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GIS3407 GIS Programming and Visualisation

Semester 1, 2015 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Civil Engineering and Surveying

Contents on this page


Examiner: Zhenyu Zhang
Moderator: Armando Apan


Pre-requisite: GIS1402 and CSC1401 or Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: GDST or MSST or GCST or MENS

Other requisites

Students cannot enrol in GIS3407 if they have successfully completed GIS3404.


Spatial professionals and other users in the GIS industry require a sound knowledge of geodatabases, scripting languages for geoprocessing, and visualisation of spatial data. Having some competence in these key areas has become a critical requirement in providing solutions to GIS tasks and projects. A geodatabase is a spatial database designed to store, query, and manipulate geographic information and spatial data. GIS programming allows GIS users to automate repetitive tasks and to present a custom interface. Visualisation technologies provide powerful tools for presenting, interpreting and analysing of these data sets.


In this course, students will learn about Python scripting language for GIS programming, geodatabase design and implementation, spatial data visualisation in GIS, and 3D visualisation using markup language.


The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of GIS programming techniques;
  2. use an object orientated approach to write Python programs for GIS;
  3. demonstrate knowledge of Python applications implemented in ArcGIS;
  4. demonstrate an understanding of geodatabase concepts;
  5. design and implement a geodatabase;
  6. demonstrate an understanding of methods, like digital elevation models, used to visualise spatial data;
  7. create 3D visualisations using a markup language.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to GIS programming 10.00
2. Python operations in GIS 10.00
3. Practical Python for GIS analysis 10.00
4. Development of custom GIS functionality 10.00
5. Geodatabase architecture 10.00
6. Geodatabase design 10.00
7. Geodatabase implementation 10.00
8. Geodatabase applications 10.00
9. 3D features and surface analysis techniques 10.00
10. 3D visualisation of spatial data 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Allen, DW & Coffey, JM 2011, GIS tutorial 3: advanced workbook, ESRI Press, Redlands, CA.
  • Arctur, D & Zeiler, M 2004, Designing geodatabases: case studies in GIS data modelling, ESRI Press, Redlands, CA.
  • Chun, WJ 2007, Core Python programming, 2nd edn, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
  • Liang, YD 2013, Introduction to programming using Python, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
  • Slocum, TA, McMaster, RB, Kessler, FC & Howard, HH 2009, Thematic cartography and geovisualization, 3rd edn, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 50.00
Directed Study 48.00
Examinations 2.00
Private Study 55.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 200 20 20 Apr 2015
ASSIGNMENT 2 200 20 25 May 2015
2 HOUR CLOSED EXAMINATION 600 60 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. Student Administration will advise students of the dates of their examinations during the semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks/ grades obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Closed Examination, candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. Electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course. Students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  6. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  7. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  8. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  9. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.