• Class Number 6430
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Bruce Doran
    • Dr Bruce Doran
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

This course provides an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and is based around a hypothetical, but realistic Environmental Impact Study in a small regional catchment. GIS are widely used by government agencies and research organisations in the environmental sciences and to assist with resource and environmental management decision making, in part due to the rapid growth in the availability of high quality digital spatial data.

This course aims to develop both a solid theoretical understanding and a comprehensive practical grounding through the construction and integration of a range of spatial models. On the satisfactory completion of this course, students will have completed realistic hydrological, erosion, conservation, wildlife habitat, forest, agriculture, fire and economic models within the GIS. The integration of these sub-models to inform decision makers about recommended landuse options will be based on Multi-criteria Evaluation and Multiple Objective Land Use Allocation frameworks.

Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduate students but are assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. explain the theoretical and practical considerations required for conducting a GIS-based landuse planning analysis for decision support in a professional manner
  2. prepare, manipulate, display and analyse spatial data
  3. use Global Positioning System (GPS) data to assist in conducting field checking of satellite imagery
  4. synthesise and present high quality GIS-based outputs in a report format
  5. critically assess research papers

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Written comments on assessment items
  • Verbal comments and feedback during practicals

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to the unit Course focus: A hypothetical problem
2 Remote sensing I: introduction Remote sensing II: principles
3 Remote sensing III: Vegetation classifications Remote sensing IV: Vegetation classifications 2
4 Remote sensing skills review McHarg and the overlay method ENVS6015 critical review workshop - TBA Progress Report (10%): See agreed assessment on course Wattle site
5 Representing geography and data types Fuzzy Logic
6 Data Models and Structures I In-class TEST (ENVS2015 students) ENVS6015 Students (20%) critical review: See agreed assessment on course Wattle site
7 Semester Break
8 Data Models and Structures II Data Models and Structures III
9 DEMs & Hydrological Models I Pulling the modelling exercise together
10 Spatial Data Transfer Standards Shape of the Earth, Map projections
11 Spatial Analysis I Spatial Analysis II
12 Careers in GIS and Remote Sensing Course Summary and test revision Second Test (20%): See agreed assessment on course Wattle site Final Report (50%): See agreed assessment on course Wattle site

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Progress Report 10 % 20/08/2021 06/09/2021 2,3,4
Critical review of journal paper 20 % 03/09/2021 17/09/2021 1,2,3,4
Test 20 % 29/10/2021 12/11/2021 1
Final Report 50 % 29/10/2021 16/11/2021 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Regular attendance and participation in class work is required. Any students who fail to participate in practical sessions on a regular basis but still submit practical work may be invited to demonstrate that it is their own work.

Two pre-recorded lectures will be uploaded to the course Wattle site each week.


The course is not examined within the formal University Examination period. Tests will be scheduled during classes. Students should refer to the course Wattle site for information.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 20/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 06/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4

Progress Report

The vegetation journal is a write up (500-750 words excluding appendices) which describes the process of converting the Landsat 8 image into a vegetation dataset. This is an early item of assessment which will provide you with feedback that can be incorporated into your final report. You can think of it as a progress report for your overall consultancy. The vegetation journal should address the following:

  • An explanation of why a vegetation dataset is needed in relation to the land use planning exercise
  • A description of the supervised classification process
  • A Tassel Cap plot with an interpretation of land information classes in spectral space
  • A brief outline of sources of error and limitations
  • Maps of:
  • The study site
  • Bands 4,5 and 6
  • False colour composites of the Landsat 8 image
  • The final vegetation dataset

Note #1: you can use the bullet points above as headings or create your own structure. Remember that you can use an appendix for supporting information that is important but doesn’t need to be in the main body of the report (e.g. you may not want to put all false colour composites in the main body).

Note #2: the lectures in weeks 1-3 will have many tips to assist you with writing the progress report.

Value: 10%

Submission: Via Turnitin

Rubric: Please refer to the course Wattle site

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 03/09/2021
Return of Assessment: 17/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Critical review of journal paper

Instead of the first semester test, ENVS6015 and HPO students must submit a critical review of the two part journal paper shown below. PDF files for Walker et al., (1986) and Jupp et al., (1986) are available on Wattle:

  • Walker, J., Jupp, D., Penridge, L. and Tian, G. (1986). Interpretation of vegetation structure in Landsat MSS imagery: a case study in disturbed semi-arid Eucalypt woodlands. Part 1 Field data analysis. Journal of Environmental Management, 23: 19-33
  • Jupp, D., Walker, J. and Penridge, L. (1986). Interpretation of vegetation structure in Landsat MSS imagery: a case study in disturbed semi-arid Eucalypt woodlands. Part 2. Model-based analysis. Journal of Environmental Management, 23: 35-57

There will be a discussion-based tutorial to assist students doing the critical review. In general, students are not expected to have a full understanding of the statistical and technical procedures used in the papers. Rather, the emphasis is upon evaluating the contribution of the work and examining the assumptions and limitations of the research.

The critical review should address the following areas:

  • Assumptions and limitations
  • Application to other contexts/situations
  • Are the spatial and/or temporal analyses rigorous?
  • Could the paper be improved?
  • An evaluation of the overall contribution of the work

The review is to be 2,000 words in length (excluding appendices), Harvard referencing system, single spaced (PDF Document).

Value: 20%

Submission: Via Turnitin

Rubric: Please refer to the course Wattle site

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 29/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 12/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1


The test in Week 12 will be for all students (undergraduate and postgraduate). It will be an online test completed through Wattle and open over a 6 hour period. You will have 1 hour to complete the test once you start. Students should refer to the course Wattle site for confirmed specific scheduling information for this assessment task.

It will cover material covered during weeks 6-12 of the course. It will also include a short section covering technical skills acquired during the computer labs. A revision lecture will be provided prior to the test. The date indicated above is the last day of Week 12. Students should refer to the course Wattle site for confirmed scheduling information for this assessment task.

Value: 20%

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 29/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 16/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Final Report

The project report will include completion of all the computer-based lab classes and a 3-5,000 word report (excluding appendices). This should be laid out in a systematic manner with headings, sub-headings etc., and use of the Harvard system of referencing.

The report must be in PDF format and single-spaced.

Any work submitted late without prior agreement will be subject to penalties as stated in the Fenner School policy on late submission.

Completion of course requirements means attendance at, and satisfactory participation in the lab work, and completion and submission of ALL items of assessment. Students who regularly fail to attend labs, for whatever reason, may be invited to demonstrate that the work they hand in is, in fact, their own.

In your project report each map exported from ArcMap must be referenced by your student number as outlined in the lab notes. You MUST NOT delete these files, or the files from which they have been derived, from your computer account until the marked reports have been returned to you. If you use maps or files from other people, you must indicate this.

Projects must include a technical appendix with key commands and procedures used in the modeling process attached as part of the appendices.

Value: 50%

Submission: Via Turnitin

Rubric: Please refer to the course Wattle site

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Feedback on assignments is provided electronically on Turnitin via the Wattle course pages.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Resubmission is not permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Bruce Doran

Research Interests

Urban Sociology And Community Studies, Social And Cultural Geography, Causes And Prevention Of Crime, Human Geography, Urban And Regional Planning

Dr Bruce Doran

By Appointment
Dr Bruce Doran

Research Interests

Dr Bruce Doran

By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions