Skip to main content

Unit information: An Introduction to GIS and Remote Sensing for Environmental Policy and Management in 2018/19

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

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 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Mr. Thomas
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

Each week, there will be a one-hour lecture on principles of GIS and remote sensing followed either by a two-hour lecture during the week giving examples from recent literature of such applications including interactive discussion, or a two-hour practical involving GIS and applied to a particular problem solving exercise. The unit will conclude with an assessed written, individual practical-based project about a given problem set in environmental management for which the individual needs to come up with a proposed solution using GIS techniques and making use of a variety of different data sources, including remotely sensed data.

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