GISCI 242 : Principles of GIScience


2023 Semester One (1233) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Spatial analysis and GIScience applications of spatial data handling for built and natural environments within the context of theoretical frameworks for understanding human-driven and physical phenomena. Develops advanced practical knowledge of methodology and applications for changing environments. Focus topics include climate change, air pollution, healthcare access, transportation, and 3D game worlds.

Course Overview

Course Objectives: (1) To understand fundamental concepts and theories underpinning spatial data analysis; (2) To learn how to use important software systems/packages to undertake common types of spatial analysis, and to know how to interpret the results; and (4) To develop communication skills of research results to as both written and oral forms. This course is the second stage of the GIScience curriculum and builds upon the skills and concepts of Geog 140/103, refining the broad base of knowledge given in that course. Course topics will contain examples from across GIScience, including Human Geography, Physical Geography, Transport Geography, Qualitative GIS, Geovisualisation, and others. 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 60 points passed Restriction: GEOG 318

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate independent theoretical and practical knowledge of and proficiency in the use of spatial statistics and spatial analytic methodologies (vector model), including and understanding of the appropriateness and limitations of their applications. Students will apply a number of GISci techniques to describe geographical phenomena. (Capability 1, 2 and 5)
  2. Hone an ethical geospatial practice in the context of the caveats of the real-world consequences of mapping and analysing people in place, and when handling and mapping socially and environmentally sensitive spatial data. (Capability 2, 5 and 6)
  3. Evaluate critically, and interpret the results/outputs/products of the application of spatial analyses methodologies (spatial statistics, geovisualization) to spatial datasets. (Capability 2)
  4. Identify opportunities for the deployment of spatial data science methodologies and technologies as core components of broader promotions of social wellbieng and environmental sustainability (Capability 6)
  5. Use maps and geovisualisation as effective means of communicating the results of spatial data analysis. (Capability 4)
  6. Develop an understanding of current developments and shifts in the field of GIScience. Students will design a presentation to address these issues. (Capability 1 and 2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 30% Individual Test
Laboratories 60% Individual Coursework
Presentation 10% Group & Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of Environment Tuākana Programme aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection) and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved. This course is supported by our Programme Coordinator, Kaiāwhina/Māori student adviser, and Pacific student adviser. They are able to organize group study and facilitate direct assistance regarding material taught in this course. 

Key Topics

  • Exploratory spatial data analysis
  • Spatial statistics
  • Spatial and non-spatial queries
  • Network analysis
  • Multi-Criteria Evaluation models
  • Interpolation methods
  • Web Mapping and Scripting
  • Neogeography and Web 2.0
  • 2D and 3D Geovisualisation

Special Requirements

Students must complete practical work and participate in labs and lectures. 

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15-point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 24 hours of lectures, 24 hours of lab time, 15 hours of reading and reflecting on course content as well as 87 hours of assignment work and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled classes including lectures and laboratories/tutorials to complete components of the course. Lectures will be available as recordings but other learning activities including laboratories/tutorials will not be available as recordings.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

1. DeMers, M N, 2004. Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (3rd edition), New York: John Wiley
2. Haining, R, Wise, S, and Ma, J, 1998. Exploratory spatial data analysis in a geographic information system environment. The Statistician, 47, pp. 457-469
3. Longley, P., Goodchild, M, Maguire, D.J., and Rhind, D., W., 2015. Geographic Information Science and Systems
4. Haklay M, Singleton A & Parker C (2008) Web mapping 2.0: the Neogeography of the Geoweb. Geography Compass 2: 2011-2039
5. O’Sullivan D & Unwin DJ (2010) Geographic Information Analysis, 2nd edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
6. Schuurman N (2004) “Bringing it all together: using GIS to analyze and model spatial phenomena.” In GIS: A Short Introduction. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

 A couple of comments from last year:

 GIS242 has been the best course I have ever taken, regardless of the online transition. The lecturers and lab tutors taught online
exceptionally well and were easily contactable.

Material from the lectures and labs was always unique and covered many different ways that GIS tools can be used in the real world. This helped me understand how useful GIS is now, as well as how useful it will be in the future. This was the best course I've taken since I've been at university, and I am looking forward to furthering GIS courses such as 241.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 03/11/2022 01:25 p.m.