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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
SummaryGrowing utilisation of spatial information in the commercial and governmental domains is moving GIScience outside its longer-established and more traditional roles in cartography, facilities management etc. This course introduces participants to different types of corporate structure and to the use of GISystems and GIScience in business, government and third-sector organisations.

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 Data, open data, open source software, legal frameworks and opportunities for company formation 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? Does it have to be a company? How to set up a company? Fundamentals of Business Geographics: Space and Time. Atomic and aggregate analysis. Data, Software, Consultancy.

2. Data and projects: Census. BARB/ISBA. Postal Geography. Administrative Geography. Profiling. Market Research. Target Group Index. Business mapping. Walk-through of past, relevant projects.

3. Software and development: Databases, Systems and Software development. CenSys bespoke mapping and profiling system. Software design methodologies. Walk through of past, relevant software development projects.

4. GIS in Business: Ethics and professionalism. Client confidentiality. Data and process value. Products or services?
Example applications / use cases: Who is using GIS? Maps everywhere. Future employability.

5. Issues of the moment and future opportunities: Desktop, Web and Mobile applications. Spatial SQL. Open Data. Open Source software. Virtualisation. Big Data. Social Media. Sensor data. Software/Platform as a Service. Cloud computing.
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 2019/20, 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 (30%)
Due Monday week 3

Software development project plan and presentation: Geodemographic/GIS analysis system (30%)
Due Monday week 4

Practical Exercise Social Media Data Analysis Exercise (40%)
Due Friday week 6

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

Church, R. L., & Murray, A. T. (2009). Business site selection, location analysis, and GIS. Wiley Online Library.

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

Dommett, K., & Temple, L. (2018). Digital Campaigning: The Rise of Facebook and Satellite Campaigns. Parliamentary Affairs, 71(suppl_1), 189¿202.

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

Drakonakis, K., Ilia, P., Ioannidis, S., & Polakis, J. (2019). Please Forget Where I Was Last Summer: The Privacy Risks of Public Location (Meta)Data. ArXiv. Retrieved from

Fuchs, C. (2017). Social Media: A Critical Introduction (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications. Retrieved from

George Washington University Libraries. (2016). Social Feed Manager. Zenodo. Retrieved from

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

Jones, B. (2014). Communicating Data with Tableau. " O'Reilly Media, Inc.".

Koopman, C. (2019). Information before information theory: The politics of data beyond the perspective of communication. New Media & Society, 146144481882030.

Leventhal, B. (2016). Geodemographics for marketers: Using location analysis for research and marketing. Kogan Page Publishers.

Longley, P. A., & Clarke, G. (1995). GIS for Business and Service Planning. Wiley.

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

Muhammad, S. S., Dey, B. L., & Weerakkody, V. (2018). Analysis of Factors that Influence Customers¿ Willingness to Leave Big Data Digital Footprints on Social Media: A Systematic Review of
Literature. Information Systems Frontiers, 20(3), 559¿576.

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

Scott, J., 2013. Social network analysis Third., Los Angeles, Calif. ; London: SAGE.

Tufekci, Z. (2014). Big Questions for Social Media Big Data: Representativeness, Validity and Other Methodological Pitfalls. ICWSM ¿14: Proceedings of the 8th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, 505¿514. Retrieved from

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

Webber, R., 2008. Geodemographics, London: Henry Stewart Talks.

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

Wyly, E. (2014). The new quantitative revolution. Dialogues in Human Geography, 4(1), 26¿38.
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 secretaryMs Heather Penman
Tel: (0131 6)50
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