Geospatial Fundamentals GEOG5008

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

An introduction to the essential mathematical background of Geomatics, including co-ordinate systems, datums, map projections and co-ordinate transformations. Geospatial information acquisition, processing and management requires familiarity with certain concepts including: coordinate reference systems, datums and map projections, figures of the earth, 2&3D trigonometry, survey sampling, statistics, solving sets of equations, least squares adjustment, correlation, matrix algebra and computer programming, generally conducted within the frameworks established by national and international professional and standards organisations. It is the intention of this course to ensure that all programme participants have familiarity with these topics and having completed this, will be able to apply this knowledge in the gathering, processing and managing of geospatial data.


All classes will be on one or two days of the week

Requirements of Entry

Normally entry to relevant MSc programme

Excluded Courses

Fundamentals of Geomatics I (10 credits)

Fundamentals of Geomatics II (10 credits)


Assessment is based on:

Report based on geospatial data analysis resulting from an independent programming project (35%) (ILO 3,5),

A series of short weekly class maths tests (15%) (ILO 4)

and an end of semester examination (50%) (ILO 1,2, 3).

Main Assessment In: December

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. 


The projections and transformations project report cannot normally be reassessed as it is based around 4 practicals.

Course Aims

The material in this course aims to establish the essential fundamentals for the geospatial MSc programmes.

More specifically this course aims to:


■ Introduce concepts of coordinate systems, datums and map projections, transformation and conversion of co-ordinates

■ Develop a foundation in the mathematical, statistical, computational, and reporting techniques to support the study of geospatial sciences, particularly.

■ Develop programming skills to solve geospatial problems such as co-ordinate transformations and statistical analysis.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Describe the basic principles of geodesy, including the size and shape of the Earth and its model, geodetic datums, map projections and coordinate reference systems;

■ Explain the principles, concepts and application of coordinate datum transformations and map projection conversions including selecting appropriate map projections;

■ Explain the principles and applications of least squares in surveying & mapping, using the central tendency theorem in statistics to determine the precision of a set of observations, and estimate their accuracy, and be able to determine the correlation between two sets of apparently independent variables.

■ Demonstrate mathematical ability in trigonometry, statistics, calculus and linear algebra.

■ Develop programming skills.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Attendance at all practical sessions