GEOG10140 Mapping a Sustainable World

Academic Year 2023/2024

As a core first year module, Mapping a Sustainable World aims to provide students with a foundation in geographical data, mapping, spatial analysis and writing skills. It will explore the organisation and manipulation of geospatial data, cognitive mapping and basic statistics, and will address locational considerations (e.g. coordinates and space), map projections, and map design. It will also introduce technological tools and methods available to map, analyse and disseminate geographical information. The module will be mainly tutorial-based but will include lectures and local fieldwork, providing an interactive and applied learning environment to explore technical and technological geospatial methods and approaches. In doing so, it will enhance students’ geospatial awareness and provide them with skills to examine relationships, interactions and interdependencies between human and physical components of the environment. It will provide skills applicable across the rest of the modules in the first and subsequent stages of the Geography curriculum and, in particular, prepare students for the core Geographic Information Systems module in stage 2.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

This module is as a core skills module and aims to deliver the following learning outcomes:

• increased awareness of geospatial research and its techniques, methods and tools;
• acquisition of mapping and map interpretation skills;
• understand fundamental techniques of data exploration, organisation and analysis;
• develop literature search, writing and referencing skills.

Indicative Module Content:

Week 2
Lecture 1 - Introduction to the module and SDGs: maps and sustainability
Lecture 2 - Reading, understanding maps, geography at our fingertips, mapping what we see, do, and cannot see

Week 3
Lecture 3 - Advancements in technology for mapping: remote sensing, drones, sensors, and GPS
Lecture 4 - GPS apps on mobile phones – demonstration

Week 4
Lecture 5 - Data types and measurement: quantitative versus qualitative – nominal, ordinal, etc.
Lecture 6 - Stats: mean, max/min, standard deviation, central tendency, weighted, etc.

Week 5
Lecture 7 - Introduction to hypothesis testing
Lecture 8 - Hypothesis testing for sustainability

Week 6
Lecture 9 - Sampling methods and interpretation: representativeness, group size, gender, age cohorts, random/targeted, etc. Factoring sample group parameters when interpreting answers.
Lecture 10 - Survey design and data management and interpretation: survey answer types (multiple choice, open ended, etc.), how to analyse qualitative responses, turning qualitative into quantitative, ethics, etc.

Week 7
Lecture 11 - Sustainability behaviours and infrastructure and their spatial distribution
Lecture 12 - Survey123 – signing in and demonstration and fieldwork preparation (Bring laptops if possible).

Week 8 [Fieldwork Week]
No Lecture - FIELD TRIP

Week 9
Lecture 13 - Field trip recap and data visualization: visual analysis versus tables and graphs, histograms, etc. Examples of available data and work through of data analysis and interpretation.
Lecture 14 - ArcGIS Online – demonstration and application (bring laptop if possible)

Week 10
Lecture 15 - Cartographic choices: practicalities of map-making and data quality checks
Lecture 16 - Mapping and statistical fallacies

Week 11
Lecture 17 - Ecological and social footprint of technology.
Lecture 18 - Using mobile app calculate personal footprint and changing a committed parameter, calculate it again. Class discussion on results.

Week 12
Lecture 19 - SDG issues in the context of the field trip case study
Lecture 20 - Ethical considerations: geoslavery, privacy, big brother, data protection, etc.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Field Trip/External Visits


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Teaching and learning on this module will include:

- Lectures
- Active / task-based learning through peer and group work in tutorials and occasionally during lectures
- Inquiry and case-based learning through the one day (possibly virtual) fieldtrip and case study based assignments 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Tutorial preparation & participation Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Fieldwork: Participation in fieldwork data collection (Carlow) and present your group’s findings from the fieldwork day in Carlow. Week 7 n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Project: Final autonomous research project including maps, data analysis and written discussion of results. Week 11 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, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

- Group feedback will be provided at the start of each tutorial on the performance of the class in the previous tutorial. - Timely individualised feedback will be provided via Brightspace on assignment / project submissions. - Students are welcome to meet with the module coordinator during office hours if more detailed feedback / further clarification is required.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Gerald Mills Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Tine Ningal Lecturer / Co-Lecturer