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Major: Spatial Information Science

Spatial Information Science


Department of Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science and Engineering

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Biophysical Environments (3)
3cp from
Introduction to Computer Programming (3)
IT & Society (3)
Introduction to Business Information Systems (3)
Introductory Statistics (3)
Statistical Data Analysis (3)

200 level

Introduction to Geographic Information Science (3)
3cp from
ENV units at 200 level
ENVS units at 200 level

300 level

Environmental Analysis Using Remote Sensing and GIS (3)
Applied GIS (3)
6cp from
ENVS units at 300 level


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Units marked with a P are PACE units.
Overview and Aims of the Program Spatial Information Science (SIS) is the science of geographic information systems and remote-sensing for data storage, visualisation (mapping), and the provision of information to support decision making. It is concerned with the interpretation and analysis of geographical information from a variety of sources and in a range of application fields.

The aim of the SIS major is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the development, management, application and display of spatial information through core studies in geographic information systems (GIS), cartography, global positioning systems, geospatial analysis and modelling, and remote sensing.

The major includes core units that engender a depth of knowledge in spatial information science that is immediately transferable to the workplace. In addition, students are given the opportunity to select optional units to extend this knowledge in specific application fields.

SIS is a major growth industry. Graduates with expertise in SIS contribute to diverse workplaces and research fields, including natural resource management, local government, emergency management, land administration, forestry, agriculture, marine environments, health, defence, education, infrastructure management, transport and more.

Key features:
• A flexible study program which will enable you to tailor a program to suit your individual needs and interests.
• A focus on practical work which enhances the development of technical skills and problem solving abilities to prepare you for the workplace.
• The major uses the latest SIS computer software, including ArcGIS and ENVI.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. recognize and articulate core concepts and principles of spatial information science (K, T, J)
2. explain the role and relevance of spatial information science to a diverse range of contexts (K, T, P, A, J, L)
3. organise and interpret spatial information from airborne and satellite images, land surveying, field observation and data systems (K, T, P, J)
4. identify appropriate spatial data and analysis tools to inform decision-making in multiple contexts (K, T, P, I, A, J, L).

5. perform advanced spatial analysis using the latest spatial information science software (K, T, P, I,)
6. design and execute advanced spatial analysis using both vector and raster data models (K, T, P, J)
7. effectively communicate geographic information and the outputs of spatial analysis in a variety of modes, including map and written formats (K, P, C)
8. adapt knowledge and skills in spatial information science to solve real-world problems in a diverse range of contexts (K, T, P, I, E, A, J, L).
Learning and Teaching Methods As a student, enrolled in this major you will be encouraged to learn the principles of spatial information science and methods of acquiring spatial data, as well as develop the analytical skills to apply spatial science knowledge. Fundamental topics in this major include geographic information systems (GIS), cartography, global positioning systems (GPS), geospatial analysis and modelling, and remote sensing.

This major is designed to advance your geospatial knowledge, analysis skills and problem solving capacity. Spatial Information Science is interdisciplinary and can be utilised in many different fields such as environmental management, environmental science, planning, wildlife management, transportation, agriculture, business, and health. Spatial Information Science can add value to existing data and is an important tool to support effective decision making.

This program is delivered via a series of lectures and independent practical activities. The practical activities give you the opportunity to learn to use the latest commercially available geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing software. Various case studies will be used to guide you through designing and implementing a GIS project. You will learn to communicate your spatial output using maps, figures, charts and written reports.

As part of the University’s Professional and Community Engagement (PACE) initiative, this major has been working collaboratively with local councils, government departments and small & medium enterprises on a variety of projects including data collection, planning, land use monitoring, and public transport accessibility assessment. These projects are designed to provide you with opportunities to establish professional networks, integrate your studies with industry experience, and prepare you for employment as a spatial science graduate.
Assessment Assessment tasks are generally individual projects. Standards and criteria for coursework, lists of assessment tasks and events, and assessment guidelines are described in each unit guide.

The learning outcomes cover the broad range of skills that students acquire throughout the program, and reflect the content of both the lectures and practical classes. Therefore, the assessments are designed to develop and assess your knowledge of principles of spatial information science, analytical ability using geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing software, and communication of the outputs of geographic analysis in various formats.

In the beginning of your enrolment you will participate in Planet Earth and Environment units to develop an overview of environmental and demographic issues which require a spatial analysis . You will also enrol in either basic Computing, Information Systems or Statistics units at the beginning of the program as this will help you understand and become skilled in advanced geo-database design, geospatial modelling and statistics, and problem solving in the later stages of your program.

The assessment tasks are designed to complement and support both the lecture content and learning outcomes.

The core units of this major use online technology to manage teaching materials and students’ assessments and feedback. As a student at Macquarie University, you will have access to the unit’s webpage, accessed through Macquarie University’s online delivery platform called iLearn. The teaching staff will provide you with important information and guidance on your development and progress in each assessment task via the unit’s iLearn page. Some of the units use Turnitin technology to provide feedback and grades for assessments.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit.

Information can be found at:

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Career Opportunities:
• analysis and management of natural resources
• census data analysis
• disaster management and risk assessment
• environmental analysis
• erosion, salinity and other agricultural assessments
• health/crime incidents analysis
• resource planning decisions
• traffic and route analysis
• urban development planning
• utilities management.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2019 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148