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2021/22 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE2930 Advanced Field and GIS Skills

10 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Vern Manville

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2021/22

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module provides the specialist training necessary to successfully plan, execute and write-up an independent geological mapping project.


Geological maps and their supplementary data are a fundamental tool used to illustrate geometric and temporal relationships between different rock units. This module will equip students with the skills needed to analyse and interpret published geological maps and related data at a range of scales and in a variety of formats, in order to develop a deeper understanding of an area and solve practical problems. Students will also learn to make, present and report on their own geological maps through the acquisition and application of advanced field techniques in map-making, data collection and recording, map digitisation using industry-standard Geographical Information System software, and preparation of an illustrated field monograph. They will also embed professional practice by preparing for a programme of independent geological field work through compiling base topographic maps, considering H&S issues, researching existing published literature on the study area, including appropriate remote-sensing resources, and reflecting on specialised training needs. On completion of this module students should be able to plan, execute, and report on an independent field-based mapping project.

Learning outcomes
By the conclusion of this module students will be equipped to:
1. Demonstrate the ability to apply the concepts, competencies and techniques used to acquire, record, and undertake first-order analysis of geological field data (including awareness of limitations and uncertainties), in the form of field maps, notebooks and other data collection formats.
2. Organise, manage and present field data within a Geographical Information System.
3. Demonstrate an ability to interpret published geological maps in terms of their three-dimensional structure and temporal evolution through the production of accurate cross-sections and detailed geological histories using appropriate techniques
4. Employ appropriate geometric and construction techniques in the analysis of geological maps, including the use of structure contours, to solve spatial problems.
5. Effectively communicate the results of a fieldwork campaign through the preparation of a correctly structured and illustrated field report to professional standards.
6. Engage with research practices in geological sciences through preparing for a campaign of independent field work, including the creation of base maps, evaluation of health and safety issues, familiarisation with the published literature on an area, and the formulation of strategies for dealing with area-specific geological challenges.

Skills outcomes
Geographical information systems
Geological map–making and mapwork skills
Professional practice under field conditions


1. The interpretation of geological maps at a variety of scales and across a range of styles of geology, developing an understanding of 3-dimensional relationships and geometries through the construction of accurate cross-sections and block diagrams.
2. Synoptic application of geological knowledge to the understanding and interpretation of 4-dimensional geological systems and the reconstruction of past environments of deposition and geological histories.
3. Use of specialist geometric techniques such as structure contours to solve map-related problems.
4. Identifying and interpreting remote sensing data for use in field mapping workflows.
5. Writing and illustrating a field report, including synthesis, analysis and interpretation of field data and its presentation.
6. Acquisition of skills in geographic information systems including geodatabase construction and the digitisation of field maps and related data.
7. Use of graphics software in the preparation of geological illustrations.
8. Planning and preparing for a field campaign, including background research, determination of H&S issues and their mitigation, and the preparation of base maps and other resources.
9. Mapping skills field class (7 days): training in advance geological map-making and field data recording techniques, with an emphasis on situational learning, flexibility, and dealing with uncertainty. Also covers professional and reflective practice and H&S aspects of field work.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment12.002.00
Private study hours21.00
Total Contact hours79.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Preparation of formative assessment exercises for academic tutorials. Students will be expected to undertake independent literature searches and apply critical reading to develop their knowledge and understanding. Preparation of a synoptic field report based on the Assynt field class. Preparation for the Independent Mapping project undertaken between L2 and L3/5.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students receive feedback from academic tutors through S1 tutorials during preparation of a formative field report. Staff and demonstrators provide feedback during mapwork and GIS practicals. Generic and one-to-one verbal and written feedback from academic staff and PGR demonstrators is given daily during the mapping skills field class, in addition to written formative feedback and an indicative grade on physical field materials. Mapping project supervisors provide feedback through the L2 S2 tutorial system and a series of formative assessments.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or Dissertation1500 word report on the regional geology of their independent mapping project areas0.00
Report2500 word field report on a L1 field or virtual field class50.00
Computer ExerciseGIS digitisation of a field map and associated materials0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) (S1)2 hr 50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Exam needs to utilise flat space in the EVL, for use of geological maps

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 16/09/2021


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