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


Spatial analysts are in high demand across the environment, health, engineering, agriculture, population and policy sectors as they possess the critical skills to use complex spatial data to provide solutions to the big questions facing landscapes, communities and economies. This unit focuses on student learning through practical and applied laboratories and field learning using drones, to support students in developing skills to manipulate, transform, analyse, and visualise big spatial data to provide solutions to a range of multi-disciplinary issues and questions.

This unit builds from the foundations of using geographic data from GEOG2201 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and focuses on core skills that directly relate to students seeking employment as a GIS / spatial analysts, or those seeking to develop the advanced spatial data handling and analysis skills to work in any disciplines that uses spatial data to address critical and important questions.

Skills that students will learn in this course include: foundational skills including programming concepts and an introduction to HTTP, automating the conversion of spatial data formats and working with cloud-native and big spatial data formats, assembling time-series datasets for analysis; accessing data and services using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs); practical experience using drones to collect multispectral spatial data; big data wrangling, analysis, and visualization techniques; web-mapping; and, applying big spatial datasets to answer complex problems.

The unit is designed in two parts. Part 1 is an initial program of 8 weeks, which is focused on developing advanced GIS and big-data programming and handling skills, using data from a range of disciplines. This course uses a student-led inquiry style of teaching, where background materials are presented via on-line learning modules and vignettes, and then supported through face-to-face laboratories. In the last 4 weeks, students apply their skills and techniques learned across part 1 of the course, on an applied small research topic of their choosing. The course is suited to students from a range of disciplines.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Geographical Sciences; Geographical and Spatial Science major sequences

Students are able to (1) demonstrate understanding of core geospatial data management concepts and techniques for using big geospatial datasets; (2) develop skills in geospatial data collection, quality control and manipulation that allows big geospatial data to be used to address complex biophysical and social questions; (3) implement programming and automation methods to manipulate and analyse complex geospatial datasets, producing synthesised data products to inform decision making; and (4) produce effective written and oral communication to explain and summarise results from geospatial data manipulation and analysis.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) laboratory portfolio/tests; (2) spatial analysis project, data audit and design brief; and (3) spatial analysis individual project. 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)
Dr John Duncan
Unit rules
Successful completion of
GEOG2201 Geographic Information Systems
Contact hours
Structured practical classes (Computer Lab): 2 x 2 hours per week for weeks 1-8
Student-led assignment work (Computer Lab): 2 x 2 hours per week for weeks 9-11
(Note: this may include a field-based drone practical at Shenton Park Research Station)
  • 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.