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

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Autumn Term 5 15 (7.5) Joseph Tzanopoulos checkmark-circle


The overall aim of this module is to provide students with an outline of the principals of Spatial Analysis and to introduce a range of methods for collection and analysis of spatial data. Particular attention is paid to the development of students' 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 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 the student with marketable skills relevant to research and commercial needs. Topics will include:
• understanding the major concepts in Spatial Analysis;
• introduction to the principles of 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 ArcGIS Pro which is the most widely used GIS system. Students 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 programs)
Optional for: BA Environmental Social Sciences, BSc Anthropology, BSc Biological Anthropology (and associated programs)

Also available as an elective module.

Method of assessment

Practical Report 20%
Group Project 20%
Individual Report 60

Reassessment methods:
Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Bernhardsen, T. (2002) Geographic Information Systems: an Introduction, 3rd ed. John Wiley &
Sons, New York.
Bernhardsen, T. (2002) Geographic Information Systems: an Introduction, 3rd ed. John Wiley &
Sons, New York.
Burrough, P. A. and McDonnell, R. A. (2015) Principles of Geographical Information Systems, 3rd
edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Campbell, J. B. (2011) Introduction to Remote Sensing, 5th edition. Guilford Press, New York
Chang, K.T. (2019) Introduction to Geographic Information Systems. 9th edition. McGraw-Hill, New
Gorr, W.L. & Kurland, K.S. (2020). GIS Tutorial for ArcGIS Pro 2.6 (GIS Tutorials). 3rd edition. ESRI
Heywood, I., Cornelius, S., and Carver, S. (2011). An introduction to Geographical Information
Systems. 4th edition. Pearson, Harlow.
Jensen, J.R. & Jensen, R.R. (2012). Introductory geographic information systems. Upper Saddle
River, Pearson Education
Law, M. & Collins, A. (2019). Getting to Know ArcGIS Pro, 2nd edition. Publisher: ESRI Press
Lillesand, T. M. , Kiefer R. W. and Chipman J. W. (2015) Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation,
7th edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
Longley, P. (2015). Geographical Information science & systems. 4th edition. New York, Wiley.
Shekhar, S., Xiong, H., Zhou, X. (2015). Encyclopaedia of GIS. Imprint: Springer (e-book)
Tripp Corbin GISP (2020). Learning ArcGIS Pro, 2nd edition. Publisher Packt
Webster R. and Oliver M. (2007) Geostatistics for environmental scientists. 2nd edition Chichester,
Wiley. E-book

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Demonstrate knowledge of the generic concepts of spatial analysis and an understanding of the application of GIS and remote sensing in geography, environmental sciences, biodiversity conservation and other disciplines using real world examples
8.2 Apply knowledge of main concepts of spatial analysis to solve practical problems in geography, environmental sciences, wildlife conservation and other disciplines
8.3 Understand the main principals underlying the analysis of spatial data and remote sensing data
8.4 Gain practical knowledge of the main GIS analytical techniques and how to use them to generate maps and analyse and describe spatial data


  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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