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Mapping our World


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Dr Roberto Murcio
  • Assessment: a 3000-word piece of coursework (100%)

Module description

In this module we introduce you to spatial thinking, as well as to the digital representation of geographical phenomena.

Geographic Information Science (GISc) refers to the theory, practice and effective use of geo-informatic technologies such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for the description, explanation and prediction of spatial patterns and processes. We aim to lay the groundwork in GISc so the module is ideal if you wish to gain introductory theoretical knowledge as well as practical skills in GIS.

The module consists of five topics, each of which is delivered in two sessions:

  • a lecture on principle and theory of the topic
  • a lab session to gain practical skills in GIS. The topics cover the essential concepts in GIS such as geo-referencing systems, spatial data models, and the foundation for map production and geo-visualisation.

We will use a specialist GIS software package, ArcGIS, which we can provide free for one year, after which it expires. This gives you the opportunity to undertake a substantial part of the self-paced practical elements using a home computer with internet connection.

Indicative syllabus

  • Principles of spatial thinking and geo-literacy
  • Introduction to GIS as a support system for spatial thinking
  • Basic introduction to geographic data
  • Introduction to cartography and map production

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • apply basic spatial reasoning to geographical problems
  • interpret cartographic representations of geographic phenomena
  • handle spatial data with a contemporary GIS package at basic level
  • produce simple maps of geographic phenomena
  • demonstrate initial skills in managing time for study and successfully completing tasks to deadlines.