Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
An Introduction to Landscape Ecology and Geographic Information Systems
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Practical exercise 2. Workshop record and report.  2500 Words  60%
Semester Assessment Practical exercise 1. Workshop record and report.  1500 Words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary practical exercise 1.  1500 Words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary practical exercise 2.  2500 Words  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate an ability to effectively incorporate a range of data types into a GIS.

Use GIS to present a variety of data in appropriate formats.

Undertake analysis of data using a variety of tools within GIS software.

Evaluate the spatial pattern of habitats and explain how pattern might influence ecological processes within a landscape.

Brief description

Investigating the spatial distribution patterns of organisms is of fundamental importance in many of the environmental sciences. Technological developments, particularly in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), over the last few decades have unlocked the potential to record, and analyse spatial information at scales ranging from local habitats to the global. GIS provides the means for integrating and analysing data from widely available sources such as maps, aerial photographs, satellite imagery with fieldwork measurements increasingly captured utilising devices such as smart phones or tablets. In parallel with these technological advances landscape and spatial ecology have emerged as significant sub-disciplines seeking to understand patterns and relationships and aid decision making in areas such as conservation and the management of human impacts. This module will provide students with both a background in spatial ecological concepts and software skills for practical applications of GIS in the workplace.


Each week there will be two workshops (of two hours each) in which students will undertake practical activities with staff in attendance to provide support, some activities may involve collection of field data. Workshops will be supported by a range of materials provided on Blackboard some of which must be completed prior to the workshop.
• Principles of GIS. Coordinate systems, projections and geo-referencing.
• Obtaining data and incorporation of data into a GIS, types of secondary data, collection of field data and use of GPS.
• Organising and presenting spatial data.
• Analysis of spatial data and practical applications of GIS such a habitat suitability mapping.
• Characterising and analysing patterns in habitats and understanding their ecological implications.
• Managing landscapes to achieve objectives such as species conservation or improved ecosystem function.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Analysis of numerical data forms a core component of the module and use of GIS also requires a range of mathematical skills.
Communication Students will be required to communicate spatial information effectively for a prescribed audience.
Improving own Learning and Performance Some components of the module will be undertaken in an unsupervised manner requiring the student to apply good time management.
Information Technology The whole module involves development and assessment of IT skills.
Personal Development and Career planning Vocationally relevant examples of the use of this technology will be embedded within the module.
Problem solving By its nature the successful use of GIS requires the development of problem solving skills.
Research skills Students will be expected to gather data from a range of primary and secondary sources.
Subject Specific Skills Dependent upon the data chosen and types of analyses conducted it is likely that there will be opportunities for students to acquire additional skills relevant to their particular study schemes.


This module is at CQFW Level 5