Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Principles and Methods - GEOG5004

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Autumn Term 5 15 (7.5) Joseph Tzanopoulos checkmark-circle


The overall aim of this module is to provide you with an outline of the principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and to introduce a range of methods for collection and analysis of spatial data. Particular attention is paid to developing your analysis skills through the use of remote sensing techniques and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS are increasingly being used in many disciplines, including geography, wildlife conservation, animal behaviour and environmental sciences to help solve a wide range of "real world" problems. As the current trend in these disciplines moves towards the acquisition, manipulation and analysis of large datasets with explicit geographic reference, employers often report shortages of relevant GIS skills to handle spatial data. Thus, this module will introduce the use of GIS as a means of solving spatial problems and the potential of GIS and remote sensing techniques for geography, environmental sciences and wildlife conservation, providing you with marketable skills relevant to research and commercial needs.

Topics will include:
• understanding the major concepts in GIS
• introduction to remote sensing
• data structures in GIS
• data sources and methods of data acquisition
• georeferencing, co-ordinate systems and projections
• working with raster and vector data
• mapping (how to create and transform maps)
• overview of ArcGIS Pro
• GIS operations
• manipulation, spatial data query and analysis of a wide range of geographic, environmental and socio-economic information.

These topics will be taught using a combination of lectures and practicals. The practical classes will provide hands-on experience using a GIS software. You will be able to use knowledge and skills acquired in this module in practical project work.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 24
Private study hours: 126
Total study hours: 150


Compulsory for:
•BSc Wildlife Conservation
•BSc Human Geography (and associated programmes)

Optional for:
•BA Environmental Social Sciences
•BSc Anthropology, BSc Biological Anthropology (and associated programmes)

Also available as an elective module.

Method of assessment

Practical report 20%
Group project 20%
Individual report 60

Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework (1500 words)

Indicative reading

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages (

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module you will:
1. Be able to demonstrate knowledge of the generic concepts of GIS and an understanding of the application of GIS and remote sensing in geography, environmental sciences, biodiversity conservation and other disciplines using real world examples
2. Be able to apply your knowledge of the main concepts of GIS to solve practical problems in geography, environmental sciences, wildlife conservation and other disciplines
3. Understand the main principles underlying the analysis of spatial data and remote sensing data
4. Have gained practical knowledge of the main GIS analytical techniques and how to use them to generate maps and analyse and describe spatial data
5. Understand GIS and remote sensing outcomes and write reports on GIS mapping and analysis.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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