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Study Geographic Information Systems at Otago

Take a look around you notice how every feature has its own unique and precise location.

These locations can be fixed by geographical coordinates and measured in one, two or three dimensions in space. The process of linking features with geo-referenced coordinates creates spatial data, and these data are stored and managed in geographic information systems (GIS).

GIS have revolutionised the way that spatial data are used – many aspects of our everyday lives are connected with GIS in one way or another, from the obvious Google Earth and mobile location technologies to morning mail delivery, our electricity supply, through to weather forecasts every evening.

Apply for the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours (BAppSc(Hons)) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Science (PGCertAppSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science (PGDipAppSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021

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Why study Geographic Information Systems?

GIS are fundamental to urban and regional planning, wildlife management, using business intelligence in commerce, tourism, public health, traffic management, and a host of other applications. It is a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry, with opportunities almost anywhere in the global economy.

It is an area of study that is truly cross-disciplinary. GIS combines academic rigour with practical application. Accurate, complete and up-to-date spatial information is an immensely valuable resource for businesses and governments.

You will gain a thorough understanding of spatial data, analysis, and visualisation, and be able to apply GIS techniques.

You'll also learn about mobile GIS and web mapping as well as remote sensing (including from drones) and GNSS (GPS positioning.

You will learn skills in project management, cartographic representation, database design, and basic computer programming.

Career opportunities

There are diverse opportunities for GIS graduates throughout New Zealand and worldwide. You'll gain the specialist skills needed to work as a GIS or Remote Sensing operator, analyst or manager.

You may end up employed by a large corporation, working in local, regional or the national government, or equally, you could work for a consultancy firm. This kind of work tends to have plenty of variety, and opportunities for travel.

You might be identifying the geographical distribution of endangered plant, animal or bird species. You could work for a regional council, analysing the risk of landslips or flood mitigation; or advising on planning issues. You will also be in an excellent position to launch your own business after you have gained some experience in the spatial information industry.

Background required

There is some flexibility in entry requirements, but demonstrated strength in Year 13 Mathematics is recommended. AS well as learning theory and applications of GIS in lectures, you'll gain hands-on experience. You'll use cutting-edge software, and you could even be involved in customising GIS tools for specific purposes. Your studies will also involve filed trips, visiting sites for which you have a satellite image or something similar, and confirming what each feature represents. You'll carry out 6-10 weeks of work experience over the summer at the end of your second and/or third year, make connections between the knowledge you gain in the classroom and the workplace. It will also help you to start building a network of contacts in the industry.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.

*It is a requirement that every Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) normally includes an approved minor subject or an approved second major subject. Usually such a minor or second major subject must be selected from the approved combinations of major subjects with minor or second major subjects. Some exceptions may apply. For details see:

Full list of available approved minor and second major subject areas

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) majoring in Geographic Information Systems

Year Papers Points
100-level

COMP 101  Foundations of Information Systems

COMP 161  Computer Programming

COMP 162  Foundations of Computer Science

MATH 160  Mathematics 1, or MATH 170  Mathematics 2

SURV 102 Geospatial Science

At least one of COMP 151, GEOG 101, GEOG 102, STAT 110, SURV 101, ENGL 228

Note: Students are exempt from COMP 161 if they have gained entry to COMP 162 by passing COMP 151 with a grade of at least B or via an Advanced Placement Test.

18

18

18

18

18

18

200-level

INFO 201 Developing Information Systems 1

INFO 202 Developing Information Systems 2

SURV 208  Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

At least one 200-level GEOG or SURV paper

18

18

18

18

Above 200-level

SURV 309  Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies

SURV 319  Spatial Algorithms and Programming

SURV 411  Spatial Analysis and Modelling

At least one further 300-level GEOG or SURV paper

18

18

18

18

Plus

108 further points, including either requirements for an approved minor or approved second major subject or other approved papers

108

Total   360


Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours (BAppSc(Hons)) in Geographic Information Systems

Papers

Master of Applied Science (MAppSc) in Geographic Information Systems

Papers
  • SURV 509  Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies

  • SURV 511  Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling

  • SURV 512  Geovisualisation and Cartography

  • SURV 513  Resource Mapping and Image Processing

  • SURV 519  Spatial Analysis and Programming

  • Two further approved 400-level papers

  • APPS 597 Supervised Independent Study or APPS 598 Workplace-based Project

Master of Science (MSc) in Geographic Information Systems

Papers and Thesis
  • GEOG 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four papers from:
    • SURV 509  Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies
    • SURV 511  Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling
    • SURV 512  Geovisualisation and Cartography
    • SURV 513  Resource Mapping and Image Processing
    • SURV 519  Spatial Analysis and Programming
    • and/or other 400- or 500-level papers approved by the Programme Director

  • Thesis: GISS 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Minor subject requirements

Geographic Information Systems as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Level Papers Points
100-level SURV 102  Geospatial Science

