIS in Business. Worked examples of business geographics - projects undertaken in the late 1990s. Outdoor Advertising. Demographic Analysis. Project-based working vs productisation. APCT

3. Software development in GIS. Examples of bespoke development in the customisation of GIS software to meet specific business requirements. APCT

4. Business processes. Business etiquette, ethics and professionalism. Contracting, sub-contracting etc. Tendering, pricing and profitability. Client management (the good, the bad, the ugly/unprofitable). APCT

5. Issues of the moment and future opportunities, big data, obscure data, open software, software, what equipment do you need?
Societal issues / GIS and locational privacy. APCT
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  16
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Individual write-up Car Manufacturer Advertising Tender

Software development project plan and presentation Geodemographic/GIS analysis system

Practical Exercise Social Media Data Analysis Exercise

Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand typical UK private sector Company structures, ownership and governance characteristics and be able to set up a new business (Limited Company) or partnership (LLP) understanding rules and reporting responsibilities.
  2. Consider different models of shareholder ownership and professional responsibilities within business (and analogies within government/third-sector) through group work and to consider how and why ethics and professionalism are important whether as an internal or external GIS Expert or Consultant.
  3. Understand the value of different types of geographic information in various settings and consider ways to exploit its use and to be able to project plan a number of scenarios involving open source, public sector and other types of geographic information
  4. Encompass future possibilities for use/analysis of geographic information as it gets bigger, potentially more open and certainly more pervasive
  5. develop communication, management and interactive skills (including argument!) making use of alternate organisational structures, pricing models or service delivery.
Reading List
Bahir, E., & Peled, A. (2013). Identifying and Tracking Major Events Using Geo-Social Networks. Social Science Computer Review, 31(4), 458-470. doi:10.1177/0894439313483689

Boyd, D., & Crawford, K. (2012). Critical Questions for Big Data. Information, Communication & Society, 15(5), 662-679. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2012.678878

Companies House. (2013). Incorporation and names. Retrieved from

Cottrill, C. D. (2011). Location Privacy: Who Protects? URISA Journal-Urban and Regional ..., 23(2), 49-59. Retrieved from

Crampton, J. W., Graham, M., Poorthuis, A., Shelton, T., Wilson, M. W., & Zook, M. (2013). Beyond the geotag: situating 'big data' and leveraging the potential of the geoweb. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 40(2), 130-139. doi:10.1080/15230406.2013.777137

Credit Suisse. (2013). Big Data Taking a quantum leap. Retrieved from

De Souza e Silva, A. (2013). Location-aware mobile technologies: Historical, social and spatial approaches. Mobile Media & Communication, 1(1), 116-121. doi:10.1177/2050157912459492

Douglas, B. (2008). Achieving Business Success with GIS.
Chichester, England: Wiley.

Haklay, M. (Muki). (2013). Neogeography and the delusion of democratisation. Environment and Planning A, 45(1), 55-69. doi:10.1068/a45184

JISC. (2012). The Value and Benefit of Text Mining to UK Further and Higher Education. Digital Infrastructure. Retrieved from

Manyika, J., Chui, M., Brown, B., Bughin, J., Dobbs, R., Roxburgh, C., & Hung Byers, A. (2011). Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. Retrieved from

McKee, H. A. (2011). Policy Matters Now and in the Future: Net Neutrality, Corporate Data Mining, and Government Surveillance. Computers and Composition, 28(4), 276-291. doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2011.09.001

Public Accounts Committee. (2008). Report on Use of Consultants. Belfast: Information Office, Northern Ireland Assembly, Retrieved from

Rogers, R. (2012). Mapping and the Politics of Web Space. Theory, Culture & Society, 29(4-5), 193-219. doi:10.1177/0263276412450926

Warf, B., & Sui, D. (2010). From GIS to neogeography: ontological implications and theories of truth. Annals of GIS, 16(4), 197-209. doi:10.1080/19475683.2010.539985

Wilken, R. (2012). Locative media: From specialized preoccupation to mainstream fascination. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, 18(3), 243-247. doi:10.1177/1354856512444375
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsBusiness processes,finance,tendering,contracts,professionalism,business ethics,consultancy,la
Course organiserMr Bruce Gittings
Tel: (0131 6)50 2558
Course secretaryMrs Karolina Galera
Tel: (0131 6)50 2572
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