The Professional GIS Project

MSc in Applied GIS, University of Sheffield, Dept. Urban Studies and Planning, 2022

Module Instructor

Fall 2022

This is a project-based module based on a real-world professional GIS project for an external client using a variety of different spatial datasets and GIS methods. The aim of the module is to prepare you for professional practice in GIS and spatial analysis through a group-work approach which places emphasis on collaboration, team working, objective-setting and delivery of specified outputs at key points. This module is taught through a couple of lectures and supervised group work sessions. It is assessed through a combination of an interim report, final report and group presentation in addition to a mandatory – but non-assessed – peer-review and self-assessment. Individual briefs for each project will be circulated separately.


The aim of this module is to familiarise you with the nature of the client-analyst relationship in the field of GIS and to develop in you the ability to produce relevant research focused on a specific policy problem. More specifically, the unit aims to:

  • Engender in you the ability to work as part of a team to produce a discrete piece of GIS research within a fixed time frame.
  • Develop your ability to work on a professional GIS project.
  • Help you develop an awareness of the potential of GIS in professional practice.
  • Provide you with the opportunity to develop your communicative and analytical abilities in relation to disseminating the results of your work.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit, you should be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to work effectively, as part of a team, to produce a series of high quality outputs on a pre-defined GIS research topic.
  • The ability to work with effectively on a client-based project by adhering closely to the project brief.
  • Knowledge on the role that GIS and spatial analysis methods can play in helping organisations increase the potential of their data to inform their current practice and future plans.
  • A high degree of competence in visualising the results of your project analysis in a meaningful way.
  • The ability to manage disparate workflows and tasks and to combine such work into coherent pieces of written work.
  • Expertise in oral communication of key messages from a discrete research project and the ability to justify the selection of GIS research methods and dissemination techniques.