GEOG 2129 - Introductory Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2022

The course is based on spatial (geographic) data, and how it can be utilised within a Geographic Information System (GIS) environment to solve real-world problems. It introduces students to both the theory and practice of GIS. You will be introduced to fundamental concepts of GIS, including: the input, storage and management of data; analysing and modelling geographic data; and the various outputs (maps and charts) from a GIS. Lectures cover fundamental concepts of spatial analysis and mapping within a GIS. These include projections and coordinate systems; vector and raster data models; map design and spatial data visualisation techniques; spatial analysis tools and methods; data quality issues; and how GIS has been used in different industries. Workshops build on the content covered in lectures, providing an opportunity to develop the practical skills necessary for performing spatial analysis tasks and the creation of high-quality maps, using commercial GIS software.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GEOG 2129
    Course Introductory Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
    Coordinating Unit Geography, Environment and Population
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Level I undergraduate study
    Incompatible GEST 2029, GEST 2022 or GEST 3022
    Assumed Knowledge This course assumes students have a basic level of computer literacy and familiarity with Microsoft Windows, Word and Excel
    Course Description The course is based on spatial (geographic) data, and how it can be utilised within a Geographic Information System (GIS) environment to solve real-world problems. It introduces students to both the theory and practice of GIS.
    You will be introduced to fundamental concepts of GIS, including: the input, storage and management of data; analysing and modelling geographic data; and the various outputs (maps and charts) from a GIS.
    Lectures cover fundamental concepts of spatial analysis and mapping within a GIS. These include projections and coordinate systems; vector and raster data models; map design and spatial data visualisation techniques; spatial analysis tools and methods; data quality issues; and how GIS has been used in different industries.
    Workshops build on the content covered in lectures, providing an opportunity to develop the practical skills necessary for performing spatial analysis tasks and the creation of high-quality maps, using commercial GIS software.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dandong Zheng

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    At the successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
    1 Understand the nature, components and applications of GIS
    2 Develop skills in sourcing, manipulating and interpreting spatial data
    3 Critically discuss the applications of GIS in a variety of fields
    4 Develop an awareness of the underlying theory of spatial information science
    5 Perform spatial analysis tasks and generate outputs using GIS software
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    3, 4, 5

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.

    3

    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    3, 4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Book Title: An Introduction to Geographic Information
    Systems (4th Edition)

    Author: Ian Heywood, Sarah Cornelius, Steve Carver

    Year: 2011

    Publisher: Prentice-Hall

    ISBN-13: 978 0 273 72259 5

     

     

    Adelaide Uni Library:

    Two online copies of this book are available from the
    Adelaide University Library as single use eBooks (i.e. only one person at a time can access each one).

    The Barr Smith Library also holds 7 print copies, with three of these in the High Use Collection available for short term (3 hour) loan.

    The Waite Library has 1 print copy.

    It is highly recommended that you purchase your own copy of
    this book. (There will be approximately 150 students in this class).

    Make sure you order the book by Heywood - there are other books with the same title by other authors!

     

    Readings are set for all lectures and are expected to be completed BEFORE the lecture or workshop.

    Recommended Resources
    Optional/Alternative Textbook

     

    Book Title: Geographical Information Systems (2nd Edition).

    Author: Julie Delaney and Kimberley Van Niel

    Year: 2007

    Publisher: Oxford University Press

    ISBN-13: 978-0-195-55607-0

     

    There are 3 copies of this book at the Barr Smith Library (1 reserve and 2 for general borrowing) and 1 copy at Waite Campus Library.

    This book is a useful secondary resource since it is written by Australian authors and provides Australian examples of GIS applications.

     

    Other Optional Resources

    Supplementary reading in additional GIS texts is highly recommended to improve understanding of the concepts and procedures behind the theory and practical to which students are exposed each week. This text is particularly recommended:

     

    Book Title: Geographic Information Science & Systems (4th Edition)

    Author: Paul A. Longley, Michael F. Goodchild, David J. Maguire, David W. Rhind.

    Year: 2015

    Publisher: Wiley

    ISBN: 978-1-119-03130-7

     

    There are currently three copies in the Barr Smith Library.



    Online Learning

    MyUni

    All lectures will be recorded and available through MyUni.
    All lecture slides, workshop instructions and workshop data will also be available through MyUni.


