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The University of Southampton

GEOG6095 GIS for Environmental Management

Module Overview

This module is intended to introduce students who have already studied the principles of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) how to utilise GIS tools in environmental management. Environmental applications require specific skills on the part of the GIS professional. Such skills include familiarity with the sources of spatial environmental data and their relative strengths and weaknesses. Specific analytical skills are also required, such as the ability to analyse river network data and to handle Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). The module also explores how GIS can be integrated with environmental impact assessment and may be used to support decision-making. The unit will be particularly valuable to those students hoping to pursue a career in the environmental sector or to undertake a research project with an environmental focus. The module taught element will take a broad view of the role of GIS in environmental management, but will focus on river catchment, forestry, renewable energy, and ecological applications Co-requisite: GEOG6061

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Critically evaluate contemporary developments in the use of GIS as a management tool for renewable energy, ecological, forestry, or catchment management, including examples of procedural and legislative structures and issues of professional implementation. • Assess the restrictions and opportunities represented by different data sources, models and structures in environmental applications. • Appreciate the approach necessary to design and evaluate a GIS application to solve a specific problem or fulfil a specific operational requirement within the fields of renewable energy, ecological, forestry, or catchment management. • Critically assess the major methods and techniques available to handle 2-, 3- and 4- dimensional environmental data sets. • Select and evaluate appropriate frameworks through which to support decision-making in the context of complex (multi-criteria) and uncertain systems.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Gain a detailed knowledge of selected parts of the subject that allow you to study the current literature and engage in discussion with peers – in relation to spatio-temporal data structures and spatial decision-making
  • Abstract and synthesise information from a range of different sources – in relation to environmental impact assessment
  • Analyse and critically interpret primary and secondary data
  • Critically analyse the literature relating to GIS and spatial analysis
  • Gain knowledge of contemporary methods used to analyse remotely sensed imagery and other spatial data sets – in relation to land use/cover, digital elevation models, and spatial ecological data
  • Pursue knowledge in an in-depth, ordered and motivated way
  • Learn and study independently
  • Demonstrate Information processing skills (including IT skills): literature searches
  • Demonstrate data manipulation (including IT skills): analysis of data (especially spatial data); statistical methods
  • Communicate: participate in group discussion, undertake and present scientific writing
  • Manage: safe and effective project planning and execution; time management
  • Conduct spatial data analysis – including habitat suitability assessment, terrain modelling and spatial dynamic modelling.


1. Introducing GIS in environmental management 2. Environmental assessment and GIS 3. Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) 4. DEMs for environmental management 5. GIS for ecological management 6. Environmental monitoring with GIS 7. Land use/cover 8. Web-based environmental GIS 9. Environmental spatial decision support

Special Features

This module has no special features beyond PC use and seminar attendance.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module adopts a 'flipped learning' approach, with learning material provided to students prior to the class sessions. Seminars and supervised practical sessions are then used to reinforce and deepen this learning through discussion and activities.

Independent Study116
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Additional online materials for this module are provided through Blackboard.. Additional online materials (beyond the wordpress site) for this module are provided through Blackboard.

Software. ArcGIS is available on-campus or available through iSolutions for installation on students’ own PCs.

GIS for Environmental Management (wordpress site).



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework  (1800 words) 34%
Coursework  (1800 words) 33%
Essay  (1800 words) 33%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Co-requisite: GEOG6061

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