Search our site
Search our site

GIS Transforming Geography and Environment

  • Module code: GG6140
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 6
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module has a twin focus on changes that have impacted on Geography and Environment over recent decades and how these have created opportunities for geographical and spatial investigation to address an expanding range of applications. Information technology, in particular GIS, is one of the major drivers of change and this module explores the application of GIS in a range of domains encompassing socio-demographic, economic, political, environmental, natural and anthropogenic hazard events. The module provides practical experience of using a broad spectrum of geospatial data and spatial analytic techniques in contexts related to ‘real world' problems and will articulate and develop authentic employability skills throughout the module curriculum content and through the assessments and feedback. Application areas may include, but are not limited to, area classification and geomarketing, crime mapping and geographical profiling, historical GIS, disease mapping, health care resourcing, environmental modelling and hazard mapping, mitigation and monitoring.

Aims

  • To develop a critical understanding of the impact of information technology and GIS on geography and environment and to review recent historical, current and potential future applications of GIS-based analysis in the workplace.
  • To study the characteristics of a range of geospatial data sources of relevance in the application of GIS to socio-demographic, environmental and hazard-related themes.
  • To develop practical, hands-on experience of applying geospatial data and spatial analytic techniques to problems involving people and/or hazards in a range of environments at different geographical scales from local to national.
  • To evaluate and apply a range of spatial analytical techniques involving spatial and non-spatial data using appropriate software. in relation to demographic, environmental and socio-economic topics.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:

  • Describe how the underpinning concepts of GIS and related geotechnologies can be harnessed to develop applications addressing 'real world' problems and highlighting the employment opportunities associated with the mastery of these skills;
  • Appraise the potential and limitations of GIS and related geotechnologies for transforming geography, environment and environmental hazards in different contexts;
  • Apply spatial analytic techniques to a range of geospatial data sources to answer contemporary and historical research questions;
  • Describe, model and interpret the uneven spatial distribution of geographic events such as crime, disease, deprivation, land cover, hazardous events and pollution.

Curriculum content

  • Data sources: examination and evaluation of socio-demographic and environmental geospatial data sources from British and international perspectives relating to relevant contemporary and historical thematic areas (e.g. population censuses, land use/cover, crimes, flood risk, disease, health and welfare, pollution, etc.).
  • Lifestyle and area classification: history, development and application of lifestyle and area descriptions produced by public and commercial sector organisations for marketing and research.
  • Analysis and applications: exploration of statistical techniques and their use with socio-demographic and environmental geospatial data.
  • Visualisation and interpretation: techniques for interpreting and communicating the results of GIS-based research with a view to informing policy and practice.
  • GIS-based applications: examination and spatial analysis of thematic case studies in a range of domains and arenas including resource management, hazard mitigation, welfare and social justice, people-environment interaction, environmental and spatial planning, etc.

Teaching and learning strategy

This module is delivered through a series of lectures and ICT-based practical sessions: the lectures introduce key topics and students are guided to pursue these through additional reading and independent study. The ICT-based practical sessions allow students to learn and apply a range of analytical techniques at their own pace. Students develop their own independent project, which is related to the thematic content of the lectures and the skills acquired during the ICT-based practical sessions, for the purposes of assessment. Tutorials will provide pre-assessment briefings and post-assessment feedback. Students will be tutored in the production of an audio podcast for assessment B.

GIS-based skills are important employment skills for geography and environment students. This module has embedded a range of employability skills within the teaching and learning strategy. These include specific GIS skills, but more broadly develop the students' portfolio of digital literacy skills, developed incrementally from GG4010 Digital Earth and Spatial Analysis and GG5155 Cartography, Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis. More widely, the module highlights skills including teamwork and problem solving, time and project management, and written, oral and graphical communication (eg. cartography).

Canvas VLE will be used to support all aspects of learning and teaching, providing a platform for articulating the module syllabus, assessment and feedback, archiving module-related resources (eg. specific reading materials) and a digital discussion platform.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Lecture Tutorial Practical 17 3 42
Guided independent study 238
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Summative assessment is through:

(A) A short precis (report) of a 'real world' use of GIS, delivered in class and submitted online (10%, 1000 words).

(B) An audio podcast demonstrating critical understanding of the merits and limitations of applying GIS and related geotechnologies (30%, 10 minutes).

(C) A coursework 'capstone' project report relating to a topic proposed individually by each student (60%, 3000 plus associated graphics).

Formative assessment includes:

(D) Formative practical exercises.

(E) Project report plan, explored through the module tutorials.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Describe how the underpinning concepts of GIS and related geotechnologies can be harnessed to develop applications addressing ‘real world' problems and highlighting the employment opportunities associated with the mastery of these skills. (C) Capstone project supported by feedback (via the module tutorials) on the formative Project plan (E).
2) Appraise the potential and limitations of GIS and related geotechnologies for transforming geography, environment and environmental hazards in different contexts. (B) Audio podcast informed by the module tutorials and the formative practical exercises (D).
3) Apply spatial analytic techniques to a range of geospatial data sources to answer contemporary and historical research questions. (A) Precis report, (B) audio podcast and (C) capstone project informed by the feedback from formative assessments (D) and (E).
4) Describe, model and interpret the uneven spatial distribution of geographic events such as crime, disease, deprivation, land cover, hazardous events and pollution. (A) Precis report, (B) audio podcast and (C) capstone project informed by the feedback from formative assessments (D) and (E).

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Short precis report Coursework 10
Audio podcast Coursework 30
Capstone project Coursework 60
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major element of assessment is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module.

Bibliography core texts

Longley PA, Goodchild MF, Maguire DJ, and Rhind DW (2015). Geographic Information Science and Systems. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Clifford N, Cope M, Gillespie TW and French S (2016) Key Methods in Geography. (3rd ed). Los Angeles: SAGE.

Bibliography recommended reading

Chainey S and Thompson LJ (2008). Crime Mapping Case Studies: Practice and Research. John Wiley, Chichester.

Cromley, E, McLafferty, S (2011). GIS and Public Health. (2nd ed). New York: The Guilford Press.

Greene RW (2002) Confronting Catastrophe: a GIS Handbook, ESRI Press, Redlands, USA.

Gregory IN and Geddes A (eds) (2014). Toward Spatial Humanities: Historical GIS and Spatial History, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, USA.

Nyerges TL, Couclelis H and McMaster R (2011). The SAGE Handbook of GIS and Society. SAGE, London.

Scally R (2009). GIS for Environmental Management, ESRI Press, Redlands, USA.

Schanze J, Zeman E and Marsalek, J (eds) (2006). Flood Risk Management: Hazards, Vulnerability and Mitigation Measures, Springer, New York, USA.

Vazquez-Brust DA, Plaza-Ubeda, JA, de Burgos-Jimenez J and Natenzon CE, (eds) (2011). Business and Environmental Risks: Spatial Interactions Between Environmental Hazards and Social Vulnerabilities in Ibero-America. Springer, New York, USA.

Find a course

Course finder

>
Undergraduate study
Site menu