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.

Please note: Information on this page relates to the 2016 academic year unless otherwise specified.

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


Geographic 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 Architecture, Biology, Computer Science, Earth Sciences, Information Management and Statistics.

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Undergraduate information

GIS can be studied as part of a Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Geography. It is taught in depth in:

  • GEOG 215 Introduction to Geographic Information Science (GIS) and Science
  • GEOG 315 Advanced Geographic Information Science (GIS)

You can also get an introduction to the subject in 100-level courses such as GEOG/ESCI 111.

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Postgraduate information

Victoria University offers a Postgraduate Diploma and Master's programme in GIS, in collaboration with the University of Canterbury and Auckland University of Technology. For more information or to apply for the programmes visit www.mgis.ac.nz

For an introduction to GIS at a postgraduate level, consider taking GEOG 415.


Postgraduate research opportunities are also available. Interested students should contact the Programme Director.

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How to find out more

Want to find out more about studying at Victoria? Register now to find out more about your study options and keep updated on application and enrolment information, open days and events.

If you need help deciding what degree might be right for you, or what courses to take, talk with a liaison officer or book a course planning session with us, call 0800 VICTORIA (842 867) or email course-advice@vuw.ac.nz.

If you’re a returning or transferring student, contact the Faculty Student and Academic Services Office, for help with degree planning and for information on admission requirements and transfer credit from other institutions.

Mairead de Roiste
Programme Director, GIS
Phone: +64 4 463 6431
Email: mairead.deroiste@vuw.ac.nz

School Administrator
+64 4 463 5337
Email: geo-enquiries@vuw.ac.nz

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List of courses

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

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 - Master's Thesis