Postgraduate taught 

Geoinformation Technology & Cartography MSc/PgDip/PgCert

Geospatial Fundamentals GEOG5008

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • 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


All classes will be on two days of the week

Excluded Courses

Fundamentals of Geomatics I (10 credits)

Fundamentals of Geomatics II (10 credits)


Assessment is based on:

Practical exercises and reporting (30%),

A series of short weekly class maths tests (10%)

and an end of semester examination (60%).

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

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.

Some applications are specifically addressed in this course (mostly as practicals), but many are addressed or revisited in other courses within the programmes. It is for this reason that this material is considered to consist of essential fundamentals for the geospatial MSc programmes.

The course is supported by tutorial exercises on mathematical principles applied to surveying & mapping.


To prepare students in the mathematical, statistical, computational, and reporting techniques to support the study of geospatial sciences, particularly geomatics;

To use central tendency statistics and probability to represent the quality of geospatial data;

To introduce concepts of coordinate systems, datums and map projections, transformation and conversion of co-ordinates;

To prepare students to instigate a projection change using available and self-developed software script.

To introduce the principles and use of Least Squares in surveying & mapping.

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;

■ select appropriate map projections;

■ based on central tendency statistics, determine the precision of a set of observations, and estimate their accuracy;

■ determine the correlation between two sets of apparently independent variables;

■ explain the principles and applications of least squares in surveying & mapping;

■ develop programming skills.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Attendance at all practical sessions