GIS and Remote Sensing
Area of Study
Taught In English
Prerequisites72 credit points of completed study in an undergraduate course OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C09073 Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Bachelor of Science Diploma Professional Engineering Practice OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10073 Bachelor of Engineering Bachelor of Science OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10074 Bachelor of Engineering Bachelor of Science Diploma Engineering Practice OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10126 Bachelor of Science Bachelor of Laws OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10162 Bachelor of Science Bachelor of Business OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10223 Bachelor of Environmental Biology OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10227 Bachelor of Environmental Forensics OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10228 Bachelor of Marine Biology OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10242 Bachelor of Science OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10243 Bachelor of Science Bachelor of Arts International Studies OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10330 Bachelor of Science Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation OR 72 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10347 Bachelor of Advanced ScienceThese requisites may not apply to students in certain courses. See access conditions.
Course Level Recommendations
ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units6
Hours & Credits
OverviewDescriptionUnderstanding the new landscape of science in which environmental and natural resource researchers and managers work with geospatial technologies is fundamental to any career in environmental science. Increasingly, employers of environmental scientists seek employees with geospatial skills that are essential in sustainable management of water, energy, pollution, forests, croplands, oceans and assessments of human impacts on the environment.This subject provides students with a basic understanding of geospatial tools and technologies and their applications in environmental sciences and resource management. Geographical information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and digital image processing are employed and applied to the characterisation of ecological landscapes, aquatic systems, biodiversity, disturbance events, and environmental health. In the GIS stream, students learn one of the most widely used GIS software packages, ArcGIS, in industry and science. In the remote sensing stream, students learn the basic physical principles of satellite earth observation systems and process digital satellite images for environmental monitoring applications. Experience on how to input data obtained by remote sensing (as well as other sources) into a GIS is also gained. Students apply their geospatial knowledge in solving hypothetical and real natural resource and environmental management problems in Australia and internationally.Subject objectivesUpon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:1. Have a sound knowledge and understanding of the use and application of geospatial technologies for environmental science applications,2. Have basic competencies in GIS operations and demonstrate basic knowledge on the nature and properties of geospatial data (raster, vector, scale, georeferencing, projections and coordinates,3. Be able to perform data collection for GIS purposes, including GPS, satellite imagery, topographic maps, scanned photographs, etc.,4. Be confident in conveying spatial information of the environment using best practices in geovisualisation methods,5. Know how to design and develop a GIS project for natural resources and environmental management applications,6. Have a fundamental understanding of the physical principles of remote sensing and sensor systems, including radiation laws and the electromagnetic spectrum,7. Be able to utilise satellite measurements (thermal, radar, Lidar, optical) and assess appropriate sensor resolutions for monitoring the dynamics and health of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems ,8. Be able to process satellite images in the spatial, spectral, and temporal domains (filtering, time series analyses, classification, pattern recognition),9. Be able to effectively communicate with GIS and geospatial professionals and appreciate the problems and benefits of using geospatial analyses to model spatially distributed natural phenomena and their evolution through time.This subject also contributes specifically to the development of following course intended learning outcomes:An understanding of the nature, practice and application of the chosen science discipline. (1.0)Encompasses problem solving, critical thinking and analysis attributes and an understanding of the scientific method knowledge acquisition. (2.0)The ability to acquire, develop, employ and integrate a range of technical, practical and professional skills, in appropriate and ethical ways within a professional context, autonomously and collaboratively and across a range of disciplinary and professional areas, e.g. time management skills, personal organisation skills, teamwork skills, computing skills, laboratory skills, data handling, quantitative and graphical literacy skills. (3.0)An understanding of the different forms of communication - writing, reading, speaking, listening -, including visual and graphical, within science and beyond and the ability to apply these appropriately and effectively for different audiences. (6.0)Contribution to the development of graduate attributesThis subject primarily addresses the following graduate attributes that the Faculty of Science at UTS aims to develop in students during their course.1. Disciplinary