18

200-level SURV 208  Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 18
Above 200-level

SURV 309  Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies

SURV 319  Spatial Analysis and Programming

SURV 411  Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling

18

18

18

Total   90

Papers

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
SURV101 2021 Introductory Surveying 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV102 2021 Geospatial Science 18 points Second Semester
SURV169 2021 Special Topic 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV201 2021 Surveying Methods 1 18 points First Semester
SURV202 2021 Surveying Mathematics 18 points Second Semester
SURV203 2021 Land Development Engineering 1 18 points First Semester
SURV204 2021 Land Development Engineering 2 18 points Second Semester
SURV205 2021 Statutory Planning A 18 points Second Semester
SURV206 2021 Land Tenure 1 18 points First Semester
SURV207 2021 Cadastral Surveying 1 18 points Second Semester
SURV208 2021 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 18 points First Semester
SURV297 2021 Land Development Field Course 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV298 2021 Introductory Field Camp 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV299 2021 Second Year Field Course 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV301 2021 Surveying Methods 2 18 points 1st Non standard period
SURV302 2021 Geodetic Reference Systems and Network Analysis 18 points First Semester
SURV303 2021 Urban Design 1 18 points First Semester
SURV304 2021 Land Development Engineering 3 18 points Second Semester
SURV306 2021 Land Tenure 2 18 points Second Semester
SURV307 2021 Cadastral Surveying 2 18 points Second Semester
SURV309 2021 Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies 18 points First Semester
SURV319 2021 Spatial Algorithms and Programming 18 points First Semester
SURV322 2021 Hydrographic Surveying 18 points First Semester
SURV329 2021 Selected Topics in Surveying 1 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV399 2021 Third Year Field Course 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV411 2021 Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling 18 points Second Semester
SURV412 2021 Geovisualisation and Cartography 18 points Second Semester
SURV413 2021 Resource Mapping and Image Processing 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV450 2021 Professional Practice 18 points Second Semester
SURV451 2021 Surveying Methods 3 18 points First Semester
SURV452 2021 Hydrographic Surveying 2 18 points Second Semester
SURV453 2021 Urban Design 2 18 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV454 2021 Environmental Engineering 18 points Not offered in 2021
SURV455 2021 Statutory Planning B 18 points First Semester
SURV456 2021 Land Tenure 3 18 points Second Semester
SURV457 2021 Cadastral Surveying 3 18 points First Semester
SURV458 2021 Marine Law and the Environment 18 points Not offered in 2021
SURV459 2021 Engineering Surveying 18 points Second Semester
SURV460 2021 Construction Management 9 points Second Semester
SURV462 2021 Hydrographic Field Design and Voyage 18 points Not offered in 2021
SURV463 2021 Advanced Practical Techniques in Hydrography 18 points Not offered in 2021
SURV469 2021 Selected Topics in Surveying 2 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV470 2021 Professional Project 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV473 2021 Special Topic 36 points Not offered in 2021
SURV474 2021 Special Topic 36 points Not offered in 2021
SURV480 2021 Research Project 36 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
SURV499 2021 Vacation Employment 0 points First Semester, Second Semester, Full Year
SURV509 2021 Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies 20 points First Semester
SURV511 2021 Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling 20 points Second Semester
SURV512 2021 Geovisualisation and Cartography 20 points Second Semester
SURV513 2021 Resource Mapping and Image Processing 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV519 2021 Spatial Algorithms and Programming 20 points First Semester
SURV551 2021 Advanced Surveying Methods 20 points First Semester
SURV552 2021 Advanced Hydrographic Surveying 20 points Second Semester
SURV553 2021 Advanced Urban Design 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV554 2021 Advanced Environmental Engineering 20 points Not offered, expected to be offered in 2022
SURV555 2021 Advanced Statutory Planning 20 points First Semester
SURV556 2021 Advanced Land Tenure 20 points Second Semester
SURV557 2021 Advanced Cadastral Surveying 20 points First Semester
SURV558 2021 Advanced Marine Law and the Environment 20 points Not offered in 2021
SURV559 2021 Advanced Engineering Surveying 20 points Second Semester
SURV562 2021 Hydrographic Field Design and Voyage 20 points Not offered in 2021
SURV563 2021 Advanced Practical Techniques in Hydrography 20 points Not offered in 2021
SURV569 2021 Advanced Topics in Surveying 20 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV573 2021 Special Topic 40 points Not offered in 2021
SURV574 2021 Special Topic 40 points Not offered in 2021
SURV575 2021 Special Topic 40 points Not offered in 2021
SURV580 2021 Research project 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
SURV590 2021 Dissertation 60 points Full Year

Key information for future students

Contact us

Dr Antoni Moore
Tel +64 3 479 7589
Fax +64 3 479 7686

Email tony.moore@otago.ac.nz
Website Applied Science programme