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.
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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.
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.
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.
Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.
- Bachelor of Applied Science* (BAppSc)
- Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc)
- Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc)
- Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours (BAppSc(Hons))
- Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Science (PGCertAppSc)
- Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Science (PGDipAppSc)
- Master of Applied Science (MAppSc)
- Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)
*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:
Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) majoring in Geographic Information Systems
COMP 101 Foundations of Information Systems
COMP 161 Computer Programming
COMP 162 Foundations of Computer Science
SURV 102 Geospatial Science
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.
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
|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
108 further points, including either requirements for an approved minor or approved second major subject or other approved papers
Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours (BAppSc(Hons)) in Geographic Information Systems
Master of Applied Science (MAppSc) in Geographic Information Systems
Master of Science (MSc) in Geographic Information Systems
|Papers and 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
|100-level||SURV 102 Geospatial Science|| |
|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
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||Semester 1, Semester 2|
|SURV102||2021||Geospatial Science||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV169||2021||Special Topic||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|SURV201||2021||Surveying Methods 1||18 points||Semester 1|
|SURV202||2021||Surveying Mathematics||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV203||2021||Land Development Engineering 1||18 points||Semester 1|
|SURV204||2021||Land Development Engineering 2||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV205||2021||Statutory Planning A||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV206||2021||Land Tenure 1||18 points||Semester 1|
|SURV207||2021||Cadastral Surveying 1||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV208||2021||Introduction to Geographic Information Systems||18 points||Semester 1|
|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||Semester 1|
|SURV303||2021||Urban Design 1||18 points||Semester 1|
|SURV304||2021||Land Development Engineering 3||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV306||2021||Land Tenure 2||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV307||2021||Cadastral Surveying 2||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV309||2021||Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies||18 points||Semester 1|
|SURV319||2021||Spatial Algorithms and Programming||18 points||Semester 1|
|SURV322||2021||Hydrographic Surveying||18 points||Semester 1|
|SURV329||2021||Selected Topics in Surveying 1||18 points||Semester 1, Semester 2|
|SURV399||2021||Third Year Field Course||0 points||1st Non standard period|
|SURV411||2021||Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV412||2021||Geovisualisation and Cartography||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV413||2021||Resource Mapping and Image Processing||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|SURV450||2021||Professional Practice||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV451||2021||Surveying Methods 3||18 points||Semester 1|
|SURV452||2021||Hydrographic Surveying 2||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV453||2021||Urban Design 2||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|SURV454||2021||Environmental Engineering||18 points||Not offered in 2021|
|SURV455||2021||Statutory Planning B||18 points||Semester 1|
|SURV456||2021||Land Tenure 3||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV457||2021||Cadastral Surveying 3||18 points||Semester 1|
|SURV458||2021||Marine Law and the Environment||18 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023|
|SURV459||2021||Engineering Surveying||18 points||Semester 2|
|SURV460||2021||Construction Management||9 points||Semester 2|
|SURV462||2021||Hydrographic Field Design and Voyage||18 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023|
|SURV463||2021||Advanced Practical Techniques in Hydrography||18 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023|
|SURV469||2021||Selected Topics in Surveying 2||18 points||Semester 1, Semester 2|
|SURV470||2021||Professional Project||18 points||Semester 1, Semester 2|
|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||Semester 1, Semester 2, Full Year|
|SURV509||2021||Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies||20 points||Semester 1|
|SURV511||2021||Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling||20 points||Semester 2|
|SURV512||2021||Geovisualisation and Cartography||20 points||Semester 2|
|SURV513||2021||Resource Mapping and Image Processing||20 points||Not offered in 2021|
|SURV519||2021||Spatial Algorithms and Programming||20 points||Semester 1|
|SURV551||2021||Advanced Surveying Methods||20 points||Semester 1|
|SURV552||2021||Advanced Hydrographic Surveying||20 points||Semester 2|
|SURV553||2021||Advanced Urban Design||20 points||Not offered in 2021|
|SURV554||2021||Advanced Environmental Engineering||20 points||Not offered in 2021|
|SURV555||2021||Advanced Statutory Planning||20 points||Semester 1|
|SURV556||2021||Advanced Land Tenure||20 points||Semester 2|
|SURV557||2021||Advanced Cadastral Surveying||20 points||Semester 1|
|SURV558||2021||Advanced Marine Law and the Environment||20 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023|
|SURV559||2021||Advanced Engineering Surveying||20 points||Semester 2|
|SURV562||2021||Hydrographic Field Design and Voyage||20 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023|
|SURV563||2021||Advanced Practical Techniques in Hydrography||20 points||Not offered, expected to be offered in 2023|
|SURV569||2021||Advanced Topics in Surveying||20 points||Semester 1, Semester 2|
|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|