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GEOG 2010

Geographical Information Systems

  • Credits: 3
  • Level: Undergraduate, Year 2
  • Semester: 1
  • Status: Core course for BSc/BA Major (Geography) and BSc Geography.
  • Pre-requisites: GEOG 1900 and GEOG 1901; or GEOG 1131, GEOG 1132, GEOG 1231 and GEOG 1232
  • Course coordinator: Dr. Matthew Wilson
  • Note: replaces GEOG 2000. Students who have already completed that course may not additionally take this one.

Course coverage

Spatial data and spatial data models; cartography and map production; spatial data collection; online GIS and web mapping; geographic databases; spatial data analysis.


This course is intended to provide a foundation for understanding Geographical Information Systems (GIS), what they can accomplish, and how they can be used to solve research problems. Proficiency in GIS is regarded as a fundamental skill for a modern geography graduate, and offers a wide range of potential employment opportunities, so the course is compulsory for geography majors. Offering this course at Level II will allow for the introduction of GIS applications in Level III courses, and provide the necessary skills for students who wish to use GIS in their undergraduate research dissertations.

Course description

The course introduces students to the theory and general principles of GIS, and to practical skills and hands-on experience in its use. It teaches the fundamental concepts and basic functions of a GIS, the properties of GIS maps, and the structure of a GIS database. It introduces coordinate systems and map projections, and methods of performing simple vector and raster spatial analysis. In the lab exercises, students will work with ESRI ArcGIS software to visualize geographic data, create maps, query a GIS database, perform spatial analysis using common analysis tools, and solve geographic problems using a systematic approach.

The course comprises of lectures and practicals. Lectures introduce some of the theory behind GIS, and give an overview of some of the methods. In the practicals, students use GIS software for a range of tasks, using a range of data sources.

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