Principles and Applications of GIS URBAN5111

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

Short Description

This course covers the fundamental theories and methods of Geographical Information System (GIS), and also demonstrates how GIS can be applied in practice to real world problems using the software ArcGIS.


Ten sessions will run on over ten consecutive weeks during the first semester. Each session will consist of a lecture (1 hour) and a practical session (2 hours).

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements:


Excluded Courses

Principles of GIS (GEOG5019)

Geographical Information Systems (GEOG4062)

Principles and Applications of GIS (URBAN5114)





The assessment includes three GIS practical exercises (15% * 3 = 45%) and a GIS project (oral presentation (20%), a written report of 2,500 words (35%)).

Course Aims

This course, including both lectures and practicals, will cover the fundamental theories and methods of GIS. With the skills obtained from this course, the students will be able to edit, organize and manipulate spatial data in meaningful ways to solve spatial problems in reality. The specific teaching aims are to:  

■ describe the components of geographic information systems (GIS);

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

■ introduce spatial data operation, such as distance calculation, overlay and buffer analysis;

■ explain the framework of spatial database and how to design an efficient spatial database;

■ introduce some fundamental spatial analysis such as network analysis and land use suitability analysis;

■ introduce empirical applications of GIS in various areas such as urban planning, housing and public health; and

■ introduce how to use the most popular GIS software - ArcGIS - to implement the main functions of GIS.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ under the principles, concepts and theories underpinning spatial analysis;

■ examine and evaluate the use of spatial and GIS models;

■ combine different spatial data operations to solve complex urban and spatial planning problems;

■ understand spatial data and how they are organized in GIS software;

■ design and create a proper spatial database; and import data into ArcGIS and export data from ArcGIS to external files;

■ distinguish between different spatial data models (vector and raster);

■ implement spatial operations and analyses (such as overlay and buffer analyses) on vector and raster data; and

■ apply obtained GIS skills to empirical applications in various domains, such as business site selection and route planning.

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.


All the students are required to attend all the lab (practical) sessions.