knowledge and its appropriate application:In this subject you will gain an understanding of geospatial sciences and analyses as applied to the characterisation of ecological systems and environmental phenomena in space and time. This will be achieved using geovisualisation techniques, mathematical and statistical descriptions, and geospatial tools (GIS, GPS, remote sensing, imaging sensors, and use of land cover, land use and socio-ecologic maps). You will learn about these topics and knowledge in the foundation lectures, readings, and practical assignments. Learning of these topics will be assessed through lecture and practical-based subject examinations.2. An Enquiry-oriented approachThis subject will enable you to better understand the rapidly evolving field of geospatial technologies, and prepare you to draw connections across broad fields of knowledge and relate this knowledge to complex real-world situations. In this subject, you will be tasked to formulate questions, search appropriate GIS models, data and data visualisation tools, imaging sensors, and perform problem solving analyses in the context of geospatial science. An understanding of the scientific method of knowledge acquisition and appreciation of problems and benefits of using GIS and remote sensing to address and solve environmental problems will be obtained by critical examination of case studies and complex environmental questions. The process of formulating and successfully testing a scientific hypothesis is learned through the practice of guided practical exercises of increasing complexity. This aspect of the subject will be assessed through written mid-semester and final scientific reports.3. Professional skills and their appropriate applicationIn this subject you will acquire a broad range of skills in the geospatial sciences. This includes computer skills in the use of GIS, GPS, and image processing of remote sensing data. You will also be able to acquire, validate, query and analyse geospatial data while developing computing, database construction, quantitative and graphical literacy skills. These skills will be assessed through the computer-based and lecture-based examinations as well as in the final written scientific report.You should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time for this subject as practicing these skills is the only way to learn them. It is the instructor?s belief that the only way to be acquainted with geospatial skills (GIS, remote sensing) is to actually do ?trial and error? work, which requires a high level of investment in time.5. Engagement with the needs of societyThis subject, by way of geospatial presentation and reports, provides the opportunity to learn how to present complex geospatial information of environmental issues and ecological problems to management agencies and lay audiences. Thus, strengthening your understanding of the role of scientific outcomes into shaping and influencing government policies and community ideas and culture. We will discuss how spatial maps could be interpreted and misinterpreted by researchers, governments, industry and the general public.Your training in handling geospatial datasets will help you to evaluate environmental systems and programs. The breadth of case studies represented in this subject will enable you to integrate and synthesise knowledge from a range of public and private stakeholders, NGO?s, and government agencies. You will acquire an improved understanding of the vast array of environmental geospatial applications from evaluating environmental change, mitigating natural disasters, to investigation of the sustainability of land and freshwater resource practices.The ability to communicate complex findings through visual spatial graphics to a lay audience will be assessed through the assignments and scientific written reports.6. Communication skillsGood written communication is fundamental to any scientific career. Written skills are assessed with a project outline and proposal submitted as a mid-semester report (with instructor feedback provided) and one final scientific report. You will be assessed on your written skills and ability to scientifically describe, visually and graphically convey, interpret, synthesize, and discuss your geospatial layers of information and research results. This is assessed through the scientific written reports.Teaching and learning strategiesThis subject is a 6-credit point subject offered as a set of lectures, case studies, and computer practicals. You are expected to lead your own learning by managing the study of theoretical and practical material, and by integrating the hand-out contents with required textbook studying. You are expected to spend an average of 12 hours per week studying for this subject and invest additional time in practicing GIS and image processing computer software applications.You will find lecture hand-outs, data sets and computer practicals detailed instructions and additional material in UTSOnline. You are encouraged to ask questions and to contribute to class discussions. You are strongly encouraged to form study groups, to collaborate in finding information and answers to questions, and to maintain regular contact with the Subject Coordinator using email and UTSOnline resources.Computer practicals enable you to be active in your learning as you practice using one of the leading GIS software packages commercially available to scientists, industry and government organisations. You are strongly encouraged to use the computer labs as often as possible to go over the exercises and repeat procedures until you are confident that you can navigate the software, produce maps and analyse data without the support of the instructions in the hand-outs.In this subject you will learn via a combination of lectures, discussions and practicals. The lectures are given by the subject