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MSc Geospatial Data Analysis

Geographical Information Systems and Geospatial Data 

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing are essential tools to spatially explore, analyse, visualise and disseminate data; and these skills are increasingly highly sought after in the workplace. The MSc in Geospatial Data Analysis will provide you with strong theoretical, conceptual and practical foundation on spatial data analytics, covering legislative requirements and ethical considerations. 

The aim of the programme is to provide you with the skillset for real-world spatial exploration of social, economic and environmental patterns and interactions in support of evidence-based planning and decision-making. It will afford you the opportunity to apply acquired skills in pragmatic contextual settings.


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Indicative Course Content

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) allow the acquisition, storage, analysis and visualisation of location-based data. This core module will introduce you to ArcGIS, the most widely used GIS software package. It will enable you to understand conceptual, theoretical and practical geographical considerations and, most importantly, gain practical GIS skills for their use and application. These skills will cover spatial data creation, sourcing, management, mapping and geoprocessing.

The module is delivered mainly through hands-on computer lab-based practicals, complemented with lectures covering theory and analytical themes that GIS are designed to handle. The practicals will focus on analysing, visualising and interpreting spatial data to support environmental and socio-economic assessments, using demonstrative examples and problem-solving exercises. A significant part of the learning will be self-directed, allowing you to develop your skills and spatial awareness by designing and delivering a spatial analysis project tailored to individual research and/or interests.

Environmental assessment is a mandatory requirement under European and international legislation. It aims to ensure that environmental considerations are integrated into planning and decision-making. It applies to spatial planning (e.g. land use, renewable or waste management plans) and to projects (e.g. power stations, incinerators, housing developments and wind farms). This research-led module will introduce you to environmental assessment legislation, processes and practice through lectures, workshops, set readings and research activities. 

This module builds upon the skills gained in the 'Introduction to ArcGIS' module and will further develop your theoretical and practical knowledge of GIS while enhancing your spatial thinking capabilities. The module further explores geoprocessing methods and tools, cartographic enhancement and online data visualisation and sharing. It will apply the suite of ArcGIS Desktop packages and contemporary ArcGIS interfaces such as ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online.

It will cover advanced principles of data acquisition, management and analysis when working with GIS, including advanced editing, geoprocessing and thematic mapping techniques, and 3D visualisation. The module will also cover automating ArcGIS workflows, using the application ModelBuilder and creating online WebApps and Story Maps. You will be introduced to ongoing technological advancements and capacitate them for lifelong self-directed learning in GIS.

Remote Sensing is a core focus of modern GIS applications in research and professional / business contexts. This course aims to provide adequate knowledge of the concepts, principles and utility of Remote Sensing technology and to prepare you to apply it to your research interests. It will also provide a sound understanding of remotely sensed digital image processing principles and applications. The specification and use of digital imagery for investigating Earth resources and environmental applications will be discussed. Digital image processing of aerial/space-borne sensors, including radiometric and geometric correction, image enhancement and interpretation, mosaicking, segmentation, and classification techniques and their integration with GIS, will be covered.

This module has three broad aims: firstly, to introduce students to the coastal zone, its varying characteristics and processes; secondly, to identify the most pressing issues faced by both the natural and human systems supported by the coastal zone; and; thirdly, to introduce students to the integrated strategies being developed in coastal zone management, in an era of accelerating climate change and environmental sensitivity.

With an increasing awareness of the role of our oceans in regulating global climate and providing a sustainable and economically important resource – seabed mapping data is improving our understanding of our oceans and the natural processes occurring at the seafloor.

INFOMAR (Integrated Mapping for the Sustainable Development of Ireland’s marine resource) is a well-established national seabed mapping programme. INFOMAR enables you to acquire, process and interpret seabed mapping datasets to address important issues with environmental, societal and economic impact. These include safe navigation, sustainable fisheries, climate change, sea-level rise, the increased incidence of storms, coastal defence/flooding, pollution, offshore renewable energy and management of marine ecosystems.

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 (opens in a new window)Esri and Google.
Connor Podkul image
It has been a tremendous experience. The content begins at a fundamental level that gives you confidence in your ability to use & apply spatial analysis skills.
Connor Podkul, Project Developer at Apex Clean Energy, United States.