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.

Introduction to GIS GEOG5128

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

An introduction to the principles and practice of Geographic Information Systems, for students with no prior GIS experience


The intention is to deliver the class in the form of 5x1 hr lectures and 5x2 hr long practical sessions split over 5 weeks. Generally, all classes should be on one day of the week during Semester 1. If numbers are large a practical session may be run on a different day.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses

Principles of GIS (GEOG5019)

GEOG5084 Principles of GIS (Intensive)

Geographical Information Systems (GEOG4062)

Principles and Applications of GIS (URBAN5111)

Principles and Applications of GIS (URBAN5114)

GIS A: Applied Spatial Analysis (GEOG4111)

GIS B: Theory & Practice (GEOG4112)


Coursework consisting of a GIS practical task (30%) and report (70%).

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

The course's combination of lectures and practicals will give participants a basic grounding in the analytical and databasing concepts which contribute to the design of a GIS, its implementation and appropriate use; and to develop an awareness of how to explore and represent geospatial information in a typical GIS environment.

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

■ To explain GIS data structures and models, including vector and raster data

■ To introduce GIS tools such as buffers, clipping and joins

■ To introduce several applications of GIS in a range of research/working environments

■ To explain how to create and modify 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:

■ Explain the principles of GIS as a combination of geospatial data input, processing, output and personnel subsystems.

■ Explain co-ordinate reference systems in GIS and apply them within a GIS.

■ Explain the nature of geospatial databases and discuss their design and implementation.

■ Implement spatial operations and analysis on vector and raster data

■ Produce effective maps and reports based on output of GIS processes.

■ Apply acquired GIS skills to a range of applications.

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