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Programme: BScHons Geoinformatics

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Minimum duration of study: 1 year
Total credits: 135

Programme information

Renewal of registration

  1. Subject to exceptions approved by the Dean, on the recommendation of the head of department, and in the case of distance education where the Dean formulates the stipulations that will apply, a student may not sit for an examination for the honours degree more than twice in the same module.
  2. A student for an honours degree must complete his or her study, in the case of full-time students, within two years and, in the case of after-hours students, within three years of first registering for the degree and, in the case of distance education students, within the period stipulated by the Dean. Under special circumstances, the Dean, on the recommendation of the head of department, may give approval for a limited extension of this period.

In calculating marks, General Regulation G.12.2 applies.

Apart from the prescribed coursework, a research project is an integral part of the study.

Admission requirements

A BSc in Geoinformatics or equivalent BSc degree that meets the prerequisites of the honours modules. Prospective students may be required to do additional modules to enable them to reach the desired level of study. Selection takes place before admission.

Additional requirements

Prospective students may be required to do additional modules to enable them to reach the desired level of study. Selection takes place before admission.

Pass with distinction

The BScHons degree is awarded with distinction to a candidate who obtains a weighted average of at least 75% in all the prescribed modules and a minimum of 65% in any one module.

Minimum credits: 135

Minimum credits       135

Fundamental credits:  25

Core credits:              80

Elective credits:         30

Other programme-specific information:

Appropriate honours modules may be taken from the Faculty or from the School of Information Technology, as approved by the honours coordinator or Head of Department.

Two elective modules should be selected, of which one must be either COS 787 or GIS 706.

Fundamental modules

GIS 701 Research methods 701 Credits: 10.00

Module content:

The module introduces students to planning, research design, scientific reading, writing and presentation as required for geoinformatics research.

GIS 703 GIS professional practice 703 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

Professionalism, including professional ethics, professional practices, partnerships, client relationships, SA Council for Professional and Technical Surveyors (including legislation and rules), and social responsibility. Relevant legislation, including Promotion of Access to Information Act and Spatial Data Infrastructure Act. Role of international associations/societies in Geoinformatics.

Core modules

GIS 702 Research project 702 Credits: 35.00

Module content:

An approved individual Geoinformatics research project with a system design and/or spatial analysis component. The project is carried out under the guidance of a lecturer. The student is expected to obtain the respective skills necessary for the research topic. Compilation of a research proposal. Literature survey. Selecting an appropriate research method. Carrying out of the research. Preparation of a research report.

GIS 704 Spatial statistics and geodesy 704 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

Principles of least squares in statistics, Spatial least squares regression, Surface interpolation using least squares and coordinate transformations. Topics in Geodesy: Space based measurement systems, sea level measurements, Determination of the geoid, earth axis orientation determination and earth dynamics.

GIS 705 Advanced geospatial data 705 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

Advanced topics in geospatial data management, such as data quality assurance, data quality assessment and the supply chain for geospatial data acquisition.

GMA 705 Advanced remote sensing 705 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

The aim of the module is to provide knowledge and understanding of image analysis and information extraction methods in remote sensing.  The emphasis is on equipping students with knowledge and skills necessary to process imagery to extract diverse biophysical and geospatial information.  The course gives insight into the possibilities and limitations of the application of modern remote sensing/image acquisition systems for Earth and atmosphere research purposes at different levels of detail.

Elective modules

BME 780 Statistics for biological sciences 780 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

The principles of experimental design as required for the selection of an appropriate research design. Identification of the design limitations and the impact thereof on the research hypotheses and the statistical methods. Identification and application of the appropriate statistical methods needed. Interpreting of statistical results and translating these results to the biological context.

BOT 700 Natural woodland and forests: Ecology and management 700 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

Definitions of woodlands and forests and vegetation and forest resources in southern Africa; Classification of forest and woodland in southern Africa; Woodland dynamics including disturbance, recruitment, growth and mortality, recovery after disturbance; Ecosystem services (microclimate and nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration etc); Sustainable forest resource management (resource assessment, socio-economic assessment e.g. wood and non-forest products, participatory resource management processes); Forest health; Monitoring of resource-use impacts and adaptive management; Development of a framework for sustainable conservation and use of non-timber forest products; Climate change and resilience. Forest disease and pathology.

COS 787 Spatial databases 787 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

This module covers the major themes of spatial databases with application to geographic information systems (GIS), i.e. systems concerning data with an implicit or explicit reference to a location relative to the earth. Topics covered include an introduction to spatial databases and spatial data management systems, representation of geographic data, spatial data modelling, computational geometry, spatial data indexing, query processing and spatial data standards. For Computer Science students the module is an introduction to the ever increasing application field of geographics information systems (GIS), and for Geoinformatics students the module provides insight into the Computer Science foundations of the field.

EHM 772 Basis in environmental health 772 Credits: 5.00

EOH 775 Introduction to environmental and occupational health 775 Credits: 10.00

GIS 706 Internet GIS 706 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

This module aims to explore the Internet as a platform for accessing and delivering geospatial data and services.  Students will be exposed to the theory and practice of technologies and technology approaches that make Internet GIS a reality.  From the basic building blocks of Internet GIS, to advanced Spatial Data Infrastructure concepts, this module covers current and emerging issues in bringing geospatial data and processes to the wider world.  Students will be required to reflect on the implications of using such technologies.  A significant portion of the module will involve 'hands-on' work in designing and building Internet GIS applications and accessing Internet-based data and services.  This module also includes consideration of a number of case studies within different problem domains.  Students should leave the module with an understanding of the building blocks that make Internet GIS possible and be able to consider what are good practices in the development of Internet GIS applications and services.

GIS 707 Special topics 707 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

A special topic in Geoinformatics linked to research specialisation in the department and/or visiting lecturers. For example, research trends and advances in a specific topic or field of specialisation in Geoinformatics.The module is presented in the form of guided advanced readings, seminars and/or discussion sessions.

GTX 716 Environmental management and risk assessment 716 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

Principles of integrated environmental management; environmental impact assessment; environmental management systems (ISO 14000 series); water resource management; environmental legislation; site investigation guidelines; natural hazard risk assessment; seismicity; project management and professional business practice.Geological models and software.

TBE 714 Responsible ecotourism management 714 Credits: 20.00

Module content:

This module focuses on managing ecotourism (including the natural and cultural resource base) following eco-principles and guidelines in order to provide a framework for sustainable/responsible tourism development in response to community needs within the Southern African context. The concepts of ecotourism, alternative tourism, responsible tourism and geotourism are debated.The management of ecotourism is studied  from a theoretical perspective addressing issues such as the planning, design and sustainable development of eco-facilities and spaces; co-creation and the experienced tourist; the greening of the environment; and managing sustainable events; against the backdrop of climate change using local, national and international case studies. The aim is to provide students with a holistic perspective of ecotourism and to hone their entrepreneurial view to issues within this arena in order to apply sustainable eco-principles to various situations, ranging from green architectural structures and spaces to sustainable community and pro-poor tourism projects.