ENVB40540 Introduction to Ecological Mapping with open source software (QGIS)

Academic Year 2023/2024

Students will be introduced to ‘geoinformation’ and what geoinformation systems are as well as remote sensing within an ecology/environmental data acquisition framework. Basic GIS concepts will be explained and explored together with protocols on how to find what kind of environmental data sources that already exist and which ones are easily available and applicable for ecological and environmental mapping purposes.
Students will learn how to use an open source (free) GIS interface, namely QGIS. Students will learn how to explore and query data layers. Students will learn about habitat mapping by collecting data from a field trip and create ecological data layers with QGIS. this module will also cover how to display the required information and accurate maps for specific reports and for the general public and some time will be spent on the critical awareness and evaluation of using such technology in dealing with environmental issues.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion students should be able to:
- Understand what geoinformation, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing are
- Learn the essential concepts and principles of geoinformation technology and the environment (wtih examples)
- Find, display and query existing ecological data sources
- Collect and create (digitise) species records and habitat maps
- Prepare maps for inclusion in reports as well as for various audiences
- Critically evaluate the use of such technology (including best practice in data creation).

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Computer Aided Lab


Field Trip/External Visits




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
After initial lectures, this module is taught using a principally task-oriented learning approach. A field trip allows students hands-on experience in collecting data for processing on their own laptops and therefore using GIS software in real case examples.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

No prior learning in any GIS software is required.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Practical Examination: In-Class task-based assessment Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: Critical essay Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Project: Portfolio: multi-part spatial case study Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Constant feedback is provided throughout the module so that students can move to the next level of exercises. Feedback is also provided on the final project.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Field Trip Offering 1 Week(s) - 3 Mon 12:00 - 15:50
Computer Aided Lab Offering 1 Week(s) - 2, 4 Mon 13:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1 Tues 09:00 - 09:50
Computer Aided Lab Offering 1 Week(s) - 3 Tues 09:00 - 09:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4 Wed 09:00 - 09:50
Computer Aided Lab Offering 1 Week(s) - 2 Mon 14:00 - 14:50
Computer Aided Lab Offering 1 Week(s) - 4 Mon 14:00 - 14:50
Computer Aided Lab Offering 1 Week(s) - 2, 4 Tues 09:00 - 09:50