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Department of Geography


Computing, Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing

Computing resources play an important part in courses at undergraduate, Masters and PhD levels. Formal teaching covers basic information technology, Geographical Information Systems, Spatial Statistics and Remote Sensing.

The main teaching laboratory consists of 40 PCs with a wide range of geographical software provided. There are also two separate smaller teaching laboratories for GIS and Research student use located in the Sir William Hardy Building, including large-memory multi-core workstations. These facilities provide opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students alike to develop ‘hands on’ skills in geographical information technology. In addition, the computing facilities provide the framework in which the Department carries out many of its research activities. To this end staff PCs have wide-ranging support for anything from computational modelling of ice flows to textual analysis or statistical processing of census data.

Computing teaching laboratory

The current provision of computing in the Department of Geography consists of over 250 computers spread over four sites in central Cambridge. In addition there are multi-function printer-copier-scanners, and a number of specialised pieces of equipment, such as an A0 printer for posters, projectors and large-format touch-screens for giving presentations, and field equipment including a set of laptops available for loan.

A number of image processing and geographic information system (GIS) packages including ESRI’s ARCGIS, QGIS, Multispec, ImageJ, and modelling packages such as Matlab and Mathematica are available, together with statistical packages such as R, SPSS and GeoDa.

The system is managed by the IT Manager, assisted by two Computer Officers, who are responsible for day-to-day running of the facilities, a web developer who develops web applications for the Department’s Intranet and public webpages, and a Geomatics Support Officer who provides technical assistance for those with computational mapping requirements.

Further computing facilities, including High Performance Computing, video conferencing, remote meeting and lecture capture tools, and many software packages are available from the University Information Services.

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