Course Title: Spatial Information Science Fundamentals

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Spatial Information Science Fundamentals

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


145H Mathematical & Geospatial Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 2 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 2 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 1 2021

Course Coordinator: Dr Chayn Sun

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 5227

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 12.12.16

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment or by email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Enforced Prerequisite:

GEOM1033 Spatial Information Science Fundamentals or equivalent courses covering:

  • the key components and functions of a geographical information system (GIS);
  • understanding of spatial data models, databases and coordinate systems;
  • ability to perform basic GIS operations including spatial and attribute data input, editing, and querying; and
  • ability to produce cartographically sound digital maps using a GIS.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the key facets of geographic information science (GIScience).  The course commences by reviewing definitions for GIS including the distinction between GISystem, GIScience, components of GIS and a brief history of GIS.  The special characteristics of spatial, or geographic, data are then reviewed.  Scale, orientation and projection are introduced.  Digital models of spatial data are then reviewed.  Methods for acquiring, transforming and manipulating spatial data are discussed.  The two models for spatial data storage, manipulation and presentation, raster and vector, are discussed.  Reasons for using either or both of these data structures are reviewed as part of this discussion.  Topological relationships between spatial objects will also form part of this discussion. 

In addition to spatial data, attribute, or textual, data are an important item in any GIS.  We will discuss how attribute data can be stored and analysed within GIS.  The relational database model will be discussed as a convenient method for the storage of this attribute information.  Entity-relationship modelling will be discussed as a method for conceptualising the storage of attribute data. The remaining lectorials program will be comprised of case studies, where spatial information and the application of GIS has been an integral component. 

Students will be provided with course materials in Canvas. Practical classes will reinforce concepts learnt in lectorials. 

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of geographical information science and principles of spatial data analysis using GIS
  2. Design and implement suitable GIS-based spatial data analysis procedures for set tasks of vector data analysis;
  3. Design and implement suitable GIS-based spatial data analysis procedures for set tasks of raster data analysis;
  4. Design and implement suitable GIS-based spatial data analysis procedures for set tasks of network analysis; and
  5. Design and implement suitable GIS-based spatial data analysis procedures for set tasks of suitability analysis.

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):

1.2  Demonstrate in-depth understanding of the spatial models and mathematical methods used in contemporary practice.
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.
4.1  Communicate effectively by means of oral, written and graphical presentations to peers and a wider audience.
6.1  Be self-motivated and personally responsible for your actions and learning.

Overview of Learning Activities

In this course you will actively participate in a series of classroom lectorials and exercises, practical classes, as well as self-study assignments. You will work on the practical component in fortnightly exercises. Practical components include: an introduction to data models used within GIS; detailed exercises using vector and raster data; constructing a geodatabase and editing input data; development of a basic ModelBuilder generated tool; and a 3D GIS development using web based resources. You can access online the course material which includes lectorial summaries, video links and practical exercises. Tutorial exercises will also be conducted online.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be able to access course information and learning materials through electronic distribution on Canvas. You will also be able to use supported GIS software (including ArcGIS) and computer laboratories for practical tutorials and projects and written assignments.

A library subject guide is available at:

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.  

Assessment Tasks: 

Assessment task 1: Practical Assignments
Weighting 30%
This assessment supports CLOs 2, 3, 4 and 6

Assessment task 2: Class Exercises
Weighting 40%
This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Assessment task 3: Scientific Communication Task
Weighting 30%
This assessment CLOs 2 ,3, 4, 5 and 6