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GIS for Professionals

Module titleGIS for Professionals
Module codeGEO3239
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Damien Mansell (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) provides the ability to analyse data spatially leading to better understanding of what is happening in different places informing decisions across all sectors of research, business, government, education,entertainment and leisure. This module develops your understanding of GIS by using spatial data to discover solutions to real world applications. You will not just be developing GIS skills but also discovering the numerous opportunities for a career in GIS. Discovery and learning will develop from click and point operations, to developing workflows, models, scripting GIS and an understanding of automation.  

Due to the data file management skills and prior knowledge of GISrequired, GEO2333 Applied GIS: Mapping with Technologyis a pre-requisite for this module. If, however, you feel you can demonstrate sufficient skills and knowledge in these areas, please speak to Damien Mansell for advice and approval. This is a core module for all incoming students on the GIS MSc.  

Module aims - intentions of the module

Learning in this module is largely through directed and supported enquiry-led computer exercises. Exercises will be developed from research expertise in Geography as well as those developed in collaboration with external partners including Esri from real-world applications. Esri is the world leading GIS provider in industry and business. You will have access to the latest software and run computer exercises in ArcPro, ArcGIS online, Q-GIS and python environments. Delivered content will introduce key concepts and techniques and will develop GIS skills such as:

  • Spatial analysis.
  • Spatial query.
  • Data collection.
  • Data mining.
  • Introduction to scripting WebGIS using Python scripting language.

You will also develop skills appropriate for careers in GIS:

  • Data management.
  • Data sharing, publishing and collaboration.
  • Data visualisation.
  • Map apps in web GIS.
  • Management of a web GIS including access, permissions and data sensitivity.

This module aims not just to develop your GIS skills and opportunities for employment, but also attributes required in the professional workplace including:

  • Presentation skills (in particular the first assessment which includes a sales pitch presentation and pre-recorded video demonstration).
  • Communication skills (in terms of online and public presentations, writing, cartographic design and visualisations).
  • Critical-thinking and problem-solving (linking theories in lectures to applications in order to understand the characteristics of data distributions).
  • Confidence (enabling you to reach reasonable conclusions from your analysis).
  • The ability to work collaboratively in groups and online (through sales pitch presentation and collaboration and crowd-sourced mapping exercises).
  • Developing awareness of sustainability, cultural, economic and health related views in other parts of the world with a desire to further the common good (utilising datasets from around the world).

Assessment is designed to incorporate and develop these attributes as well as provide you with the opportunity to showcase your work. You will be able (and encouraged) to showcase assessments online to increase your web presence and offer examples of your work for employers to review.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Assess the significance of spatial relationships and the temporal distribution of physical processes on physical and human environments and recognise the ways in which spatial relations are an inherent and important feature of society
  • 2. Develop an understanding of the application of GIS in geographic research and analyse, evaluate and synthesise data from a range of sources
  • 3. Appreciate change at different temporal and spatial scales and evaluate the processes shaping the geographies of the past, present and future
  • 4. Use geospatial technologies such as digital cartography, GIS and remote sensing, and retrieve and manipulate secondary data sets
  • 5. Prepare effective maps, diagrams and visualisations

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Critically evaluate, interpret and combine different types of geographical evidence
  • 7. Synthesise, contextualise and critically evaluate information of different styles and from different sources

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Use ICTs effectively and appropriately to select, analyse and present information
  • 9. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently by written, oral and graphical means
  • 10. Undertake independent/self-directed study/learning (including time management, and web investigation) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
  • 11. Work in groups and teams and recognise and respect the viewpoints of others
  • 12. Justify your responsibility as a local, national and international citizen with a global perspective

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

The content of this module will incorporate some or all of the following topics:

  • Recap on fundamentals of GIS
  • Special purpose maps and choropleth classification schemes.
  • Coordinate reference systems and projections
  • Summarising characteristics of spatial distributions to identify patterns
  • Introduction to webGIS
  • GIS visualisations and cartographic design
  • Introduction to open source spatial analysis including Q-GIS
  • Introduction to scripting WebGIS using Python scripting language

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching8Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching18Computer practical
Scheduled Learning and Teaching4Exeter-based field app exercise
Guided Independent Study2Concepts & applications introduced through video content
Guided Independent Study18Completion of computer practical exercises
Guided Independent Study20Independent reading and investigation
Guided Independent Study40Preparation and collaboration exercises for group summative assessment
Guided Independent Study40Writing and publishing story map


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Computer practical outputs 2-hour weekly practicals 1-12Throughout the course orally through staff and peer evaluation

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Sales pitch and recorded screencast GIS demonstration (very small groups)503-minute screencast and 3-minute narrated presentation = 1 x 6-minute video1-12Written and oral
Story Map including weekly map outputs, wider applications and critical evaluation. (independent).502500 words plus map outputs1-10Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Sales pitch and recorded screencast GIS demonstration (very small groups)Individual sales pitch for a WebGIS application (different to the one set for the group). 1 x 3 minute video.1-12August ref/def
Story Map including weekly map outputs, wider applications and critical evaluation (independent).Story Map including weekly map outputs, wider applications and critical evaluation (independent).1-10August ref/def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The following texts are useful indicative reading:

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

GIS, Geographical Information Systems, science, spatial analysis, WebGIS, GPS, Q-GIS, Esri

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

GEO2333 Applied GIS: Mapping with Technology (or GEO2320 Applied GIS for Physical Geographers) or proven data file management skills in discussion with convenor.

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date