Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


Everything on the Earth exists in some place and time. Location is an important part of understanding the nature of a phenomenon and its relationships with other aspects of a system. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are now widely accepted as a technology for examining objects and events in space and time, and spatial analysis is an important skill which is required in many disciplines. This unit is designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of spatial analysis and the application of GIS through understanding theory through podcasts, seminars and practical problem solving in computer laboratory exercises.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Conservation Biology; Environmental Science; Geographical Sciences; Applied Human Geography; Agricultural Science and Technology; Wildlife Conservation; Environmental Science and Management; Marine Science; Agricultural Technology; Environmental Management; Marine and Coastal Processes; Agribusiness and Agricultural Science; Environmental Science and Ecology; Environmental Engineering; Geographical and Spatial Science major sequences
  • Level 2 option in the Environmental Geography and Planning; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Social and Environmental Sustainability major sequences
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) recognise different types of spatial data and identify how geographic information is related through space and time using core GIS concepts such as interactivity and interdependency; (2) operate QGIS software to analyse different types of geospatial data; (3) apply a range of spatial processing techniques, including the use of spatial statistics, to assess both vector and raster datasets; and (4) communicate geospatial information using clear and informative mapping approaches that follow fundamental principles of cartography.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) short report; (2) full report; and (3) quiz questions. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Alex Saunders
Unit rules
36 points of prior study
Contact hours
The total workload for the unit is 150 hours. This includes podcasts for viewing as well as reading to be undertaken prior to attending a compulsory 1-hour seminar each week. At each weekly seminar students will contribute to interactive discussions based on designated reading. In addition to seminar discussions, students will attend compulsory 2-hour lab sessions that provide a comprehensive PC-based GIS exercise designed to develop and enhance their practical GIS skills. Completion of these compulsory seminars and labs is necessary to enable skills for completing written unit assessment. Independent learning is also required throughout the unit.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.