ENVS6364 is an introductory course to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It provides students with a comprehensive introduction to geospatial technologies, including GIS, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Remote Sensing. Students will learn core concepts and principles of GIS, and develop technical skills in data acquisition and management, mapping, spatial sampling and analysis. Students are trained using the latest commercial geospatial softwares.
ENVS6364 lectures cover a range of topics which are key to one becoming competent in Geographic Information Science. These include a background on how the shape of the earth impacts on mapping, also referred to as coordinate systems and map projections, creating and collecting GIS data, spatial analysis using different GIS data types, the art of map making, remote sensing and working with three-dimensional features or data. The practical classes are designed to expose students practice and apply standard GIS concepts and techniques to a range of disciplines, including environmental science and management, physical and human geography, urban planning, biodiversity conservation, archaeology, health, business and marketing.
This unit is offered in weekday attendance and fully online modes.
Lecture program and location
There is one 1 hour lecture per week. Please check lecture times and rooms at the Macquarie University timetables website (www.timetables.mq.edu.au). Lectures are recorded and posted on the iLearn via Echo360. Weekday attandance students are expected to attend lectures in person; virtual/online attendance is availlable via the links provided on the iLearn. Lecture recordings will also be made available on the iLearn.
Practical program and location
Weekday attendance: Students are enrolled to one 3 hour practical class per week. Please check practical times and rooms at the Macquarie University timetables website (www.timetables.mq.e du.au). Practical class sizes are limited by the number of available computers. You must use the online enrolment system to change the time/day of your practical class. Practical classes begin in Week 1.
Fully online attendance: You must have a home computer with a Windows operating system (Windows 7 or above). Please note that ArcGIS software is NOT supported by Mac or Linux operating systems. Also, we don't provide IT support for installation to Mac or Linux platforms. A copy of the ArcGIS software will be provided to external students. You must install this software on your computer. Internal students may also request a copy of the software and license to install to their personal computers. ArcGIS can also be accesed remortely on Appstream platform. More information on accessing GOS software on Appstream platform is provided on the iLearn.
Submission of assignments and progress tasks
All students are required to keep a backup of the submitted version of their assessments.
Assignments should be in a MS Word or PDF file format. All maps and tables associated with the assignment must be incorporated in the MS Word document or PDF.
Students are not permitted to email their assignments or submit them in a softcopy format. Assignments are to be submitted via the Turnitin link provided in iLearn by the date and time specified.
Late submissions will attract a penalty of 5% of the available marks per day after the original assessment due date until the mark becomes 0%. Assessment more than 7 days late will receive a mark of zero for non-submissions. Extensions will be granted in cases of documented illness or extenuating circumstances, and when applied for BEFORE the assessment deadline. Applications for assessment extensions are now to be applied online via the student portal. Please follow the instructions outlined at https://students.mq.edu.au/study/my-study-program/special-consideration. Extension requests received via email or after the due date will not be processed.
Please be aware that there is a minimum processing time of 2 working days for all extension requests. If you submit your request on the due date of the assessment item, we cannot guarantee that you will receive a response by the assessment deadline. Where possible, please factor this in when submitting your extension application.
Return of marked assignments
Your assignments will be returned via iLearn within two teaching weeks of the submission, and will include written feedback.
Requirements to complete this unit satisfactory
1. Attend lecture and practical classes (weekday attendance students);
2. Complete all assignments and the final exam; and
3. Acquire a pass grade or above.
Grades for the unit as a whole will be awarded according to the following general criteria (course rubric):
General description of the level of attainment
Has not yet reached the desired standard. Limited understanding of required concepts and knowledge.
A fail grade (or under some circumstances a conceded pass) would be given
Has reached basic academic standards. Work has limited translation of concepts and procedures to new contexts unless aided.
A pass grade would be awarded
Has completely reached the standards expected. Can work independently in new contexts, adapting procedures to meet the context. Demonstrates awareness of own limitations.
A credit grade would be awarded.
Has gone beyond the expected standards. Exhibits high levels of independence and can use concepts to generate new ways of completing procedures. Can engage in critical reflection.
A grade of distinction or high distinction would be awarded.
This unit will use the online platform of Echo360 and iLearn, ArcGIS, Google Earth, MS Excel software, GPS, and online resources for the practical exercises. Other ESRI software and open source GIS software may also be used.
You will require access to a computer and broadband internet to complete this unit. The library computers and computer labs are available for casual use outside scheduled practical classes.
Internal students who have a home computer with a Windows operating system may obtain a copy of the ArcGIS software from the unit convenor. The ArcGIS software is NOT supported by Mac or Linux operating systems. It is not essential for weekday students to have ArcGIS installed on their home computer as the computers in the computer labs are available for casual use outside scheduled practical classes. However, students registered as fully online must have ArcGIS installed on their home computer. We are also trialing the remote access of ArcGIS by external students via Appstream. More information will be provided regarding this service.
Unit web page
This unit’s webpage will be available on iLearn. Information about how students can access iLearn can be found at: http://www.mq.edu.au/iLearn/student_info/index.htm
The iLearn page uses Macquarie University’s standard interface and has links, access to lectures (as audio files through Echo360, and as downloadable PDF presentations) and practical instructions. Important announcements will be made through iLearn, so check the ENVS6364 page regularly.
Information about how to access lecture recordings through the Echo360 EchoCenter page in iLearn can be found at: http://mq.edu.au/iLearn/student_info/lecture_recordings.htm
Highly recommend a fast USB Flash Storage Drive (4GB is adequate) for GIS Practicals; if your computer supports USB3 then I would further suggest a USB3 storage drive as the GIS Lab PC's support USB3.
Access to required and recommended resources, plus past central exam papers, is available at the Macquarie Library website (https://www.mq.edu.au/about/campus-services-and-facilities/library/multi-search/multisearch).
GIS Desktop Software. The University has a site license for ESRI's ArcGIS (www.arcgis.com) which may be installed on a Windows PC with reasonable specs (i.e. 4GB RAM and 2.2 GHz CPU).
Chang, K. 2008. Introduction to geographic information systems. McGraw Hill, New York.
Jensen J. & Jensen R. (2012) Introductory Geographic Information Systems, Pearson Higher Ed.
Longley, P., Goodchild, et al. (2005) Geographical Information Systems and Science.
Burrough PA, McDonnell RA, and Lloyd C. 2015. Principles of Geographic Information Systems. Oxford University Press, UK.
Huisman O, de By RA (Eds). Principles of Geographic Information Systems: An Introductory Text Book: Available online at:https://www.itc.nl/library/papers_2009/general/PrinciplesGIS.pdf
The Khan Academy has many short instructional videos on a range of topics; the statistics (Maths) and SQL (Computing, Programming) provide background learning relevant to GIS.