Foundations of Spatial Information

Subject GEOM90008 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 48 hours (Lectures: 2 hours per week; Practicals 2 hours per week)
Total Time Commitment:

200 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Stephan Winter


Professor Stephan Winter

Subject Overview:


Spatial information is ubiquitous in decision making. Be it in urban planning, in traffic or disaster management, in way-finding, in issues of environment, public health and sustainability, or in economic contexts: the question of 'where' is a fundamental one. Spatial information is also special in many respects, such as its dimensionality and autocorrelation, its volume, its links to the Internet of Things (which are located), social networks (which exist in space and time), streaming data from sensors everywhere, or intelligent (location-aware) systems. The subject provides the foundations for more specialized subjects on spatial data management, spatial data analysis and spatial data visualization, and is of particular relevance to people wishing to establish a career in the spatial information industry, the environmental or planning industry.


We will discuss representations and analysis of this information in spatial information technologies, from location-based services to geographic information systems. Topics addressed are observing the environment; spatial and spatiotemporal data representations, spatial analysis and spatial communication.

Learning Outcomes:


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Describe and discuss the process from observing the environment to representing information about the environment
  2. Identify and assess fundamental data structures and analysis procedures associated with spatial information
  3. Discuss the use of geographic information in decision making
  4. Apply basic practical skills in the use of Geographic Information Systems software.

In-semester assignments (40%) requiring 50-55 hours of work in total, consisting of:

  • Four practical assignment reports of about 5 pages length each (500 words plus figures), due evenly throughout the semester. Intended Learning Outcome (ILO) 4 is addressed in these assignments
  • Two oral presentations, 5 minutes each, presented during two of the lectures. ILO 3 is addressed in these presentations

A written examination in two parts:

  • Mid-semester 30-minute exam (10%). ILOs 1, 2 and 3 are address in this exam
  • End of semester 2-hour exam (50%). ILOs 1, 2 and 3 are addressed in the exam.
Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On successful completion, students will have:

  • The ability to apply knowledge of science and engineering fundamentals
  • The ability to undertake problem identification, formulation, and solution
  • The ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large
  • An understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities, and a commitment to them
  • A capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.


The subject is based on traditional lectures conveying the foundations of the discipline, and a range of diverse student activities. Students individually will track and critically review the use of spatial information in the media, in teams they will develop novel spatial information services and study the feasibility of their ideas, and in computer labs they will get basic training in spatial analysis.


The students have free access to ESRI ArcGIS via a campus licence. Lectures are recorded (voice and slides).


Industry members are regularly invited on the judgement panel for the presentations of the students’ team work assignment.

Related Course(s): Doctor of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Environmental Engineering
Master of Geographic Information Technology
Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Systems
Master of Information Technology
Master of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Science (Geography)
Master of Spatial Information Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Climate Change
Climate Change
Conservation and Restoration
Conservation and Restoration
Energy Studies
Energy Studies
Environmental Science
Environmental Science
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Integrated Water Catchment Management
MIS Professional Specialisation
MIS Research Specialisation
MIT Spatial Specialisation
Master of Engineering (Spatial)
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Sustainable Forests
Sustainable Forests
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

Download PDF version.