Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Principles of GIS for Environmental Science (Nankai) DUMF5115

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course introduces the principles and practices of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and gives practical experience in their use in addressing environmental issues.


Teaching will be over a 2-3 week period, with further time for practical work, study & reflection.

Requirements of Entry

Admission to MSc in Environmental Science (F753C-5301)

Excluded Courses





GIS databases and tools exercise and report (20%)

DTM application and interpolation exercise and report (30%)

GIS analysis for the wind farm visibility study and final report (50%) 

Course Aims

■ To describe the principles of geographic information systems (GIS)

■ To introduce concepts of co-ordinate systems, datums and map projections

■ To explain 2 & 3D vector data structures and concepts, including point, line and polygon entities, attributes and topology

■ To explain 2 & 3D raster data structures and concepts

■ To introduce several well-known GIS analytical tools

■ To introduce spatial interpolation and digital terrain modelling

■ To introduce several applications of GIS

■ To explain how to design an efficient geospatial database

■ To build confidence in the use of one particular GIS package

■ To encourage the use of help files and relevant web pages, etc., to develop the initiative and creativity which contribute to the transferable skill of problem solving in information technology

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ critically discuss the use of different co-ordinate systems, datums and map projections in mapping and GIS;

■ distinguish between the vector and raster representation of real world objects;

■ evaluate overlay, buffer, network, terrain and neighbourhood analysis in GIS;

■ evaluate the process of spatial interpolation;

■ critically discuss the creation and use of digital terrain models;

■ design an efficient geospatial database;

■ solve application problems in GIS based on available workstation and on-line help files;

■ apply acquired GIS skills to applications related to the environment;

■ prepare point fields and other gathered data for processing in the GIS environment;

■ identify and apply an appropriate processing methodology to meet the objectives of a project.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components of the course's summative assessment.