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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG1400 Digital Geographies

20 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Alexis Comber

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Digital Geographies is an exciting module offering students a beginner’s guide to the important and rapidly changing world of geographical data analysis. It blends new digital, mobile and spatial technologies with core numerical skills and conceptual understandings of how space and spatial relationships can be represented. A combination of weekly lectures and computer practicals plus a field class introduce students to basic techniques of data collection, analytics and mapping, as well as the potential uses and applications of data from policing to planning, and new forms of data such as crowdsourcing and twitter. Students also learn how to design online surveys and collect data using their own smartphones and other GPS-enabled devices, understand the pros and cons of citizen science versus designed experiments, and explore the politics and ethics of data use and representation.


The overall aims of this module are to:

- embed digital literacy and data skills within the human geography curriculum

- develop students’ understanding of spatial, numerical and GIS-related theory

- enhance students’ numeric skills and increase their understanding of digital geographies

- train students in a number of vital skills in how to perform basic data manipulations, summaries and mapping

- enable students to develop specific skills in using statistical software (e.g. excel) such as linking and summarising data, writing simple formulas and IF statements, and producing summary statistics and visualisations

Learning outcomes
At the end of this module students will be able:

- to understand different types of data and spatial data
- to manipulate and summarise different types of data and spatial data
- to conduct exploratory data analysis
- to investigate and visualise the properties and spatial distributions of spatial data using differing kinds of maps
- to link and join data and spatial data tables
- to apply simple distance measures and spatial operations
- to critically reflect on the politics and ethics of data

Skills outcomes
The proposed module will be built around the learning and teaching of explicit core QAA sub-specific skills:

- spatial awareness and observation
- abstraction and synthesis of information
- numeracy and statistical literacy
- preparing effective maps, diagrams and visualisations
- primary data generation, collection and recording, and the use of secondary data sets (both quantitative and qualitative)
- analysis and problem-solving through quantitative and qualitative methods
- conducting fieldwork and field data collection
- employing a variety of social survey methods (for example questionnaire surveys and structured interviews)
- methods for the collection and analysis of spatial and environmental information (for example: GIS, remote sensing, statistical and mathematical modelling)
- taking responsibility for learning and reflection upon that learning
- recognising the moral, ethical and safety issues involved in all aspects of geographical enquiry.

It will also deliver the following general QAA knowledge and understanding skills:

- the concept of spatial variation
- a critical awareness of the significance of spatial and temporal scale
- ability to use critically a systems framework to conceptualise patterns, processes, interactions and change in the physical world
- knowledge and critical understanding of the diverse manners of representation
- principles of research design
- numeric skills
- geolocated data and geospatial technologies
- geographical knowledge and understanding
- field skills


The syllabus will cover the following kinds of themes:

- Introduction to the world of data and mapping
- Summarising data: how to lie with statistics and maps
- Obtaining and manipulating data: joining and linking
- Investigating data and spatial relationships
- New forms of data: Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), crowdsourcing and twitter
- Citizen science vs the designed experiment
- Data applications from policing to planning
- Classifying people and places: geodemographics and Indices of Multiple Deprivation
- Measuring distance and representing geography
- Suitability analyses
- The politics of data: ethics, representation, and exclusion

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Drop-in Session91.009.00
Class tests, exams and assessment11.001.00
Private study hours150.00
Total Contact hours50.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Private Study and Independent Learning - Detail private study and independent learning outside formal classes as a guide to students about what is expected from them for the module
• c. 50 hours to additional reading to enhance their understanding of themes introduced in lectures and practicals;
• c. 32 hours to preparation for practicals and the fieldwork;
• c. 22 hours to reading and other preparation for the class test;
• c. 50 hours to reading and revision in preparation for the end-of-module project report

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The interactive lectures will be supported by an app (eg or a web-based tool (eg to collect live feedback from students about their understanding of the topics in the lecture sessions.
Each practical is formative and will have self-test questions with answers against which students can test their understanding and data manipulation skills: students will be able to compare their “results” and understanding with model answers. Staff will be able to monitor performance in practicals.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportProject Report (2000 words equiv)50.00
In-course MCQIn-course online MCQ – 1 hour (1500 words equiv)50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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: 29/04/2022 15:32:19


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