The benefits and efficiencies of using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are now widely recognised within government, business, education and charities, and the applications of Geographic Information and GI technologies are steadily growing. Using GIS, it is possible to combine data from a broad range of sources and in a variety of formats, such as paper and digital maps, routinely collected administrative data, censuses and population surveys, satellite imagery, aerial photography, GPS tracking and surveys, LiDAR and crowd-sourcing. This course is designed to give students (whether newly qualified or already in employment in related fields) understanding and experience of GIS concepts, functionality and applications, data models and data management, GIS programming, spatial data analysis and project management, as well as providing extensive hands-on experience of commercial GIS software. Strong industry links help ensure that course content remains relevant to the needs of employers.
The uses of GIS are very diverse, and include mapping, spatial analysis, planning and decision-making within a wide range of disciplines and sectors – common examples include environmental management and conservation, resource management, emergency service planning and humanitarian assistance, health care provision, land use planning and urban development, the utilities, transport, geo-demographics, mineral extraction and retail analysis. Increasing uptake of GIS and associated techniques and technologies means that there is a growing demand for qualified personnel who have the skills to manage spatial data effectively.
The Postgraduate Diploma course comprises four compulsory modules with a further four options. The compulsory modules are Principles of GIS, Spatial Data Management, Introduction to Remote Sensing, and GIS Databases. The following optional modules are currently available: Web-based GIS, Spatial Analysis and Modelling, Programming for GIS and Remote Sensing, GIS in Business and Society, GIS Work Experience / GIS Work-based Project, Photogrammetry and Advanced Image Analysis and GIS for Environmental Management – however, please note that there are constraints on the combinations possible due to module timing. More information on each module and module timing is available here.
Students wishing to graduate with the award of Postgraduate Certificate rather than completing the PgDip or MSc must pass four modules including Principles of GIS.
Modules consist of a combination of lectures and related practical work, ensuring that the theory and concepts introduced are reinforced by hands-on experience, using real-world examples drawn from a variety of subject areas. Students gain considerable experience of commercial GIS and remote sensing software as well as exposure to open source packages, and skills such as problem-solving and academic and report writing are extensively practiced. Modules are assessed by coursework such as practical and project reports, presentations and quizzes and tests. There are no formal university examinations.
The Masters degree in Geographic Information Systems consists of the eight taught modules of the Postgraduate Diploma in addition to a substantial piece of independent research, presented in the form of a research paper which may, with the agreement of your supervisor, be submitted for publication by an academic journal.
Option to combine GIS and environmental management
If you are interested in studying modules in both GIS and environmental management, you have the following options:
- Enrol for the GIS PgDip/MSc and take one 30-credit environmental management module (Biodiversity Management or Environmental Impact Assessment, which run in alternate years) in place of two 15-credit optional modules, OR;
- Enrol for the "GIS with Environmental Management" PgDip/MSc course, which allows you to take more environmental management modules along with some GIS modules.