Module code: ENG1097

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the use of remote sensing data and geographical information systems to support the analysis of the natural and built environment. Remote sensing techniques allow the derivation of a wide range of spatial data while geographical information systems provide the tools for analysing spatial data.  This module introduces the theory and practice of geographical information systems and remote sensing, providing practical training in the use of geographical information systems.

This module is taught on an intensive basis, with classes running over a three / four week period. This intensive teaching format facilitates learning by allowing the student to really focus on the module content. It also assists with cohort development as students work closely together on collaborative tasks that develop their understanding of sustainable development challenges.

GIS skills and techniques learnt in this module may be used in subsequent modules such as the Sustainable housing and communities: Multi-national project, and the Dissertation by extending the range of data students can use to support their analyses in these modules.

Module provider

Sustainability, Civil & Env Engineering

Module Leader

ANDRIES Ana (Sust & CEE)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 109

Lecture Hours: 6

Laboratory Hours: 22

Guided Learning: 8

Captured Content: 5

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

  • The role of GIS in environmental sciences

  • Measurement and representation of geographical information

  • Vector and raster data analysis

  • Cartography and the visual presentation of spatial data

  • Remote sensing data sources

  • The economics of using remote sensing data

  • Remote sensing data acquisition, processing, visualisation and manipulation

  • Interpretation and analysis of remote sensing data

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Assignment 1: GIS analysis 45
Coursework Assignment 2: Remote sensing analysis 55

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to assist students develop their practical geographical information analysis skills. Students will create a portfolio of GIS and remote sensing analyses which they complete in the computer laboratory sessions and through independent learning. The portfolio consists of three separate analysis reports which are spread over the module, allowing students to build on their learning experiences and feedback from earlier assessments while completing later assessments. The first of these analyses is a formative assessment while the subsequent two are summative assessments.


The summative assessment for this module consists of:
- Two GIS / remote sensing analysis reports.

Formative assessment and feedback:

Students receive verbal feedback from the instructor during the computer laboratory sessions as they complete GIS exercises, some of which form part of their GIS and remote sensing portfolio.  Where students work in pairs during the computer laboratory sessions students will receive feedback from their peers as they work through exercises together. Students will be given the opportunity to submit a GIS analysis report for formative assessment prior to completing the two GIS / remote sensing analysis reports for summative assessment.

Module aims

  • To introduce the concept of spatial analysis and the use of geographical information systems for spatial analysis
  • To give students practical experience using geographical information systems for spatial analysis
  • To introduce students to remote sensing data sources for spatial analysis

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand the fundamental principles of spatial data analysis CK
002 Be able to identify, acquire and evaluate spatial data from a range of sources CKPT
003 Be able to use a geographical information system for basic spatial data analysis CKPT
004 Be able to prepare high quality maps and visualisations to effectively present spatial data CKPT
005 Be able to interpret and describe the results of spatial data analysis CKPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

-Provide an introduction to the theory and practice of geographical information systems and remote sensing data.

-Give students hands-on experience using geographical information systems and analysing spatial data.

-Provide students with the opportunity to apply spatial data analysis to sustainable development related global and local challenges.


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures and class discussions (6 hours)

  • Captured content (5 hours)

  • Guided computer laboratory sessions (22 hours)

Teaching and learning on this module will be via captured content lectures, live lectures and class discussions, together with directed computer laboratory sessions where the instructor will help students work through GIS exercises both individually and in pairs. The GIS exercises will each relate to global or local sustainable development challenges.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENG1097

Other information

The Centre for Environment and Sustainability is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability and Resourcefulness and Resilience, in line with the Surrey Curriculum Framework. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Sustainability: Remote sensing and GIS are used for sustainable land management. Spatial data and GIS facilitate the tracking of environmental change by permitting the simultaneous analysis of multiple large datasets. GIS analysis can support effective decision making for the management of ecosystems, natural resources and communities.  This module teaches students how to use GIS through the completion of a series of spatial data analysis tasks.

Digital capabilities: Knowing where to find and knowing how to process spatial digital data extends a student’s range of digital capabilities. In this module students access a range of spatial data and learn how to manipulate and analyse this data using GIS using a widely used GIS software package.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Environment and Sustainability BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2024/5 academic year.