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CEG8702 : An Introduction to the Fundamentals of GIS

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Alistair Ford
  • Lecturer: Professor Philip James
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


This module aims to introduce students to the fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems and Science. Through studying the module, students will understand the fundamental concepts of a GI System and GI Science, and their uses and applications. Learning will be through a mixture of lectures and hands-on experience of using a GIS to solve real-world problems.

This module introduces students to Geographical Information Systems, the scientific concepts behind them, and associated data types and formats. The module aims to demonstrate how GIS uses a wide range of data to analyse the world from a spatial perspective, and produce stunning visual outputs. It aims to introduce students to the ways that GIS can analyse data to look for spatial correlations and patterns, to understand geographical processes, and link data that shares a spatial location. The module aims to give students practical experience of using the latest commercial GIS programs, such as ArcGIS Pro, and accessing geospatial data.

Outline Of Syllabus

Lecture content covers:

What is GIS?: Who uses it, why they use it, what you can do? What is special about spatial? Data models for Spatial data: Discrete vs continuous field mapping;

Thematic Mapping: types of thematic maps, uses of thematic maps, classification models for thematic maps;

Continuous data: Sampling and interpolation, DTMs, heights and volumes; Vector Data Attributes and databases: Data management and attribute data;

Data formats and data providers: standards, common formats, data providers (formal and informal); Processing and modelling in GIS;

GIS interfaces: CAD/BIM;

Web mapping and Location based services; Visualisation, cartographic design and output from GIS.

Practicals cover:

Getting started in ArcGIS Pro Accessing spatial data Cartographic basics Introducing spatial analysis

Further spatial analysis (Raster analysis, interpolation, reclassification, MCE) Working with 3D data

Creating spatial data Analysing data

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Exam Controlled Computer based multiple choice
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials91:009:00Either mix of asynchronous/synchronous lectures or PiP depending on Covid-19 circumstances.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion101:0010:00Revision for Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion23:006:00Two practical lab reports (one formative, one summative)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical61:006:00Synchronous online practicals delivered using Microsoft Azure Labs.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:00PiP practical session to assist with submission development
Guided Independent StudySkills practice82:0016:00Independent practice of GIS skills after online practicals.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study145:0045:00Includes background reading and reading lecture notes for full understanding of material.
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
CEG1702Geographic Information Systems
CEG1710Geographic Information Systems
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students are introduced to core concepts in lectures, including applied examples, and these concepts are then explored further and practised through practical sessions, which includes 2 assessed practicals (one formative, one summative). The practicals have been developed to enable the students to work independently and the practicals before each coursework submission will be on-campus. Each practical session has a submission that repeats the core exercises carried out in the session. A series of Canvas tests will check knowledge after lecture/practical pairs.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
CEG1702Geographic Information Systems1N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report1M50Data acquisition and spatial analysis. Approx 2.5 hours work
Practical/lab report1M50Editing and creating data, mapping. Approx 2.5 hours work
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students' skills and a practical, working knowledge of data and software is assessed through assessed practical work. Their understanding and knowledge of core theoretical factors underpinning the management, analysis and presentation of spatial data is assessed, for AY21/22, through some additional material required in these assessments.

Students are introduced to core concepts in lectures and this is practised through formative practical classes, two assessed practicals and a larger independent piece of work. The practicals have been developed to enable the students to work independently. The practicals develop core skills to foster independent learning and exploration. These are assessed through a GIS project that allows students to utilise the tools, processes and data introduced in the module in a holistic manner.

Reading Lists