Skip to main content

Unit information: An Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing for Environmental Policy and Management in 2020/21

Unit name An Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing for Environmental Policy and Management
Unit code GEOGM0013
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Max Stockdale
Open unit status Not open



All core units for the MSc in Environmental Policy and Management

School/department School of Geographical Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


This unit provides an advanced introduction to the science and practices behind geographical information systems (GIS) and remote sensing for a number of different environmental science themes/applications. These include (1) LAND COVER AND LAND USE change (including land degradation) with a strong focus on GIS; (2) NATURAL HAZARDS with a strong focus on water related hazards and management; (3) ENVIRONMENTAL APPLICATIONS with a strong focus on (i) environmental pollution; (ii) coastal zone and oceanographic applications; and (iii) water resources.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this unit students should be able to:

  1. Be familiar with key principles and applications of GIS.
  2. Identify the key concepts and approaches of applying GIS techniques to different themes, at different scales.
  3. Apply GIS and remotely sensed data to problem solving within environmental management.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through a blended combination of online and, if possible, in-person teaching, including

  • online resources
  • synchronous group workshops, seminars, tutorials and/or office hours
  • asynchronous individual activities and guided reading for students to work through at their own pace
  • computer practical work; students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete practical work, or alternative activities, in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements

Assessment Details

(1) One 1500 word essay completed towards the middle of the unit, describing and analysing the recent approaches and techniques in GIS and remote sensing for a given topic in Environmental Policy and Management of the student's choice. This should engage strongly with recent scientific literature (40% in total)

(2) One individual practical-based project around a given problem set in environmental policy and management which the individual needs to explore using the GIS techniques and remote sensing capabilities learnt over the whole Unit. The write up of the project should not exceed 2500 words. This will take place at the end of the unit (60% in total)

Reading and References

  • Albrecht, J, 2007, Key Concepts & Techniques in GIS, Sage, London Campbell, J.B., 2011, Introduction to remote sensing, 5th ed. New York, Guildford Press.
  • Heywood, I., Cornelius, S., and Carver, S., 2006. An introduction to geographical information systems. Prentice Hall. third ed., NJ
  • Jensen,J.R 2007, Remote Sensing of the Environment, Prentice Hall, second ed.,NJ.
  • Longley, P., Goodchild, M., Maguire, D., and Rhind, D., 2011, Geographical information systems and science, John Wiley&Sons, third ed. NJ.
  • F.F. Sabins, 1997, Remote Sensing Principles and Interpretation, W.H. Freeman & company, third ed., NY