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GIS3407 GIS Programming and Visualisation

Semester 1, 2021 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: GIS Programming&Visualisation
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 031103 - Mapping Science
Grading basis : Graded
Version produced : 14 April 2021


Examiner: Zhenyu Zhang


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

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 2018, GIS tutorial 3: advanced workbook, 1st edn, ESRI Press, Redlands, CA.
Arctur, D & Zeiler, M 2004, Designing geodatabases: case studies in GIS data modelling, ESRI Press, Redlands, CA.
Chun, WJ 2012, Core Python programming, 3rd 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 expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 50.00
Examinations 2.00
Lectures 24.00
Private Study 55.00
Tutorials 24.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Objectives Assessed Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 200 20 12 Apr 2021 1,2,3
ASSIGNMENT 2 200 20 17 May 2021 1,2,3,4,5
OPEN EXAMINATION - ONLINE 600 60 End S1 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 (see note 1)

  1. This will be an online exam. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their course examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the Alternate Assessment Schedule has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and 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:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2021 are:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

    Requirements after S1 2021:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  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:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2021 are:
    An Open Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed or written material and a calculator during the examination.

    Requirements after S1 2021:
    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:
    Normally Deferred and Supplementary Examinations are held in the next Examination period. In S1 2021 selected courses will pilot an early Deferred and Supplementary Examination period held within 30 business days of results release. The list of courses involved can be found at

  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.

Date printed 14 April 2021