• Class Number 6795
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Bruce Doran
    • Dr Bruce Doran
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
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 organistions 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.

Honours Pathway Option

Students who take this option are expected to write a critical review of a journal paper instead of doing the first test (20% of overall assessment). The essay is expected to show greater conceptual understanding and a degree of discovery learning. All other assessment and requirements remain the same. 

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 environmental 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 

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

Honours Pathway Option

Students who take this option are expected to write a critical review of a journal paper instead of doing the first test. The essay is expected to show greater conceptual understanding and a degree of discovery learning. All other assessment and requirements remain the same. Students should make themselves known to the Course Convenor either in person or via email by the end of Week 2.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to the unitCourse focus: A hypothetical problem
2 Remote sensing I: introductionRemote sensing II: principles
3 Remote sensing III: Vegetation classificationsRemote sensing IV: Vegetation classifications 2
4 Remote sensing skills reviewMcHarg and the overlay method HPO critical review workshop - TBAProgress report (10%): See agreed assessment on course Wattle site
5 Representing geography and data typesFuzzy Logic
6 Data Models and Structures IIn-class TEST (ENVS2015 students) First Test for ENVS2015 students (20%): See agreed assessment on course Wattle site
HPO Students (20%): critical review. Submission via Turnitin. See agreed assessment on course Wattle site
7 Semester Break
8 Data Models and Structures IIData Models and Structures III
9 DEMs & Hydrological Models IPulling the modelling exercise together
10 Spatial Data Transfer StandardsShape of the Earth, Map projections
11 Spatial Analysis ISpatial Analysis II
12 Careers in GIS and Remote SensingCourse Summary and test revision Second Test (20%): See agreed assessment on course Wattle siteFinal Report (50%): See agreed assessment on course Wattle site

Tutorial Registration

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Progress report 10 % 2,3,4
Test 1 20 % 1
Test 2 20 % 1
Final Report 50 % 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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 weeks 6 and 12. Students should refer to the course Wattle site for information.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,4

Progress report

The progress report is a write up for the client (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 vegetation journal.

Value: 10%

Submission: Via Turnitin

Rubric: Please refer to the course Wattle site

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1

Test 1

The first test will be held during Week 6. 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. General topics for the test questions will be provided in advance and advice given during lectures about a strategy for the test.

Value: 20%

Note: HPO students are not required to complete Test 1. Students undertaking the HPO will instead complete the critical review with the postgraduate students. Students should refer to the course Wattle site for details about this assessment task.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1

Test 2

The second test will be for all students (undergraduate and postgraduate). The second test will be held during the exam period. 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 %
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. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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
By Appointment
Dr Bruce Doran

Research Interests

Dr Bruce Doran

By Appointment
By Appointment

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