Faculty of Science

Geographic Information Science (GIS)


Photo: Mairead de Roiste. Roger Smith of Geographx showing his Rock paper award winning map to MGIS student Rory McPherson, Dominion Observatory, Botanic Gardens, Wellington New Zealand

Please note: Information on this page relates to the 2015 academic year unless otherwise specified.

On this page:

This subject is taught by the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences.


Geographical Information Science (GIS) involves computer-based systems which allow you to explore, store and manipulate data that has a spatial or geographic component. GIS relates to the concepts behind the creation of these systems and the conceptualisation of spatial problems.

GIS can be used effectively in research and is in high demand in the public and private sector. It is currently used in many areas such as crime mapping, disaster management, marketing, healthcare access, conservation monitoring and archaeology.

The key ideas of GIS are the storage and spatial and non-spatial analysis of large amounts of geographic information, as well as the visual interpretation and presentation of that information in a manner that makes sense to us - most commonly in maps.

GIS is a valuable resource for Geography and can also complement courses taken in Biology, Statistics, Architecture, Earth Sciences, Computer Science and Information Management.

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Undergraduate information

GIS can be studied in a Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Geography.

Geographic Information Science is taught in depth in:

  1. GEOG 215 - Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Science
  2. GEOG 315 - Advanced Geographical Information Systems (GIS) 

You can get an introduction to the area in 100-level courses such as GEOG/ESCI 111 - The Earth System: An Introduction to Physical Geography and Earth Sciences.

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Postgraduate information

We provide a Masters and Postgraduate Diploma in Geographic Information Science in collaboration with the University of Canterbury and Auckland University of Technology.

For more information or to apply for the MGIS and PGDipGIS programmes visit www.mgis.ac.nz

For an introduction to GIS at a postgraduate level consider: 


Postgraduate research opportunities are also available and students interested should contact the Programme Director, Mairead de Roiste.


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How to find out more

You can order more information on this subject by registering on our Request for Study Material database.

Victoria's Student Recruitment, Admission and Orientation Office  offers advice on courses and help with planning your degree.

Contact the Science Faculty Office for information on Admission, qualifications and courses, course advice and selection criteria, exemptions and prerequisites and your Application to Study.

Geography courses are taught within the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Cotton Building, blocks A and B.

Mairead de Roiste
Programme Director, GIS
Phone: 04 463 6431
Email: mairead.deroiste@vuw.ac.nz

School Administrator
04 463 5337
Email: geo-enquiries@vuw.ac.nz

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List of courses

200 level Courses
GEOG 215 - Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Science
300 level Courses
GEOG 315 - Advanced Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
400 level Courses
GISC 401 - Foundations of Geographic Information Science
GISC 402 - GIScience Research
GISC 403 - Cartography and Geovisualisation
GISC 404 - Geospatial Analysis
GISC 405 - GIS Programming and Databases
GISC 406 - Remote Sensing for Earth Observation
GISC 411 - Geographic Information Systems in Health
GISC 412 - Spatial Algorithms and Programming
GISC 413 - Special Topic - Geomatic Data Acquisition Techniques
GISC 415 - Internship
GISC 416 - Special Topic - Conservation GIS
PHYG 415 - Introduction to Geographical Information Science and its Applications
500 level Courses
GISC 591 - Masters Thesis