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Study information

GIS for Professionals

Module titleGIS for Professionals
Module codeGEO3239
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Dr Damien Mansell (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) provides the ability to analyse data spatially to provide new information and lead to better understanding of what is happening in different places informing decisions across all sectors of research, business, government, education, entertainment and leisure. This module develops your understanding of GIS by using spatial data to discover solutions to real world applications. You will not just be developing GIS skills but also discovering the numerous opportunities for a career in GIS. Discovery and learning will develop from click and point operations, to developing workflows, models, scripting GIS and an understanding of automation.

Due to the data file management skills and prior knowledge of GIS required, GEO2320 Applied GIS for Physical Geographers is a pre-requisite for this module. If however you feel you can demonstrate sufficient skills and knowledge in these areas please speak to Damien Mansell for advice and approval.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Learning in this module is largely through directed and supported enquiry-led computer exercises. Exercises will be developed from research expertise in Geography as well as those developed in collaboration with Esri from real-world applications. Esri is the world leading GIS provider in industry and business. You will have access to the latest software and run computer exercises in ArcPro and Web GIS. Lectures will introduce key concepts, techniques and understanding and will include occasional guest lectures from industry or business as example case study applications.

This module will develop GIS skills including:

  • Spatial analysis.
  • Spatial query.
  • Data collection.
  • Data mining.
  • Location allocation.
  • Introduction to scripting WebGIS using Python scripting language.

You will also develop skills appropriate for careers in GIS:

  • Data management.
  • Data sharing, publishing and collaboration.
  • Data visualisation.
  • Map apps in web GIS.
  • Management of a web GIS including access, permissions and data sensitivity.

This module aims not just to develop your GIS skills and opportunities for employment, but also attributes required in the professional workplace including:

  • Presentation skills (in particular the first assessment which includes a sales pitch presentation and pre-recorded video demonstration).
  • Communication skills (in terms of online and public presentations, writing, cartographic design and visualisations).
  • Critical-thinking and problem-solving (linking theories in lectures to applications in order to understand the characteristics of data distributions).
  • Confidence (enabling you to reach reasonable conclusions from your analysis).
  • The ability to work collaboratively in groups and online (through sales pitch presentation and collaboration and crowd-sourced mapping exercises).
  • Developing awareness of sustainability, cultural, economic and health related views in other parts of the world with a desire to further the common good (utilising datasets from around the world).

Assessment is designed to incorporate and develop these attributes as well as provide you with the opportunity to showcase your work. You will be able (and encouraged) to showcase assessments online to increase your web presence and offer examples of your work for employers to review.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Assess the significance of spatial relationships and the temporal distribution of physical processes on physical and human environments and recognise the ways in which spatial relations are an inherent and important feature of society
  • 2. Develop an understanding of the application of GIS in geographic research and analyse, evaluate and synthesise data from a range of sources
  • 3. Appreciate change at different temporal and spatial scales and evaluate the processes shaping the geographies of the past, present and future
  • 4. Generate, collect and record primary data using geospatial technologies such as digital cartography, GIS and remote sensing, and retrieve and manipulate secondary data sets
  • 5. Prepare effective maps, diagrams and visualisations

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Critically evaluate, interpret and combine different types of geographical evidence and handle large datasets
  • 7. Formulate and evaluate questions, and identify and evaluate approaches to analysing and solving problems through quantitative methods
  • 8. Plan, design and execute a piece of rigorous enquiry
  • 9. Synthesise, contextualise and critically evaluate information of different styles and from different sources

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 10. Use ICTs effectively and appropriately to select, analyse and present information
  • 11. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently by written, oral and graphical means
  • 12. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management, library use and web investigation) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
  • 13. Work in groups and teams and recognise and respect the viewpoints of others
  • 14. Justify your responsibility as a local, national and international citizen with a global perspective

Syllabus plan

  • Recap on fundamentals of GIS
  • Analysing data using location from multiple data sources
  • Summarising characteristics of spatial distributions to identify patterns
  • Introduction to webGIS
  • Creating and publishing Geo apps
  • GIS visualisations and cartographic design
  • Introduction to location allocation and Business Analyst
  • Introduction to scripting WebGIS using Python scripting language

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching16Computer practical
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Exeter-based field app exercise
Guided Independent Study23Completion of computer practical exercises
Guided Independent Study20Independent reading
Guided Independent Study35Preparation and collaboration exercises for summative and formative assessments
Guided Independent Study45Writing and publishing web report

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Computer practical outputs 2-hour weekly practicals All Throughout the course orally through staff and peer evaluation

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Sales pitch and recorded screencast GIS demonstration (very small groups)403-minute screencast and 3-minute narrated presentation = 1 x 6-minute videoAllWritten and oral
Web GIS report (independent) including map outputs and accompanying text601000 words plus map outputs1-12Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Sales pitch and recorded screencast GIS demonstrationVideo of both a sales pitch and screencast GIS demonstrationAllAugust Ref/Def
Web GIS report (independent) including map outputs and accompanying textWeb GIS report (independent) including map outputs and accompanying text1-12August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The following texts are useful indicative reading:

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

GIS, Geographical Information Systems, science, spatial analysis, WebGIS, GPS

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

GEO2320 Applied GIS for Physical Geographers

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date