    Online Textbooks

    There is a variety of online texts available, some of which are extremely comprehensive:


    Websites

    There are many websites with information about GIS, the industry, and using GIS, including:
    • www.gis.com - a good overview of GIS and geographic thinking. Includes glossary and career links;
    • www.gislounge.com - GIS Lounge is an information portal, providing links to numerous news items, tips, and resources including introductory texts on all things GIS. This site is run by Caitlin Dempsey who has authored numerous articles about GIS and the spatial industry; and
    • www.sssi.org.au – peak body for the surveying and spatial sciences in Australia. This site provides information about education/careers, and links to local events in South Australia and other States/Territories such as Spatial Information Day (spatialinformationday.org.au). The Free Student Program offers membership and various benefits to students with an interest in GIS, including access to discounted events held in Adelaide.


    Software

    The GIS commercial software that will be used in this course is ESRI ArcGIS Pro 2.8

    This software is available in limited teaching labs across the University from 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday. 

    You should find that ArcGIS is installed in the following locations:
    • Science Students: Any of the science faculty computer suites
    • Humanities Students: Napier 106 and Napier 107
    • Waite Campus Computer Labs in Charles Hawker Building
    • Some computers on level 3 and 4 in the Hub.

    Although ArcGIS Pro is not available for standalone installation on your personal computers, it can be accessed anytime through the University’s ADAPT platform (Any Device, Any Place and Time) from any computer connected to the internet. Please review the setup guides and instructions for using ADAPT. Please contact Technology Services or the course coordinator if you are having problems accessing this. Unfortunately, ADAPT is not a very stable environment when using ArcGIS!


    Please take into account any access restrictions when planning your assignment work.

    Hardware

    It is strongly recommended that you do all coursework on your U drive as this can be accessed from any university computer, or from your home computer through ADAPT, and is regularly backed up.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures supported by problem-solving workshops which develop lecture material.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    1 x 1-hour lecture (or equivalent) per week 12 hours per semester
    1 x 2-hour workshop (or equivalent) per week 24 hours per semester
    3 hours reading per week 36 hours per semester
    2 hours assignment preparation per week 24 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD:  8 Hours per week 96 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary
    The course comprises 4 modules, comprising 3 lectures and 3 workshops per module.
    Module Workshop
    Week 1 - 3 Geospatial Foundations
    • Introduction to GIS
    • Spatial Data and Management
    • Spatial Data Models
    Week 4 - 6 Cartography , Geodesy and Data Quality
    • What Makes a Good Map?
    • Geodesy and Spatial Referencing
    • Spatial Data Quality and Error
    Week 7 - 9 Spatial Analysis Fundamentals
    • Topology and Vector Querying
    • Vector Based Spatial Analysis
    • GIS and Health
    Week 10 – 12 Digital Storytelling
    • Mapping the Story
    • GIS and the Web
    • Course Summary
    Week 13 No Lecture
    • Workshop Support for Assignment
    Specific Course Requirements
    This course assumes a basic level of computer literacy and familiarity with Microsoft Windows, Zip files, Word and Excel.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcome
    Weekly Workshop Exercises Formative and Summative 60% 1-5
    Final Assessment Summative 40% 1-5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Students will need access to GIS labs/computer rooms and relevant software. This will be provided by the University
    Assessment Detail
    You must complete and submit for assessment all of the components. If you fail to complete all components, you may receive a Fail grade regardless of your achievement in the completed assessment components.

    Weekly Lecture and Workshop Assessments - 60%
    Each module  will include an assessment task (normally a Quiz and/or Map) which allows students to demonstrate both the successful completion of the workshop tasks, and their understanding and application of the skills and techniques which they are learning during the module lectures and workshops. Full details of the assessment task are made available  as part of the modules workshop documentation. Assessments are due prior to commencement of each new modules lecture.



    Final Assessment - 40%
    This assessment will be based on development of a story map that showcases some or all the workshop tasks completed during the course. This assessment will be used to determine the  students understanding of lecture content and workshop skills, drawing on practical and theoretical application of ArcGIS technology.
    Submission
    All assessments will be submitted via MyUni, with links to one or more ArcGIS Online assessment content.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.