• Class Number 6437
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Bruce Doran
    • Dr Luigi Renzullo
    • 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

Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems have advanced rapidly in recent decades and now play an important role in environmental fields including land and water management, forestry, climate science, biodiversity conservation, urban and rural planning, and social research. Spatial data are becoming increasingly accessible and are being utilised by a wide range of government and research agencies, consulting firms and other private businesses. This course provides the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to use remote sensing and GIS data and techniques to address applications in environment and society. It provides a true enabling technology for the earth, life and social sciences and a rich source of computational and representational challenges for the computer sciences. The course exposes students to a range of biophysical and social applications for remote sensing and GIS, from which each student independently investigates and writes a research paper. 

his course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Critically appraise spatial environment and society research and applications
  2. Critically synthesise and apply that knowledge to formulate innovative applications relevant to their professional experience
  3. Pursue investigation of a topic involving remote sensing and/or GIS with limited guidance
  4. Debate and communicate the results of that investigation in seminar and written formats

Research-Led Teaching

In this course, students will undertake a short independent research project from a list of suggested topics which follow logically from the lab work. The lab work covers topical issues and real-world applications, with an emphasis on using spatial approaches to address management challenges.

Examination Material or equipment

Documents are not permitted in the examination room.

Required Resources

Will be provided on wattle and in the lectures/lab sessions

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:

  • Oral feedback on draft research approaches
  • Written feedback on research papers

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 Week 1 Introduction & course overview
2 Weeks 2-7 Principles of spatial data analysis Themed computer activities, quizzes and readings Social Atlas (20%)
3 Week 7 Suggested topics, planning your research & exam preparation Research project work and exam preparation
4 Week 12 In-class exam (2 1/2 hours) In-class social GIS exam (30%) Short research paper (50%) (see Wattle for dates)

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Social Atlas 20 % 03/09/2021 17/09/2021 1,2
Examination - Social Applications of GIS 30 % 25/10/2021 08/11/2021 1,2
Short research paper - GIS 50 % 29/10/2021 16/11/2021 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 ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

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.

Assessment Task 1

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

Social Atlas

This assignment requires you to produce an atlas-style report for a local government department. The department is interested in assessing whether high schools in the Wollongong Local Government Area (LGA) are equitably distributed. In particular, the department would like to know whether there are any areas of relative disadvantage that may have low levels of access to education.

For this assignment, it is expected that you:

Use the supplied ABS data (LGA boundaries, Mesh Blocks, SEIFA data, SA1s and SA3s)

Use additional spatial data for context (e.g. a road network)

Assignment structure:

Structure your atlas with the following sections:

·        Write a short context/introductory statement at the start of the report outlining your approach to presenting a visual assessment of access to high school education and disadvantage in the Wollongong area. It is expected that you make strategic use of references to address the general issues of accessibility, disadvantage and service delivery. It is expected that you explain your logic for classification and colour schemes. 


·        Present a series of maps in the main part of the report. The maps should profile logical sub-regions of Wollongong, with an emphasis on SEIFA data and access to high schools. You are expected to choose how many maps to present here – remember that, whilst it is an atlas, the emphasis is on effective communication in relation to the brief. The PDF version of the ABS Social Atlas of Canberra may be useful for formatting ideas: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/2030.82006?OpenDocument


·         Discussion: in this section, provide your interpretation, based on the maps you have presented, about the distribution of high schools in the Wollongong area and whether there are any areas of relative disadvantage that may have low levels of access to education. It is expected that you balance your interpretations against potential limitations associated with the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP) and the Ecological Fallacy.


·        Appendix: You may want to include an appendix if there is additional material you’d like to present or cite to support your findings. 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 25/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 08/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Examination - Social Applications of GIS

The social GIS exam will be run during the lab time in week 12. The exam will be delivered through Wattle. The exam will be 2 hours long and will have the following sections:


  • SECTION A. Short answer section (40%)
  • SECTION B. Detailed theory section (30%)
  • SECTION C. Problem section (30%)


A revision lecture will be provided along with example questions. An exam strategy will also discussed during lab sessions.

Assessment Task 3

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

Short research paper - GIS

The research paper is in the form of a short journal article. The length of the paper will be 2000 words, excluding appendices. It will cover a more in-depth consideration of one of the lab blocks covered in the course. Each of the labs in weeks 1-4 have assignment options (e.g. a spatial analysis of light rail usage in Canberra; the relationship between access to fast food and social disadvantage). The labs will give sufficient grounding to undertake the projects. The research paper should include the following sections:

·        An abstract;

·        A literature review which critical engages with relevant literature;

·        A research methods section;

·        A results section which presents a deeper examination of the issues and data covered in the relevant lab block;

·        A discussion where an interpretation of key findings is given and assessed against relevant literature;

·        A short conclusion components that summarizes the contribution of the paper

Length and format ENVS6319 students: 3,000 words (excluding appendices), Harvard referencing system, single spaced, PDF Document submitted via Turnitin. Appendices can contain supplementary information and need to be clearly linked to the research paper. ENVS6319 students are expected to provide a more comprehensive literature review and discussion of their spatial analysis.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community 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 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 University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submissions must be through Turnitin. Assignments are submitted using Turnitin in the course Wattle site. 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.Assignments must include the cover sheet available here. Please keep a copy of the tasks completed for your records.

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

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure.

The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request it 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.

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.

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

Assignments will be returned by Wattle or email.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions 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 of assignments will not normally be accepted and would require justification by extraordinary circumstances, to be judged case by case.

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 Luigi Renzullo

Research Interests

Dr Luigi Renzullo

Dr Bruce Doran

Research Interests

Dr Bruce Doran

By Appointment

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