ENVS10006 Mapping Environments

Word on the street says that there has been an all time low of enrolments in the subject Mapping Environments this year. Apparently this is due to a clash with the Natural Environments Lecture (which is a core subject).

Mapping is a subject that can be taken as an elective in the Bachelor of Environments course and it was the reason I decided to major in Geomatics (now Spatial Systems) back when I was undertaking my Bachelor.

I am now doing my Masters in the ‘Spatial’ stream of engineering, so this subject is what got the ball rolling for me and the majority of my friends who are also doing Masters.

A bit about Spatial Systems

I feel that Geomatics or Spatial Systems has always been the underdog of the majors covered in the Bachelor of Environments course (though it can also be done through BScience).

Many people are unsure of what it means and entails, which is weird because it has such a wide variety of applications. So let me break it down for you. Spatial Systems revolves around obtaining and presenting geographic information for real world applications.

Some examples of this are measuring parts of the earth’s surface accurately so that we can build buildings, collecting images from satellites so that we can measure deforestation rates and presenting information as a visual source, such as a map, so that people can easily understand information and make critical decisions based on that information.

The applications are really endless. Anyway that is a bit about Spatial Systems, please read on for more information about Mapping Environments.

About the Subject

Mapping Environments is not a core if you want to go on to do the Spatial Systems track, however, it will give you a taste of what is in store. Unfortunately it only runs in the first semester but, there’s still time to enrol (hopefully).

During the lectures you will learn about the different methods of data collection and mapping, as well as, the historical development of different mapping technologies and how they have been used.

During the practicals you actually participate in collecting and mapping information, which is done using technology such as GPS and leading software such as ArcGIS. These projects are done in GROUPS and so you do have to work with other people, but this can be an important learning experience for the future.

Since I did this subject in 2012, there may have been a few changes in the assignments; essentially it’s the same. One of the first assignments I did was walking around campus and inputting bin locations into a GPS.

I know, sounds a bit boring, but you were outside getting to know the people you would be working with for the semester and maybe helping you to get to know the campus a bit more.

Once you had mapped the majority of bins you came back into the lab and uploaded the recorded information onto the computer, which was overlayed with an image of the campus, so you could see all your hard work on the screen.

Map that was produced using the information that was collected.

Another assignment was to create a 3D model in Google Sketchup of one of the university buildings. This was done through using a Laser DISTO to measure all the parts of the building and then draw it in Sketchup.

It was really cool to recreate a building in 3D by yourself and be able to upload it to Google Earth and contribute to the Google Earth community. You also get to learn about what those people you see on the footpath sometimes with the weird cameras on the tripods are actually doing.

This subject is only the start of all the different things you can learn in Spatial Systems and there is so much more to come if you continue in this area. So, please give it a shot if you think you might be interested!

Another plus is that the ‘exam’ is you can call it that is online, in class and goes for only 1 hour, if even that AND Cliff the lecturer and Kenny the head tutor are pretty cool guys!

– Jenni

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