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Semester 1

Principles of Geographical Information Science (GEGR10137)







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Course Summary

This course provides an essential background for students with limited knowledge of Geographic Information Science and as a foundation for other courses. More broadly, the course seeks to develop student s transferable skills, to develop practical techniques in geographical information science, and to provide training in critical analysis and in written presentation combining results from quantitative analysis.

Course Description

Principles covered include co-ordinate reference systems, map projections and the different models that GIS employ to represent real-world entities through the use of both vector and raster modelling. 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. The lectures are complimented by a series of computer based practicals in which a series of hands on exercises enable students to gain first hand practical knowledge of how to use a GIS. There is a set of weekly tutorials associated with the course to support various learning outcomes. Collectively these activities are then used to complete a degree assessed GIS project. The course is assessed through 1) participation in tutorials, 2) essay assessments and quizzes, 3) a computer based exercise using GIS combined within a report that presents and critiques various outputs.No prior knowledge of GIS is expected or required for this course though it is expected that you have good levels of numeracy and a logical mind! A familiarity with spreadsheets is very useful. Engagement with the course text will be essential: Heywood DI, Cornelius S, Carver S 2011. An introduction to geographical information systems 4th ed (ebook or softback).Attendance at one of the weekly tutorials is compulsory. Participation in the tutorials will be graded and form part of the course assessment. There is no teaching in Week 6.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

Additional Assessment Information

1. Tutorials: Active participation and contributing to those discussions (10%)2. Short essay 1000 words (20%)Essay set week 2, due week 4. Question: Describe, using examples, how GIS can be used to help achieve one of the UN sustainability goals. Include critique that highlights strengths and limitations.3. Data modelling based on computer practicals (10%)Set in Week 3, Due in week 6. Building on computer practicals (Wk 1-5) and lecture materials, create a data model in order to answer the question: Describe (including a detailed data flow diagram) and justify, the spatial decision making associated with determining the optimal location for Elon Musk's Battery Factory in the UK. This 1000 word document would act as a 'template' for the decision making associated with the fourth piece of assessment.4. Cartographic Critique of a map of your own choosing. Set in Week 5, Due in Week 8 you are required to choose and critique a thematic map (not a pandemic/covid map). In 1000 words highlight strengths/ limitations/ and context of use (10%)5. Tranquillity Project (50%)Set in Week 5, Due in Week 11: This is a computer based exercise involves data integration and analysis to determine places of tranquillity in the Trossachs National Park. The project comprises a written element together with evidence of programming, and the presentation of cartographic outputs. The report should comprise 1500 words used to introduce the project, describe the data sources, the methodology, results, interpretation and limitations of approach. Tables, figures and key cartographic output would be in addition to the 1500 words. The report may include as appendices, any programming code and additional cartographic output, intermediate results and tables relevant to the answer.Degree assessment and deadlines:Contribution in the 4 tutorials across the whole semester (10%)Short essay 1000 words. Essay set week 2, due Week 4 (20%)Data modelling exercise. Set in Week 3, Due in Week 6 (10%)Cartographic Critique. Set in Week 5, Due in Week 8 (10%)Tranquillity Project. Set in Week 5, Due in Week 11 (50%)Overall mark for the course (ie degree coursework) of at least 40 to pass.

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