AZA3259 - Geographical information systems (GIS): Planning and decision making - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

South Africa School of Social Science


Mr Marshall Mdoka

Not offered in 2017


The unit introduces GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and discusses basic principles, techniques and applications of GIS in the field of geography and environmental science. It examines and reviews specific applications where GIS is a useful tool. Subjects covered include basics of GIS, spatial data sources, spatial data quality, spatial data analysis and decision support systems. It also includes the basic principles of remote sensing and the use of satellite imagery. Cases studies and hands-on practices allow students to gain experience in the use of GIS.


At the end of the unit students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the utility of digital spatial data handling for mapping and analysis from digital data, referring to themes in environmental science;
  2. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the key concepts concerning the application of GIS to environmental problems
  3. Explain how value can be added to the data in any information management system with geocodes, by implementing digital spatial data analysis;
  4. Be able to assess the nature of digital spatial data, offer tests for validation and descriptions of the relative value of data sets compared with (raw) data supplied by custodians;
  5. Demonstrate a high level of skills in the use of GIS software (Quantum GIS, Ilwis, ArcGIS) to solve environmental problems;
  6. Develop your own environmental applications of GIS ;
  7. Explain how digital spatial data handling is different from other digital data handling challenges, and how the theory on which it is based is central to spatial data handling for environmental science.


Within semester assessment: 60% + Exam: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.


AZA2259, ATS2259, ATS3259