Geographical Information Systems MSc – Your course starts here
Whether you're starting your Master's degree with us or returning after your first year, we're pleased to welcome you to the University. We hope you enjoyed the summer and are excited to get started.
Message from Professor Sherria Hoskins, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Health
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Faculty of Science. Many things about our world are very different at the moment, but one thing that hasn't changed is our commitment to giving you a fantastic experience at University.
You'll soon get to know the other students on your course. Many of the friendships you make now will last a lifetime. And our staff are here to guide and support you to reach your potential.
This year, approximately 1,500 students graduated from one of our programmes. I feel immensely proud that we have made such a significant contribution to the pool of scientists and health practitioners.
Science and health studies represent an adventure of the mind, seeking truth that can make a difference to the world, as we have seen more than ever in recent times. I hope we give you an understanding of how to use your knowledge and an understanding of its intrinsic value to yourselves and others.
I also hope that we inspire you with confidence and curiosity throughout your studies so that you can go on to realise your own vision; to know the world as it is and be able to imagine it as it might be, to glimpse the possibilities of change, of improvement and of your contribution.
Staying safe on campus
We’ll have all appropriate safety measures and a few restrictions in place. And every building will be open in line with Government guidance – including teaching spaces, communal spaces, toilets, cafes and the library. For more information about how we're ensuring your safety on campus, head to the 'Campus and city life 2020/21' page.
Due to coronavirus, we've made some changes to teaching to keep you safe. You'll take part in most large teaching sessions online. And any face-to-face teaching will be in small groups with social distancing measures in place. We've set up sanitisation stations across campus, one-way systems in busy areas and protective screens at certain locations.
Due to changing circumstances as a result of the pandemic, we may need to make further changes to courses to ensure your safety and to ensure compliance with Government guidelines. We'll provide you with as much notice as possible of any such changes. Your course leader will inform you of these changes.
International and EU students
If you're joining us from overseas, find out about our International Orientation events and what you need to do during your first week.
If you can't travel to the UK, or you don't feel safe to travel, your course's first teaching block will be delivered completely online. The majority of Orientation events will also be online, so you'll still be able to get involved in welcome talks and social activities, as well as meet other new students.
Induction virtual field trip
Use this virtual induction field trip on Google Earth to explore our main University campus buildings and key landmarks in Portsmouth.
Meet your lecturers
We're looking forward to meeting you and welcoming you to your first lecture. Below you'll find information of key lecturers who'll teach you during your first teaching block.
Dr Harold Lovell
Senior Lecturer in Environmental Systems
As Course Leader for MSc GIS, I’ll be your first port of call for any questions about the course. I’m interested in all aspects of remote sensing and Earth Observation, with a healthy dose of fieldwork too. My research is primarily focused on understanding glacier response to a changing climate and this has taken me to a number of interesting places across the globe. Outside of work, it’s all about family, the outdoors, football (well, most sports to be honest), music and socialising!
Professor Humphrey Southall
Professor of Historical Geography
I have been teaching at Portsmouth for twenty years now. My subject specialism is historical geography, but this means in particular that I created the Great Britain historical GIS, and the Vision of Britain website based on it (www.visionofbritain.org.uk). By mapping the changing boundaries of Britain, down to the c. 16,000 parishes, we enable much more detailed analysis of historical statistics, and the identification of long-run trends. My research takes me mainly to libraries and archives, but in my spare time I take to the mountains — some years back I completed ascents of all the “Munros”, mountains in Scotland over 3,000 feet high.
I am the GIS Manager in SEGG, which means I deal with most GIS and IT aspects in the School, but I also manage our Buckingham technical team and look after Buckingham Building. I teach on a number of modules, so you may first encounter me as a lecturer. I divide my time between sitting in front of a computer screen and being out in the field collecting data, as I'm a surveyor and a drone pilot. I will be your first port of call for complex GIS questions and technical issues. I love being on field work in the natural environment and solving data problems, and I often get involved in multi-disciplinary research working, for example, with architects or marine biologists, helping non-GIS specialists to make best use of spatial data. This has taken me all over the world, my favourite location being the Arctic Circle.
I have worked as a GIS Technician since 1989. Before that I worked for four years with the Ordnance Survey in the Basic, Boundaries and Large Scale digital mapping sections. I have enjoyed more than 30 years working as a GIS Technician with the support of my colleagues and students. I particularly enjoy the mathematical, artistic and creative aspects of GIS. My door is alway open.
Dr Malcolm Whitworth
Reader in Engineering Geomorphology and Natural Hazards
Dr Malcolm Whitworth is a Reader in Engineering Geomorphology and Natural Hazards at the University of Portsmouth, with extensive commercial experience in natural hazard assessment and terrain evaluation, working with re-insurance, engineering geology and infrastructure clients, applying his field geomorphological mapping, hazard assessment, GIS and remote sensing skills on a range of geohazard and terrain evaluation projects. His research interests span global modelling of natural hazard distributions to landslide susceptibility assessment in mountainous regions of the world. He has a particular interest in spatial modelling using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing; and the application of numerical simulation and probabilistic modelling to study and forecast natural hazards.
Fieldwork is scheduled to take place in teaching block 2. We plan to visit field sites in southern England, however this is subject to University and government guidelines.
Welcome from Michelle Hale, Head of School
Welcome to the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences! We are a diverse, multidisciplinary School with enthusiastic lecturers who are really looking forward to meeting you and supporting you to succeed in your studies. We are based across two adjacent buildings: Burnaby and Buckingham Buildings. Teaching and assessment are going to be a little bit different this year, but we are following best practice in developing a blended learning approach to the delivery of your modules. We will be taking a flipped learning approach to a lot of teaching delivery, where you will be able to cover lecture content online, in your own time, and face-to-face teaching will be focused on applying the knowledge that you have learned in laboratory, fieldwork, workshop and seminar sessions in small, socially distanced groups. In the first week, you will meet your personal tutor and they will be your first port of call for support and guidance, so please attend your tutorials and let your tutor know if you have any issues. Wishing you all the best for an exciting year of learning!
Your week 1 timetable
You'll need your student account details to access many of your online induction activities. If you haven't already activated your student account, please activate it now. Your username will consist of 'UP' followed by your student ID number (for example, UP123456).
Wednesday 7 October
10.00am-12.00pm - Online induction session: Meet the course team and your fellow students. You will be provided with a link to access this session.
2.00pm-4.00pm - Campus (face-to-face) induction session: Meet the course team and your fellow students.
Portland Building 1.66.
Keep in mind that event times and locations might change at short notice.
We recommend you bookmark, favourite or save a link to this webpage so you can revisit it before you arrive and when you're on campus.