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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG3191 Geocomputation and Location Analysis

20 creditsClass Size: 80

Module manager: Prof Alexis Comber

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

Module replaces

GIS, Geocomputation and Geoplanning (GEOG3150) and Advanced Retail Planning (GEOG3010)

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Understanding and modelling retail, urban and regional systems; whether, modelling crime or segregation, the process of gathering data, analysis, mapping and developing models is similar. This module provides an introduction to key tools used in research and consultancy, location planning and facility siting.


On completion of the module, students should be able to demonstrate:

- an understanding of key geographic data sources and knowledge of how to extract and manipulate and map them within a desktop GIS package;
- an understanding of what a model is, what a complex system is (related to urban) and the basic stages of development;
- through case studies and associated practicals, an understanding of urban simulation processes and the value of modelling for understanding the present and predicting the future;
- skills in designing, constructing and running models in a basic geocomputation framework (NetLogo) and linking the results to a GIS for advanced analysis.
- a critical understanding of the use of spatial models in retail location analysis and GIS store location planning
- knowledge of how to assess the impact of the latest retail trends for site location
- skills in building the data sets to enable a suite of store location models to be run and evaluated
- a critical understanding of the role of optimisation in retail planning.

Learning outcomes
- Broad understanding of the different processes in urban and regional systems (particular emphasis on planning, segregation, pedestrian modelling etc)
- Understanding of the use of spatial models in retail location analysis and site location
- In depth knowledge of approaches to modelling retail, urban and regional systems (through advanced GIS and introduction of geocomputation and optimisation methods);
- Through the modelling process; (i) appreciate how approaches can join up and (ii) the idea of complex systems;
- An understanding of the virtues and limitations of describing geographical systems using modelling, geocomputation and GIS techniques.

Skills outcomes
A4 Spatial patterns and relationships in human phenomena at a variety of scales
A9 The theory and application of quantitative, visualisation and other spatial techniques across a wide range of geographical contexts
B1 Abstraction and synthesis of information from a variety of sources
B5 Solving problems and making reasoned decisions
C3 Employ a variety of technical and laboratory-based methods for the analysis and presentation of spatial and environmental information (e.g. GIS, water chemistry, etc)
D3 Apply numerical and computational skills to geographical information
D4 Use information technology effectively (including use of spreadsheet, database and word processing programmes; Internet and e-mail)


Indicative syllabus content

- Introduction to Geocomputation/What is a model?
- NetLogo: introduction and basic complexity
- Advanced NetLogo and linkage to GIS: more complexity
- Urban case-studies: Schelling: Residential segregation
- Urban case studies: Modelling crime
- Urban growth models:
- Retail location analysis and trends in retail geography
- Estimating retail demand
- Building location models for retail site acquisition
- E-commerce and store location research
- Big data and store location research
- Optimisation in business location planning

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours116.00
Total Contact hours84.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will be provided with a reading list and will be expected to demonstrate evidence of reading in project work and examination. They will also be expected to critique selected articles.
Students will also be expected to have knowledge/experience of various online information systems and web sites
The project to be handed in at the end of Semester 1 and 2 will require independent study and use of MapInfo, NetLogo and other software in private study time.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The Semester 1 project will be a means of monitoring progress halfway through the module. The practicals also allow us to monitor progress and provide instant feedback to students in relation to the development of their projects.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report1,500 word project30.00
Report1,500 word project30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Unseen exam 2 hr 00 mins40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 23/03/2016


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