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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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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

*Further information will be available for these papers in early September.

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

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
SURV101 2020 Introductory Surveying 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV102 2020 Geospatial Science 18 points Second Semester
SURV169 2020 Special Topic: Nautical Theory 1 18 points First Semester
SURV201 2020 Surveying Methods 1 18 points First Semester
SURV202 2020 Surveying Mathematics 18 points Second Semester
SURV203 2020 Land Development Engineering 1 18 points First Semester
SURV204 2020 Land Development Engineering 2 18 points Second Semester
SURV205 2020 Statutory Planning A 18 points Second Semester
SURV206 2020 Land Tenure 1 18 points First Semester
SURV207 2020 Cadastral Surveying 1 18 points Second Semester
SURV208 2020 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 18 points First Semester
SURV297 2020 Land Development Field Course 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV298 2020 Introductory Field Camp 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV299 2020 Second Year Field Course 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV301 2020 Surveying Methods 2 18 points 1st Non standard period
SURV302 2020 Geodetic Reference Systems and Network Analysis 18 points First Semester
SURV303 2020 Urban Design 1 18 points First Semester
SURV304 2020 Land Development Engineering 3 18 points Second Semester
SURV306 2020 Land Tenure 2 18 points First Semester
SURV307 2020 Cadastral Surveying 2 18 points Second Semester
SURV309 2020 Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies 18 points First Semester
SURV319 2020 Spatial Algorithms and Programming 18 points Second Semester
SURV322 2020 Hydrographic Surveying 18 points Not offered in 2020
SURV329 2020 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2020
SURV399 2020 Third Year Field Course 0 points 1st Non standard period
SURV411 2020 Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling 18 points Second Semester
SURV412 2020 Geovisualisation and Cartography 18 points Not offered in 2020
SURV413 2020 Resource Mapping and Image Processing 18 points Second Semester
SURV450 2020 Professional Practice 18 points Second Semester
SURV451 2020 Surveying Methods 3 18 points Not offered in 2020
SURV452 2020 Hydrographic Surveying 2 18 points Not offered in 2020
SURV453 2020 Urban Design 2 18 points Second Semester
SURV454 2020 Environmental Engineering 18 points First Semester
SURV455 2020 Statutory Planning B 18 points First Semester
SURV456 2020 Land Tenure 3 18 points Not offered in 2020
SURV457 2020 Cadastral Surveying 3 18 points First Semester
SURV458 2020 Marine Law and the Environment 18 points Not offered in 2020
SURV459 2020 Engineering Surveying 18 points Second Semester
SURV460 2020 Construction Management 9 points Second Semester
SURV462 2020 Hydrographic Field Design and Voyage 18 points Not offered in 2020
SURV463 2020 Advanced Practical Techniques in Hydrography 18 points Not offered in 2020
SURV469 2020 Special Topic 18 points Not offered in 2020
SURV470 2020 Professional Project 18 points First Semester, Second Semester
SURV473 2020 Special Topic 36 points Not offered in 2020
SURV474 2020 Special Topic 36 points Not offered in 2020
SURV480 2020 Research Project 36 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
SURV499 2020 Vacation Employment 0 points First Semester, Second Semester, Full Year
SURV509 2020 Introduction to Remote Sensing Technologies 20 points First Semester
SURV511 2020 Advanced Spatial Analysis and Modelling 20 points Second Semester
SURV512 2020 Geovisualisation and Cartography 20 points Not offered in 2020
SURV513 2020 Resource Mapping and Image Processing 20 points Second Semester
SURV519 2020 Spatial Algorithms and Programming 20 points Second Semester
SURV551 2020 Advanced Surveying Methods 20 points Not offered in 2020
SURV552 2020 Advanced Hydrographic Surveying 20 points Not offered in 2020
SURV553 2020 Advanced Urban Design 20 points Second Semester
SURV554 2020 Advanced Environmental Engineering 20 points First Semester
SURV555 2020 Advanced Statutory Planning 20 points First Semester
SURV556 2020 Advanced Land Tenure 20 points Not offered in 2020
SURV557 2020 Advanced Cadastral Surveying 20 points First Semester
SURV558 2020 Advanced Marine Law and the Environment 20 points Not offered in 2020
SURV559 2020 Advanced Engineering Surveying 20 points Second Semester
SURV562 2020 Hydrographic Field Design and Voyage 20 points Not offered in 2020
SURV563 2020 Advanced Practical Techniques in Hydrography 20 points Not offered in 2020
SURV569 2020 Special Topic 20 points Not offered in 2020
SURV573 2020 Special Topic 40 points Not offered in 2020
SURV574 2020 Special Topic 40 points Not offered in 2020
SURV575 2020 Special Topic 40 points Not offered in 2020
SURV580 2020 Research project 40 points Full Year, 1st Non standard period
SURV590 2020 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