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Applications of GIS (GEOM20013)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeGEOM20013
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are a blend of computer mapping and database technologies used to store, manage, analyse and display geographic data. This subject introduces students to this exciting technology and provides them with the skills and knowledge to design solutions enabling to solve everyday spatial problems in both built and natural environments. Students who complete this subject will have developed knowledge that is immediately applicable in the workplace. The subject also lays the foundations for more advanced studies in geomatics, spatial information systems, and spatial planning. Enrolled students will be encouraged to familiarize themselves with GIS technology before the semester start by online training courses published in LMS.


Basic concepts of GIS, including typology of datasets, Design and operationalization of GIS solutions, Application areas of GIS demonstrated through case studies presented by experts in their professions. In parallel, students train in computer labs the use of GIS for data integration, analysis and mapping, translating a specification of a multi-criteria evaluation problem into a workable GIS decision support solution, inspired by the case studies.

Intended learning outcomes


On completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Explain the basic principles and procedures associated with application of geographic information systems (GIS) to the solution of spatial problems;
  2. Demonstrate practical skills such as understanding of the data collection, storage, manipulation and visualization of spatial data; 
  3. Demonstrate a practical understanding of the principles of spatial reference systems and basic spatial analysis and visualization of spatial data using a GIS software;
  4. Describe how GIS can be applied in a range of situations, such as urban planning, site selection, environmental management, facilities and network management, and many more;
  5. Explain the particular role that GIS plays in decision making for problem solving purposes;
  6. Use GIS software to demonstrate the application of a GIS to support decision making in a selected problem area, such as emergency management, urban development, land administration, environmental assessment or public health.

Generic skills

On the completion of this subject students will have:

  • The ability to apply knowledge of basic science fundamentals
  • The ability to communicate effectively, not only with other scientists but also with the community at large
  • The ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution
  • The ability to function effectively as an individual and in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams, with the capacity to be a leader or manager as well as an effective team member
  • An expectation of the need to undertake lifelong learning and the capacity to do so
  • The capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed learning
  • Openness to new ideas and unconventional critiques of received wisdom.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Enrolled students will be encouraged to familiarize themselves with GIS technology before the semester start by online training courses published in LMS.

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



An individual assessment, consisting of the completion of a set of four on-line GIS software training modules. Students are thus given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with GIS software. This can be partly completed during lab sessions, and totals 8% of assessment. You can get an extra 2% if you complete all ESRI online certificates from the list by the end of Week 4. Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) 2, 3 and 6 are addressed in this assessment

  • 15 hours
Week 310%

Individual assessment through on-line quiz questions, only available live during lectures, one per week on selected weeks, reflecting on the immediate content of the lecture. ILOs 4,5 and 6 are addressed in this assessment.

  • 10 hours
Throughout the semester5%

An individual assignment addressing an application of GIS; ILOs 1, 3 and 4 are addressed in this assignment.

  • 15 hours
Week 510%

A group assignment addressing an application of GIS supported by a guided study of literature (requiring 15 hours work for each team member), on an application of GIS which will provide the foundation for the final group assignment. This assignment includes an individual component worth 2% (self-appraisal or peer review). ILOs 3 and 4 are addressed in this assignment.

  • 15 hours
Week 815%

A group major assignment on the application of GIS combining the skills acquired throughout the semester, and supported by a guided study of literature (requiring each team member committing 40 hours of work). This assignment includes an individual component worth 5% (self-appraisal or peer review). ILOs 2 - 5 are addressed in this assignment.

  • 40 hours
End of the teaching period30%

Examination; ILOs 1, 3,4 and 6 are addressed in the examination

  • 2 hours
Hurdle requirement: Students must pass the exam to pass the subject.
During the examination period30%

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorMartin Tomko
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours48 hours (Lectures: 2 hours per week; Tutorials: 2 hours per week)
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

    Semester 1 contact information

Time commitment details

170 hours

Additional delivery details

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    The students have free access to ESRI ArcGIS via a campus licence. Lectures are recorded (voice and slides).

    Recommended texts and other resources

    Geographic Information Science and Systems (latest edition), by Paul A. Longley, Michael F. Goodchild, David J. Maguire, David W. Rhind, ISBN: 978-1-119-03130-7

  • Subject notes


    The subject consists of introductory lectures and a number of guest speakers presenting applications of GIS from industry practice. In parallel students are exposed in computer labs to their first encounter with GIS.


    The students have free access to ESRI ArcGIS via a campus licence. Lectures are recorded (voice and slides).


    A number of industry representatives across a variety of GIS applications present guest lectures during the semester.

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    Subject coordinator approval required

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 10 August 2019