coordinator and occasional guest lecturers and encompass all subject materials. This is supplemented with a recommended textbook and online reference reading materials, along with your own independent reading.ContentIn this subject you will learn about basic concepts of geographical information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and image processing, including definitions, applications and software. The subject starts with basic fundamental geospatial principles under both GIS and remote sensing streams. Topics include spatial data analyses, logical construction of databases, topology, georeferencing, GPS, GIS spatial models, pattern recognition, physical principles of remote sensing, thermal, radar, lidar, optics, and digital image processing.AssessmentAssessment task 1: Computer lab Test 1Objective(s):This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):1, 2, 4, 5 and 6This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):1.0, 2.0, 3.0 and 6.0Weight: 15%Criteria:Correctness of answers; Computer-skills acquired; Soundness of interpretations and conclusions; Accuracy of calculations, plots, and other presentationAssessment task 2: Practical AssignmentsObjective(s):This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):1.0 and 6.0Weight: 20%Criteria:Clarity of answers (English, spelling); Correctness of information reported; Accuracy of calculations, maps, plots, and other graphics. Ability to ask and formulate questions of spatial data. Discussion and conclusions write- up reflect an understanding of assignment objectives, the nature of spatial data in a GIS and remote sensing context, and its benefits and usefulness to environmental problems and society.Assessment task 3: Computer lab Test 2Objective(s):This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):1.0Weight: 10%Criteria:Correctness of answers; Computer-skills acquired; Soundness of interpretations and conclusions; Accuracy of calculations, plots, and other presentationAssessment task 4: Written Scientific Final ReportObjective(s):This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):1.0 and 6.0Weight: 30%Criteria:The Scientific report is assessed at 60% for group effort and 40% based on individual contributions (as identified by the group).The overall assessment based on:- Framing of geospatial data questions;- Incorporation of feedback provided in task 2 practical assignments;- appropriate use of data to answer questions and problem solve;- appropriateness of the analytical methods to answer the question;- accuracy of data and maps processed;- how well the results were interpreted and discussion associated in context of the questions posed and literature findings;- demonstrated an understanding of context and the ability to apply different tools to a given problem;- demonstrated understanding of how GIS and remote sensing tools address the needs of society in context of the chosen topic;- organisation and clarity (English and spelling);- adherence to guidelines and outline protocol.Assessment task 5: Final ExaminationObjective(s):This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):1.0Weight: 25%Criteria:Correctness of answers.Soundness of interpretations and conclusions;Accuracy of calculations, plots, and other presentationMinimum requirementsAs a minimum requirement to pass this subject, students must complete and submit ALL assessment tasks, obtain a mark equivalent to 40% of the maximum mark possible for the project reports, and achieve a total of no less than 50% for the subject.As a practice-based subject, attendance at all practicals is a requirement. Practical attendance is assessed through submission of activity questions after each practical.Required textsKennedy, M., 2006, Introducing Geographic Information Systems with ArcGIS: featuring GIS software from Environmental Systems Research Institute, Hoboken, J. Wiley, N.J.Longley, P. 2005, Geographical information systems and science, 2nd edn, Wiley, Chichester.Bolstad, P. 2012, GIS Fundamentals: A First Text on Geographic Information Systems, 4th edn, Eider Press, White Bear Lake, Minn.Chuvieco, E. & Huete, A. 2010, Fundamentals of satellite remote sensing, CRC Press, Boca Raton.Jensen, J. R. 2000, Remote sensing of the environment: an earth resource perspective, Upper Saddle River, Prentice Hall, N.J., London, Prentice-Hall International.Short, N.M. 1999, Remote Sensing Tutorial, Availability - free from the web.Recommended textsFazal, S. 2008, GIS basics,New Age International (P) Ltd., Publishers, New Delhi.Map Projections: A Working Manual, 1987, Snyder, John P., USGS Professional Paper: 1395,Geospatial Analysis - A comprehensive guide, http://www.spatialanalysisonline.com/ArcGIS Online Tutorial http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help../index.html#/ArcGIS_tutorials/00v20000000t000000/Hershey, Pa. 2013, Geographic information systems concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications, : IGI Global (701 E. Chocolate Avenue, Hershey, Pennsylvania, 17033, USA), ISBN 9781466620391 (ebook)Konecny, G. 2003, Geoinformation remote sensing, photogrammetry and geographic information systems, Taylor & Francis, London, New York, ISBN 0585448035 (electronic bk.)Van Sickle, J. 2004, Basic GIS coordinates, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla., ISBN 9780203491485 (e-book : PDF)Kennedy, M. 2002, Global Positioning System and GIS an Introduction, CRC Press, London, ISBN 0203301064 (electronic bk.), 9780203301067 (electronic bk.)An introduction to GIS applications, [London] : Teachers TV/UK Department of Education, 2010ReferencesAs provided on UTSOnline when appropriate.Other resourcesComputer ArcGIS self-training modules, known as the Virtaul Campus, are provided through ESRI registration. Information and practice data available on UTSOnline.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.