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The University of Southampton

GEOG2021 Advanced Geographical Information Systems

Module Overview

The module will look at the conceptual, practical and methodological issues associated with using GIS for environmental and socio-economic applications.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • The application of geographic information science for the understanding of social and economic problems and environmental management
  • Understand the importance of the geographical characteristics of data.
  • Confidently use a range of relevant forms of IT software.
  • Understand the ways in which geographical data of various types can be combined, interpreted and modelled.
  • Analyse and critically interpret secondary geographical data.
  • Marshal and retrieve data from library and Internet resources
  • Use appropriate techniques, including computer software, to produce clear diagrams and maps.
  • Understand the different types of spatially explicit model and their relative strengths and weaknesses.
  • The influence of spatial and temporal scale upon human and physical processes.
  • The use of concepts of space and spatial variation in geographic analysis
  • The theory, acquisition, analysis and interpretation of geographical data across a range of applications.
  • Analyse critically literature in human and physical geography.
  • Abstract and synthesise information from a range of different geographical sources.
  • Produce fluent and comprehensive written reports on complex topics.
  • Analyse and understand data in human and physical geography using computer techniques.
  • Pursue knowledge in an in-depth, ordered and motivated way.


This module is comprised of two parts. Part I focuses on spatially distributed dynamic models with particular emphasis on environmental modelling. A range of spatially distributed models will be studied from application areas such as forestry, climate change, and land use planning. Subjects such as model calibration and validation, sensitivity analysis and what-if scenarios are covered, and students should be able to recognise the different types of spatially distributed model by the end of the module. In Part II of the module, the focus is on techniques and concepts in spatial data handling. This encompasses issues such as geospatial data systems, accessing and inputting data, measuring accessibility, and issues of temporal representation and uncertainty. It should be emphasised that the methods and techniques used, and the skills developed in both halves of the course, are applicable across the breadth of quantitative geography (whether human or physical) and environmental science.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures provide a sound knowledge base and structure. Computing practicals provide the opportunity to put these concepts and methods into practice and to gain hands-on experience of using two major GIS software packages (the open source Quantum GIS software and ESRI’s ArcGIS). The practical sessions and associated coursework are problem-based to encourage students to develop skills in the context of the solution of real-world problems

Independent Study116
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Longley, P.A., Goodchild, M.F., Maguire, D.J., Rhind, D.W. (Eds) (2005). Geographical information systems: Principles, Techniques, Management and Applications. 


Software requirements. ArcGIS Online, QGIS and ArcGIS Pro, both on computer workstation clusters and for use by students on own laptops/computers.

Longley, P., Goodchild M., Maguire, D. and Rhind, D. (2015). Geographical Information Systems and Science. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  ( words) 50%
Coursework  ( words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  (2000 words) 50%
Coursework 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: GEOG2010

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