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SURV102 Geospatial Science

A study of techniques as applied in surveying to built and natural environments, including statistics, trigonometry, mechanics, engineering, introductory programming, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing.

This introductory paper covers foundational material important to future surveying papers and is recommended for progress into SURV 208 Introduction to GIS. GIS is an extremely useful tool for many disciplines in both undergraduate and postgraduate study. It encompasses:

  • Geometry and trigonometry
  • Geospatial data and methods
  • Statistics for measurement analysis
  • Physics mechanics: gravity and force balance

Paper title Geospatial Science
Paper code SURV102
Subject Surveying
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,200.45
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,586.40

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Schedule C
This introductory paper covers foundational material for surveying and GIS papers. It is recommended for progress into SURV 208 Introduction to GIS. GIS and spatial analysis are extremely useful tools in many disciplines, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Teaching staff
Convenor: Professor Christina Hulbe
Lecturers: Professor Christina Hulbe, Associate Professor Tony Moore, Colin O'Byrne and Dr Pascal Sirguey
Paper Structure
This paper reviews and introduces foundational topics in geospatial and measurement science, including:
  • Problem-solving approaches
  • Geometry, trigonometry, and vectors
  • Geospatial data and methods
  • Measurement errors and statistics
  • Physics mechanics
The semester is divided into the following modules:
  • Review of geometry and trigonometry as they relate to the spatial and measurement sciences, including field and lab applications. Problem solving and basic programming skill development.
    • Software: SketchUp, Matlab
  • Basic statistics for measurement analysis, including descriptive statistics and hypothesis tests.
    • Software: Matlab
  • An introduction to remote sensing and geographic information science (GIS)
    • Software: ArcGIS, Matlab
  • An introduction to physics principles encountered in surveying and geodesy.
    • Software: Matlab
Teaching Arrangements
Three or four 1-hour lectures, plus one 3-hour practical per week

A 3-hour final exam (all students must gain a minimum of 40% in the final exam in order to pass the paper)

Internal assessment will count for 50% of the final mark and all work must be completed to meet terms.
  • Practical labs 40%
  • Blackboard quizzes 50%
  • Reading responses and seminar reports 10%
  • Information regarding all aspects of the paper will be provided via the Blackboard site and during the lecture. The Blackboard site will be updated regularly. Your instructors are also available during scheduled lab practicals and at other times by arrangement. If you have a question, ask.
Student responsibilities and participation:
  • It is your responsibility as a student to be aware of the requirements for this paper. How you participate in the paper is both your responsibility and your choice. It is important that you attend lectures. Content is developed over sequences of days, so when you skip days, you miss information, linkages between key ideas and worked examples. You should be aware that you will not earn the best marks possible if you routinely arrive late or choose not to attend lectures and practical sessions.
Textbooks are not required for this paper.

All materials are available online.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Critical thinking, Information literacy, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to
  • Apply problem-solving skills and strategies, including computer implementation of simple mathematical algorithms
  • Identify and apply appropriate tools from geometry and trigonometry to complete spatial computations and solve spatial problems
  • Understand the importance of measurement errors, use descriptive statistics to quantify errors, and choose and apply appropriate hypothesis tests to gain deeper understanding of the data used in geospatial analysis
  • Use GIS to visualise data and conduct simple spatial analysis
  • Understand the fundamentals of remotely sensed data and its application in geospatial science
  • Apply equations of motion in scenarios relevant to surveying and geospatial science

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Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Monday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41
Friday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
T1 Monday 08:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
T2 Wednesday 08:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
T3 Wednesday 16:00-18:50 28-34, 36-41
T4 Thursday 08:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41