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Methods and Techniques for Spatial Analysis

Code: 104238 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503710 Geography, Environmental Management and Spatial Planning FB 1 2


Ana Pilar Vera Martin

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.


There is no prerequisites in this course.

Objectives and Contextualisation

Methods and Techniques for Space Analysis are taught the First Year of the Degree in Geography, Environment and Territorial Planning.

This subject offers a basic introduction to the representation of data in Geography, to describe and analyze the territorial phenomena. The subject follows an approach based on the resolution of specific tasks of description or analysis, ordered according to types of data, purpose and field of application. For each specific task, the appropriate methods of data analysis (graphical, statistical or cartographic) are presented systematically, together with the necessary basic concepts and application cases.

The objectives of the subject are:

  • Capacity to solve basic tasks of analysis and presentation of data (visualization and graphical description, statistics and cartography) to describe and characterize territories or natural and social phenomena that take place in the territory.
  • Provide the necessary conceptual, methodological and technical background for subjects or regional subjects, as well as for the most advanced instrumental subjects in the treatment and analysis of geographical information.

The subject covers the conceptual, methodological and technical aspects to solve practical works of geographical analysis:

  • Concepts about the nature of analysis and geographic information.
  • Methodological approach, documentation, operational design, implementation and presentation of results of a project.
  • Compilation of data, their recording and manipulation by spreadsheets, and their organization through databases.
  • Resolution of the needs of the exploration of the information, and of description and classification of the territories or phenomena studied, through techniques of graphic representation, description and statistical classification and cartographic representation.
  • Introduction to new techniques: automatic mapping, geographic information systems, remote sensing, geolocation.
  • Access to sources, data and other resources related to geoinformation.
  • Treatment and representation of data as an instrument to describe and analyze socio-spatial phenomena.
  • Application of data processing in scientific research.

Concepts of visual communication are for the elaboration of graphic or cartographic documents effective for visualization, analysis and presentation of data.


  • Combine distinct techniques and methods of representation and spatial analysis in elaborating materials for transmitting results.
  • Demonstrate skills of self-analysis and self-criticism
  • Draw up action and intervention plans in the territory which respond to sociodemographic and environmental problems.
  • Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  • Systematically analyse and interpret environmental, demographic, urban and landscape elements.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Combine distinct techniques and methods of representation and spatial analysis in elaborating materials for transmitting results.
  2. Demonstrate geographical problems in cartographic information.
  3. Demonstrate skills of self-analysis and self-criticism.
  4. Differentiate the basic stages in scientific research into social sciences.
  5. Students must be capable of collecting and interpreting relevant data (usually within their area of study) in order to make statements that reflect social, scientific or ethical relevant issues.
  6. Summarise geographical information in basic cartographic products.



1. Methods of geographical analysis

2. Geographical information

3. Geographic data sources



4. Methods and statistical graphs of thematic description

5. Graphical methods and statistics for exploring thematic relations

6. Diagrams with their own name

7. Graphical and statistical methods of thematic classification



9. Graphic design elements

10. Format and means of presentation of results


The subject consists of 3 blocks of different content, nature and intensity, which have different development dynamics.

Block 2 - Representation methods

Block 2 is the main core and the subject's thickness (approximately 75%). It is a totally practical block and each topic is developed through a set of units divided into a variable number of tokens, one for each specific method, grouped into thematic groups or sections of the unit.

Each card includes the definition of the necessary concepts, the exposition of the method (origin, purpose, application, description, variants, utility and bibliographical references) illustrated with examples, a case or detailed example of the step-by-step procedure, and Exercises, both learning and consolidation.

The chips are short to be able to be worked independently, but they can presuppose previous chips and therefore usually require the sequential development of the group of chips in each section and each unit. In all the units, the sequence of work will be indicated by the teacher.


Blocks 1 and 3 - Cross-sectional knowledge

In addition to the methodological units (Block 2), there are units of a transversal nature. Block 1, dedicated to putting data analysis methods in the context of analysis and geographic information (approx. 15%), and Block 3, designed to provide graphic design resources (10% approx.) . The units of these two transversal blocks are not developed sequentially or by whole units, but are introduced when required by the development of Block 2.

The development of units of the transversal block 1, general concepts, and 3, of graphic design resources, is also made from notes of reduced extension, organized in charts.



