Related: MSc in Geospatial Data Analysis Full and Part-time options.
Got a question about our Geography Masters Programmes? Email

Geographical Information Systems and Geospatial Data 

Geographical Information Systems or GIS are systems designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage, and present geographic or spatial data.


There is growing deployment of sensors and satellites, as well as the increasing use of citizen science apps, used to report surveys on a wide range of subjects. During each touchpoint of your day, you create more data. From your usage of electricity, or otherwise, as you get ready in the morning to the calls or texts you create on your morning route or even your phone being on as you go about your daily business. As a result, big data analytics allow orgainsations to identify patterns, pressure points and help to predict trends. Geospatial data is used to give a location-specific analysis. 

If an area is experiencing high levels of waste dumping by individuals, for example, this geospatial data can be used to identify the issue and to influence policy decisions aimed at stopping the it­­­­­­­­­­ from occurring in the future. Recorded cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak used GIS to help identify the geographic source of the outbreak as Wuhan, China while further mapping in GIS identified Northern Italy as another pressure point for the disease. By tracking the location of infected people, we are better able to determine where the next hospital should be built or indeed any travel restrictions which may be required to help prevent further outbreaks.

A ucd student using drone technology as part of the msc in geospatial data analysis

UCD School of Geography believes that GIS is essential for establishing a sustainable future both here in Ireland and globally. It is about looking at spatial data in new ways, ways that enable us to make better decisions when planning future developments.

By using GIS, we can identify a number of sites for new towns, for example. Outlining the social, economic and environmental evidence in a transparent way to allow the community to be better placed in making their decision on priorities for the new town.

Moving up from a community level to a regional level. What if we discover that there is poor public transport and no plans for any changes in this location? This means more people having to be transported by car, leading to more traffic congestion and pollution, causing problems at both a local and global scale. At the national level and globally, climate change is affecting waterways. We are then able to see that the town's proposed site is in an area of flood risk.

Using GIS you can choose a suitable location for the town based on evidence. This way you can minimise the local, regional and international impacts.

Gain GIS Skills for the Workplace

UCD School of Geography offers the MSc in Geospatial Data Analysis, with Full and Part-time options, empowering you with the skills and knowledge required to thrive in this ever-growing industry. 

The main learning outcomes of the programme are twofold:

  1. Practical and applied GIS/RS skills for problem-solving;
  2. Knowledge and understanding of tool, methods and applications within geographic research and practice, across a range of disciplines and work areas.

UCD Geography Training Session

Below is a list of core and elective modules available during the course, subject to change. 

MSc in Geospatial Data Analysis


  • Research Design
  • Dissertation
  • Introduction to ArcGIS
  • Advanced GIS
  • Remote Sensing
  • Research Design II


  • Critical Geography,
  • Coastal Risk
  • Marine Seabed Mapping
  • International Fieldwork
  • Development and the Global South
  • Physical Geography of Cities
  • Population Patterns and Challenges
  • International Urban Fieldwork
  • Social Simulation: Methods and Models

GIS and Remote Sensing Career Opportunities

This programme will provide you with the practical and applied GIS and Remote Sensing skillset to take with you to a variety of careers. In addition to the option of progressing into doctoral study, our Alumni have entered careers in:

  • Environmental and Planning Consultancies
  • Government Departments and Local Authorities
  • State and Semi-State Agencies such as the Central Statistics Office, Environmental Protection Agency and Ordnance Survey Ireland
  • Industry, with the likes of Esri and Google.

Find out more about the MSc in Geospatial Data Analysis, including entry requirements. Got a question about our Geography Masters Programmes? Email