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.

Map Design and Geovisualisation GEOG4098

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Introduces the principles of map design and production, with an initial focus on aspects that apply to the design of all types of maps followed by the visualisation of various types of spatial information. It will develop practical skills in designing maps using GIS.


2 hours of lectures and 1 2-hour practical per week for 5-6 weeks, normally in semester 1

Requirements of Entry

Fulfilment of entry requirements to Level 3 Geography or Environmental Geoscience , including a basic knowledge of GIS, preferably QGIS.

Excluded Courses

GEOG4064 Geovisualisation

GEOG5081 Cartographic Design, Geovisualisation & Map Use

GEOG5018 Principles of Cartographic Design & Production


Final examination: 40%; series of small map design exercises: 20%; topographic map design project 40%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 


For non-honours students the examination and topographic map design exercise may be repeated, but not the series of small exercises (20%)

Course Aims

To examine theoretical and practical aspects of map design and the visualisation of geographic information;

To develop skills in processing and presenting geospatial data.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Describe the map design process

■ Explain the classification of, and relationship between, phenomena, data and representation methods

■ Critically analyse methods of portraying different types of geospatial data

■ Explain the characteristics of colour, its measurement, description and use in cartography

■ Describe the elements of map generalisation and discuss the development of automated methods

■ Describe the particular problems of geographic names, typography and name arrangement in relation to maps

■ Assess and apply relief depiction methods

■ Design and produce maps using appropriate techniques

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

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

Attendance at all practical sessions.