15 minutes of a class will be reserved, within the timetable established by the center/title, for the complementation by the students of the evaluation surveys of the teacher's performance and the evaluation of the course.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Master classes 47 1.88 1, 4, 2, 5, 6
Type: Supervised      
Course exercices and course work 22 0.88 1, 3, 4, 2, 5, 6
Course work tutorial 3 0.12 1, 3, 4, 2, 5, 6
Type: Autonomous      
Course exercices and course work 30 1.2 1, 3, 4, 2, 5, 6
Independent student work 20 0.8 3, 4, 5



1 - Course exercises to follow the continuous evaluation of the contents.

Assessment of the course exercises: The formal aspects, the relevance of the answer that demonstrates the achievement of the degree of knowledge about the subject, the resolution, representation and interpretation of the results, as well as the real realization of the correct calculation of the calculations.

2 - Course work is where the knowledge acquired during the semester is applied and its public presentation is made.

Assessment of the course work: the formal aspects, the approach of the objective and the variables of analysis, use of the methodologies of graphic representation and analysis, development and resolution of the problems raised and public defense of the work.

The hours of the exercises and of the work of course are included in the supervised activities and of autonomous work.

3 - Exams (4 partial) to consolidate the theoretical and applied knowledge on the Methods and Techniques of the spatial analysis in Geography. Exams 1 are 2 partial which include a theoretical part and a practical part. Exams 2 are 2 partial ones that only refer to the practical part. The final mark of the exam will be the average of the 4 partials, but the average will only be done if they are passed. Otherwise they will have to recover each of them.



In order to be able to average with the exercises and the course work it is MANDATORY that the 4 partial ones are approved with a 5. In case the examination is not passed it will not be averaged with the other marks.

Continuous assessment makes it mandatory to submit all learning activities in order to pass the course.

Exercises submitted after the deadline will haveamaximum score of 5.

In order to take the exam, it is MANDATORY to have submitted all the exercises. Delivery may NOT be made after the exam date. In case of not making the deliveries the student will not be able to appear in the examination.

At the time of each assessment activity, the teacher will inform the student (Moodle) of the procedure and the date of review of grades.



Students will obtain a Not assessed/Not submitted course grade unless they have submitted more than 1/3 of the assessment items.



On carrying out each evaluation activity, lecturers will inform students (on Moodle) of the procedures to be followed for reviewing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place.



Those evaluation activities that have been suspended will not be recovered, it is not possible to appear if they have not been previously evaluated.

The maximum grade for the recovered activities will be a 7.

On carrying out each evaluation activity, lecturers will inform students (on Moodle) of the procedures to be followed for reviewing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place.



In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.



This subject does not incorporate single assessment.




In the event that tests or exams cannot be taken onsite, they will be adapted to an online format made available through the UAB’s virtual tools (original weighting will be maintained). Homework, activities and class participation will be carried out through forums, wikis and/or discussion on Teams, etc. Lecturers will ensure that students are able to access these virtual tools,or will offer them feasible alternatives.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Classe attendance 5% 0 0 1, 3, 4, 2, 5, 6
Course exercices 15% 7 0.28 1, 3, 4, 2, 5
Course work 20% 15 0.6 1, 3, 4, 2, 5, 6
Exam 1 40% 3 0.12 3, 4, 5
Exam 2 20% 3 0.12 1, 3, 4, 6


References in spanish (statistics and cartography)

Cortizo Àlvarez, Tomás (1998) Los gràficos en geografia. Gijón: Tria-ka.

Ebdon, David (1982) Estadística para geógrafos. Vilassar de Mar: Oikos-Tau.

Estebánez, José y Bradshaw, Roy P. (1978) Técnicas de cuantificación en geografía. Madrid: Tebar Flores.

Gutiérrez Puebla, Javier; Rodríguez, Rodríguez Vicente y Santos Preciado, José Miguel (1995) Técnicas cuantita­tivas: Estadística básica. Vilassar de Mar: Oikos-Tau.

Raso, José María; Martín Vide, Javier y Clavero Pedro (1987) Estadística bàsica para ciencias sociales. Barcelo­na: Ariel.

References in english (statistics and cartography)

Matthews, Huge i Foster, Ian (1989) Geographical Data: Sources, Presen­tation and Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 140 p.

Mitchell, Andy (1999) The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis. Volume 1: Geographic Patterns and Relation­ships. Redlands (California, USA): Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. 186 p.

Monmonier, Mark (1993) Mapping It Out: Expository Cartography for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Chicago (Illinois, USA): The University of Chicago Press. 301 p.

Walford, Nigel (1994) Geographical Data Analysis. Chichester (UK): John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 446 p.