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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 microcredential

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 microcredential provides 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.

Key benefits of this microcredential

This microcredential has been designed to equip participants with:

  • Knowledge and expertise in innovative and emerging digital tools
  • 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 should do this microcredential?

This microcredential is suitable for senior architects, surveyors, engineers and landscape architects and other professionals working in public and private sector architecture and landscape architecture professional workplaces.


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).

*Price subject to change. Please check price at time of purchase. 

Enrolment conditions

COVID-19 response 

Additional course information

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 during the course:

  • 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 delivery

Face-to-face learning through the use of digital tools.

You will start by exploring examples from the current state-of-the-art in robotic fabrication in architecture, engaging in discussions of the potential disciplinary shifts that these processes enable and foreshadow. Following an induction to the UTS DAB Advanced Fabrication Lab, you’ll investigate the robotic workcell, getting hands on with specific system elements and the various forms of robotic motion.

Next, you’ll observe the fabrication process, which will be demonstrated using rod-bend sub-assembly, illustrating each of the key process parameters. You will then use Rhino 3D, Python programming and/or Grasshopper 3D to develop your designs and produce the necessary instruction files to have them fabricated.

Starting with a simple parametric assembly, you’ll produce your first material prototype, working through an iterative process to evolve the design, your unique performance objectives, and a set of 1:1 prototypes. Finally, you’ll use photogrammetry to scan your prototype, enabling you to compare the as-built object with the initial digital model.

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.


Assessment will be pass/fail.

  • In order to pass the microcredential, participants must have full attendance and complete all submission requirements as per the assessment criteria stated in the course outline.

On-campus and onsite course logistics


  • Morning and afternoon tea will be provided.

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