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Open-source GIS for Landscape and Architecture Offices

This practical, design-office-oriented course will prepare you to work with a range of GIS-based NSW Government data sources that can support your architectural, engineering and construction projects.

About this course

While GIS sources, environmental data, proprietary local government and industry data are used widely in the public service, their potential remains largely under-utilised in architecture, engineering and construction projects.

This course will provide a practical demonstration of the data types and GIS resources available in NSW, as well as the open source and proprietary softwares that can be used to visualise, analyse, and manipulate the data contained within them.

This data can then be integrated into various aspects of architectural and landscape architecture office practice. The course content is relevant for architecture, landscape, engineering and planning projects at all scales and stages, from site appraisal and selection through to feasibility and environmental impact assessments.

Course outline

Over three days, you’ll learn to plan, carry out and process GIS large scale terrestrial data to generate rich GIS models. You will also get to know the fundamentals of open source and proprietary software packages as they relate to GIS data in small and large office and project management contexts and learn to integrate resulting data into AEC and other office software applications.

You will complete a half-day exercise in data retrieval, manipulation and integration into office projects; two sessions with lectures and practical examples of data implementation and analysis; and a range of activities aimed at demystifying GIS-related software packages.

The following topics will be covered:

  • Data types, formats, availability, access
  • Navigation of data sources
  • Data themes (key topics)
  • Geospatial layers (CAD)
  • Hydrology, rivers, bore, geology, vegetation, animal habitat, soil, geology and spatial data
  • DEM, terrain and Bathymetry models
  • Basic and intermediate analysis of features
  • Interfacing data with typical practice software Interaction with datasets and practical exercises
  • Usage rights and publishing acknowledgements.

In between workshop sessions, you will also be encouraged to install and run the largely open source software on your own laptop. As well as giving you the chance to bring queries and issues to the second workshop session, this approach will maximise your face-to-face learning time and give you a dataset to share with your colleagues.

The course takes place in the UTS computer labs where you’ll process and apply the resulting data, specifically targeting individual participant project examples where possible.

Course learning objectives

1.  Understand infrastructure-navigating data sources.

2.  Understand projection systems and geolocation, access and interaction with various free data sources, including:

  • 3D terrain data
  • Parcel boundaries
  • Infrastructure (power, water, pipeline, rail)
  • Road data
  • Basic import/export and relevant analysis functions.

3.  Have fundamental skills in GIS software and workflows, including:

  • QGIS and associated applications
  • CAD software, including Rhino 3D, Autodesk (various), ArchiCAD and Vectorworks.

Key benefits of this microcredential

Successfully completing the course will equip participants with knowledge and expertise in innovative and emerging digital tools. Participants will gain relevant skills in the application of these tools within the design field allowing for their use in various parts of industry-based projects.

This microcredential aligns with the 3-credit point subject, Open-source GIS for Landscape and Architecture Offices (80116) in the Master of Technology. This microcredential may qualify for recognition of prior learning at this and other institutions.

Who is this course for?

This course is aimed at senior architects, surveyors, engineers and landscape architects, and other professionals working in public and private sector architecture and landscape architecture professional workplaces.

Teaching and learning strategies

Face to Face learning through the use of digital tools.

Assessment criteria

Assessment will be Pass/Fail.

Minimum requirements

To pass the course, participants must have full attendance and complete all submission requirements as per the assessment criteria stated in the course outline.


Morning and afternoon tea provided.

Fees and Discount

Full price: $2,500 (GST free)

Special price: $1,500 (GST free)

To help you build future-focused skills during COVID-19, this course is currently offered at a reduced rate of $1,500 (Full price $2,500).

Please note that discounts cannot be combined. A limit of one discount applies per person per course session.



20 March




2.5 days



Meet the Expert

James Melsom

James Melsom
Senior Lecturer

James Melsom is a senior lecturer at UTS in the School of Architecture and a UAV professional with over 10 years of experience flying in Australia, the US, Southeast Asia and Europe. 

A landscape architect, researcher and teacher at UTS, James has applied both photogrammetry and laser scanning within large scale projects worldwide, both within academia and practice.

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Additional information

NSW Health advice

UTS is undertaking a number of social distancing initiatives, informed by NSW Health advice, to help reduce social interactions in support of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. As it stands, the date of the microcredential is yet to be impacted by these initiatives and so the course will move forward unaffected. In the instance that the course cannot move forward as planned and will require to be postponed, participants can choose to remain enrolled and attend during the course’s revised date or request a full refund. Should there be any updates to the above, we will contact all participants with the revised information. If you have any questions in the interim, please do not hesitate to email Dr Mohammed Makki:

Book a session

Sat 20 Mar 2021 -
Sat 27 Mar 2021
Expert: James Melsom
  • UTS Campus - CB06..TBC
  • Online
  • 3 sessions, 20 hours total
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