Foundation degrees

Course Information

Introduction to GIS for Natural Resource Management

Module summary

Module code: GEOG1033
Level: 7
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Pharm, Chemical and Envi Sci.
Module Coordinator(s): Meredith Williams



The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts and principal techniques used by Geographical Information Systems (GIS). GIS is a rapidly evolving discipline within environmental science, sustainable development, and natural resources management. This course combines theory and practical exercises in an environmental sciences and natural resources management context to help explain the basic requirements for creating and managing a GIS using a varied range of spatial data.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Describe and explain the spatial data requirements and basic concepts of Geographical Information Systems. Critique present and future developments in GIS technology and policies.
2 Critically appraise the science and technical issues underlying geographical information systems.
3 Perform spatial data capture, input and conversion procedures.
4 Manage, manipulate and analyse relevant spatial and non-spatial data.

Indicative content

• Introduction to GIS principles: components and functions.
• Introduction to spatial data concepts: raster and vector-based GIS and data structures.
• Spatial data sources: land records, census aggregates, digitised maps, satellite images and aerial photographs, digitised cross sections, etc.
• Spatial data acquisition, conversion and pre-processing.
• Data manipulations: attribute operations, area/distance calculations.
• Single layer analyses.
• Multiple layer analyses.
• Data output, effective visualisation techniques and digital map creation.
• Total quality management: measuring error, accuracy and precision, data and processing quality.
• Introduction to new technology within GIS industry.
• Geographic information management and associated policies.
• Current and future trends in the GIS industry.

Teaching and learning activity

Introductory lectures to explain theoretical principles and concepts are followed by computer based learning exercises to apply the theory into practice. The course will provide students opportunities to discuss current issues in geographical information industry with staff and students using schedules discussion session in the lectures.


Method of summative assessment: Mapping exercise
Outcomes assessed:2,3,4
Grading Mode (e.g. pass/ fail; %): %
Weighting % :30%
Passmark: 50%
Word Length: 2000
Outline Details:Students will source a dataset and generate either a habitat map or land cover map from this dataset. A short report will be produced reviewing the mapping process and critiquing the software and procedures used.

Method of summative assessment: Project
Outcomes assessed:1,2,3,4
Grading Mode (e.g. pass/ fail; %): %
Weighting % :70%
Passmark: 50%
Word Length: 2000
Outline Details:A GIS project involving a multi-criteria analysis based project will assess students on their practical skills learned during the course. The skills tested in this assessment will include spatial data capture and gathering, pre-processing, data quality and assurance and multi-criteria evaluation.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning: Computational software use.
Outline Details:In preparation for the two assessments students will carry out a series of at least 6 formative assignments using GI Software, to ensure familiarity with the basic principles of GIS, data quality issues, and software.