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The University of Southampton

GEOG3006 Advanced Geographical Information Systems

Module Overview

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

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To develop an advanced understanding of the conceptual, practical and methodological issues associated with geospatial analysis for environmental and socio-economic applications. It will appeal to human and physical geography students as well as those in cognate disciplines (e.g., environmental sciences, social sciences). Particular emphasis is placed on the acquisition of practical skills using major software systems. It is designed for those students wishing to develop more in-depth technical skills in GIS, either for the workplace on in preparation for a subsequent MSc degree in this area. A complementary module, GEOG3067, focuses on GIS project design and management.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • The application of remote sensing and geographic information science for the understanding of social and economic problems and the sustainable management of fluvial environments
  • Understand the ways in which geographical data of various types can be combined, interpreted and modelled.
  • The use of concepts of space and spatial variation in geographic analysis
  • Abstract and synthesise information from a range of different geographical sources
  • Pursue knowledge in an in-depth, ordered and motivated way
  • Produce fluent and comprehensive written reports on complex topics
  • Analyse and understand data in human and physical geography, using computer techniques
  • The influence of spatial and temporal scale upon human and physical processes
  • Analyse critically literature in human and physical geography;
  • The theory, acquisition, analysis and interpretation of geographical data across a range of applications
  • 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
  • Confidently use a range of relevant forms of IT software;
  • Understand the importance of the spatial characteristics of geographical data


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

A combination of teaching and learning methods (as shown in the 'format' column of the module programme) are employed to provide students with the necessary knowledge, structure and opportunities to develop and practice skills related to the learning outcomes. 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 QGIS open source 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. In order to achieve the learning outcomes to a high level, students are expected to supplement and reflect on the knowledge gained through lectures and practical sessions with further study. In particular, you should view the practical classes as an opportunity to gain advice and input from teaching staff but recognise that you may not complete all the practical activities within the allotted class time. It is also essential that you build on the lecture materials by reading the literature. You will be provided with directed reading as well as reading lists for more extensive independent study.

Independent Study116
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Online data resources: Geoconvert.

Computer requirements. ArcGIS Online; QGIS software; ArcGIS software.

Longley, P.A., Goodchild, M.F., Maguire, D.J., Rhind, D.W. (2015). Geographical information systems: Principles, Techniques, Management and Applications. 

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



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 33%
Coursework assignment(s) 33%
Exam 34%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) %
Exam %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: GEOG2010

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