GV2GIS-Geographical Information Systems

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Geoffrey Griffiths

Email: g.h.griffiths@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

The module introduces students to the principles, techniques and applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Following an introductory lecture the focus is 'hands-on' , based on a series of practical sesssions to introduce students to the basic principles of GIS including:  data structure; coordinate systems and georeferencing; spatial databases; data entry and digitising; spatial  analysis and map composition.   In the first half of term  students work though a directed project, follwed in the second half of term by the choice of a number of self-directed topics.The approach is 'hands-on' allowing students to explore digital map data from a range of sources for a wide range of applications in human and physical geography.


The aim of the module is to teach the principles and applications of GIS (ArcGIS), providing students with the technical skills and unnderstanding to analyse spatial data from a wide range of sources across different applications. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of this module it is expected that a student will be able to:  understand the principles of map design including projection and coordinate systems, graticules and grids, scale and resolution & symbology;  identify and download digital map information (topographic, geology, soils, land cover, population census etc) from the Ordnance Survey (Edina Digimap) and other sources;  undertake the analysis of different types of spatial data (raster & vector) within a GIS; produce maps of catrographic quality with appropriate symbology for a range of applications. 

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

The first half of the term is a practical to  introduce students to the potential of GIS for the production of maps of high cartographic quality based on the Whiteknights campus.  The practical will introduce students to the  fundamentals of GIS including: data sources and data input; data display and 'on-screen' digitising; coordinate systems; spatial analysis and map composition. In the remaining practical sessions during the second half of the term students select an individual topic and, using the skills already acquired, complete and write-up a technical report for submission. The choice of topics vary but recent examples include: planning for new housing; siting wind farms; impacts of flooding; indices of social and economic deprivation. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The approach is practical and 'hands-on' with most of the teaching and learning taking place in computer labs. Students will be taught to download the relevant GIS software onto their own laptops and will be encouraged to consolidate techniques learnt during practical sessions in their own time.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 2
Practicals classes and workshops 18
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 60
Set exercise 40

Other information on summative assessment:

The first assignment (40%) will involve an element of fieldwork on Whiteknights campus to collect data followed by practical sessions to process the data and submit as part of a set practical exercise. The second assignment (60%) will involve students selecting a topic on the application of GIS for environmental assessment/planning and writing-up as a technical report

Formative assessment methods:
Students may be expected to undertake and submit formative assignments on specific technical topics related to learning complex software.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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