The University of Southampton

ENVS2012 Environmental Instrumentation

Module Overview

In order to manage environmental problems, it is vital to have enough good quality data in order to gain a thorough understanding of the underlying processes and any changes that may occur. This module teaches you to how to go about collecting that data, accounting for ethical considerations and ensuring you work in a safe manner. Through a series of field-visits, you will learn how to use a range of monitoring equipment used by Environmental Professionals in their day-to-day work. You will also develop your skills with regards to designing an appropriate data collection strategy, whilst accounting for the practicalities of working in the field.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module aims to provide you with the skills to be able to set up a range of environmental monitoring equipment and to consider the health and safety requirements and ethical considerations of setting up these instruments in the field.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The need for both a multi-disciplinary and an interdisciplinary approach in advancing knowledge and understanding of Earth systems, drawing, as appropriate, from the natural and the social sciences.
  • the terminology, nomenclature and classification systems used in environmental science.
  • methods of acquiring, interpreting and analysing environmental science information with a critical understanding of the appropriate contexts for their use.
  • the contribution of environmental science to the development of knowledge of the world we live in.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research.
  • collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses.
  • applying knowledge and understanding to complex and multidimensional problems in familiar and unfamiliar contexts.
  • recognising the moral and ethical issues of investigations and appreciating the need for professional codes of conduct.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (eg textual, numerical, verbal, graphical).
  • appreciating issues of sample selection, accuracy, precision and uncertainty during collection, recording and analysis of data in the field and laboratory.
  • preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages including geographic information systems.
  • using the internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information.
  • identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles.
  • recognising and respecting the views and opinions of other team members.
  • evaluating performance as an individual and a team member.
  • developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills).
  • developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Collecting, recording and analysing data using appropriate techniques in the field and laboratory.
  • undertaking field and laboratory investigations in a responsible and safe manner, paying due attention to risk assessment, rights of access, relevant health and safety regulations, and sensitivity to the impact of investigations on the environment and stakeholders.
  • referencing work in an appropriate manner.


Students will learn how to design and set up environmental monitoring equipment for a wide range of purposes. This may include, but is not limited to, programming time-lapse and motion sensor cameras; using thermal imaging equipment; setting up weather monitoring instrumentation. A series of field trips will provide the core content of this module, giving examples of the application of environmental monitoring equipment in both research and commercial settings.

Special Features

For students with specials needs, an individual assessment with be made and appropriate arrangements made to ensure they are enabled to benefit from the exercise or an equivalent experience. Fieldtrips (subject to change if necessary) o a range of organisations, including but not limited to: Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Biotrack Ordnance Survey Ramboll Environ Oil Spill Response Channel Coast Observatory NOC AECOM

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module uses a range of teaching and learning methods, however the majority of contact time is spent in the field. These sessions are supplemented with a series of lectures.

Completion of assessment task30
Follow-up work30
Wider reading or practice25
Preparation for scheduled sessions20
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Group presentation 50%
Quick start guide 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Travel Costs for placements

The costs for field visits are covered within programme costs; there are no additional costs for the student. Requirements for suitable clothing and footwear are specified in the Risk Assessment for field visits; students are expected to provide these themselves. This may include but is not limited to appropriate footwear (i.e. walking boots or wellington boots as required), waterproof jackets and trousers and warm clothing suitable for working outdoors.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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