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There has been an explosion in the collection, and availability, of spatial information in the modern era. Locational data from smart phones, drones, and censuses, are examples of the growing opportunities that spatial data present for geography. In fact, many employers now demand spatial analysis skills.
Understanding how to think about spatial data, and how to analyse those data, provides life-changing skills. This subject equips students to: describe patterns (e.g. migration, ocean currents), changes in spatial patterns (e.g. spread of weeds), associations between sets of spatial variables (e.g. pollution and industry); and optimal arrangements (e.g. planning a power line route). This subject teaches generic spatial skills and is equally useful for students of human or physical geography, or related disciplines (e.g. environmental science).
Whilst the subject uses GIS and other spatial technologies, and develops competency with relevant software, the emphasis is on understanding the kind of questions that could be answered using spatial analysis; understanding different types of spatial data, and associated methodological and ethical considerations; and choosing and applying appropriate spatial analysis frameworks and models. The subject is based around weekly, computer-based, practicals. Half of the assessment comes from two assignments in which students identify their own spatial data problems and collect their own data.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this course students should be able to:
- Recognise the ubiquity of spatial data, as well as key debates and ethical issues
- Describe spatial data
- Determine appropriate approaches to analysing spatial questions
- Develop basic competency in using quantitative and statistical techniques, including GIS software, to analyse spatial data
- Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation, and solution
- Ability to communicate effectively, with colleagues, and with the community at large
- Ability to manage information and documentation
- Ability to apply knowledge of geography fundamentals
- Capacity for lifelong learning and professional development
Last updated: 16 June 2020