Course Title: Geographic Information 1

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Geographic Information 1

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


145H Mathematical & Geospatial Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Dr. Colin Arrowsmith

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2042

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 12.11.17

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Basic knowledge of spatial concepts.  Windows software literacy.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the key facets of geographic information systems (GIS) and basic land surveying.
In the GIS component you commence by reviewing definitions for GIS, including the distinction between GISSystem and GIScience. A brief history of GIS is provided. The special characteristics of spatial, or geographic, data are then reviewed. Scale, orientation and projection are introduced. You will explore digital models of spatial data and methods for acquiring, transforming and manipulating it. Raster and vector models are discussed, including the rationale for using either or both of these data structures. Topological relationships between spatial objects are also addressed.
In addition to spatial data, attribute or textual data is an important item in any GIS. You will explore how attribute data can be stored and analysed. The relational database model and entity relationship modelling will be evaluated as convenient methods for the storage of attribute information.

In the land surveying component you will discuss and identify the key concepts of plane surveying such as coordinate systems, measurement techniques, survey computations and plans.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On completion of this course you should be able to:
1. Describe the broad concept and principles of GIS, recognising the distinction between GISytems and GIScience.
2. Identify the special characteristics of spatial data and define and contrast the two primary methods for storage, manipulation and analysis of spatial information
3. Identify and apply the various types of attribute data
4. Discuss the design and operation of the relational database management system model and its relationship to the geodatabase model.
5. Demonstrate how GIS can be applied to real-world applications.
6. Identify and elaborate key components of surveying as used by engineers.

This course contributes to the development of the following Program Learning Outcomes in BH116 (Bachelor of Applied Science (Surveying) and BH117 (Bachelor of Science (Geospatial Science):

1.3 Understand specialist bodies of knowledge in surveying and geospatial science.

2.1 Apply standard and advanced techniques to solve a range of measurement and data management problems.

2.3 Be proficient in the recording, storage, management and reporting of spatial information.

3.1 Design and implement creative solutions to complex problems in survey measurement and land development

3.2 Interpret and critically analyse results and make informed judgments on the appropriateness of solutions.

Overview of Learning Activities

Lectures – Definitions of GIS, spatial/geographic data, digital models of spatial data, attribute data, applications of GIS.
Practicals – Linking spatial and attribute data, raster data analysis, vector data manipulation, vector data analysis.

Two hours of lectures and two hours of practical exercise per week contact.  There are also six tutorial exercises online.  There will also be an assignment which is conducted as an individual exercise outside class time.

Overview of Learning Resources

As a student enrolled in this course at RMIT University you can access the extensive learning resources provided in the school and in the RMIT Library, such as books, journals and other course-related materials (electronic and paper-based) Our library offers extensive services and facilities, geared to assist you in completing your studies successfully. Furthermore we will recommend to you specific text books, websites covering course content plus recommendations for further readings, and engage you in discussion board. Computer Labs with the required software are also available for your study.
A recommended reading list will be provided.

A library subject guide is available at:

Overview of Assessment

☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

The assessment for this course is a combination of practical work, assignments and class tests.

Assessment Tasks:

Early Assessment Task:  GIS Practical exercise 1
Weighting 3%
This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6.

Assessment Task 2:  GIS Practical exercise 2
Weighting 12%
This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Assessment Task 3: GIS Assignment
Weighting 10%
This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Assessment Task 4:  Class test 1
Weighting 25%
This assessment task supports CLO 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Assessment Task 5: Surveying practical exercise
Weighting 15%
This assessment task supports CLO 6

Assessment Task 6: Surveying computational assignment
Weighting 10%
This assessment task supports CLO 6.

Assessment Task 7: Class test 2
Weighting 25%
This assessment task supports CLO 6.