Geographic Information Science Certificate

Department of Geography

The Geography Department hosts an interdisciplinary certificate program in Geographic Information Science. Open to students in all majors and to non-degree seeking students, the program is designed to address the growing demand for GIS-trained personnel in business, government, education, health care, and numerous other settings. The field encompasses integrated hardware, software, and database systems that are capable of capturing, storing, analyzing, and displaying geographical information. Upon completion of the certificate, students may be eligible to apply for an additional professional certification in GIS administrated by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI).

Geographic Information Science Certificate Requirements (18-24 credits)

1) Introductory Course (1 course)

GISC 200 or GEOG 250 or EESC/GEOL 205

2) Intermediate Course

GISC 351 or GEOG 351 (4 credits)

3) Programming Course

GISC 450 (4 credits)

4) Elective

Students must choose one elective from the following list: GEOG 340, GEOG 355, GISC 440, GISC 460, GISC 471 (4 credits)

5) Capstone Experience

To earn the certificate, students must complete either GISC 491 or GISC 499. All directed studies and internships must be approved by the Director of GIS Programs. (3-6 credits)

* Students with professional experience in GIS may have a maximum of one course or four credits waived with appropriate approval, but must take additional course credits to total 18 hours. Consult with Dr. Brian Rizzo (GIS program advisor) for additional information.

 Academic/Continuance Policies for the Certificate in GIS:

A maximum of two approved courses (3-8 credits) may be transferred from another regionally-accredited institution to meet certificate program requirements. All classes for the certificate must be completed within a four-year period following matriculation into the certificate program.

Students must maintain an overall 2.5 grade-point average in certificate program courses, or have permission from the faculty advisor, prior to registering for the final directed study or internship course. Students may be required to meet with an advisor for an annual review of progress and a summary review at the completion of course work.

Geographic Information Science Course Offerings

Geographic Information Science course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of GISC in the course listings.

200 – Introduction to GIS (4)

Introduction to GIS focuses on the theory and application of GIS technology. The course combines theory and laboratory assignments in an effort to provide students with the knowledge required to plan and undertake a project that has a GIS component. The course uses ArcGIS for practical laboratory work and to illustrate theoretical concepts. There are three main components to the course. The first focuses on a brief introduction of GIS, the nature of geographic data, map projections and data integration. The second deals with the various types of spatial data and the tools, technology, and utilities available to work with spatial data. The third focuses on the various forms of spatial data, vector and raster, and their associated extensions and tools.

351 – Spatial Analyses, Data Models, and Modeling (4)

Prerequisite: GISC 200 or GEOL/EESC 205 or GEOG 250 or permission of instructor. This course develops hands-on skills with industry standard GIS software beyond the level acquired in the introductory courses GISC 200, GEOL/ EESC 205, and GEOG 250. Students complete assignments in a wide variety of applications, including urban infrastructure management, environmental modeling, and demographic analyses. The course focuses on GIS as an analytical research tool. Upon completion,  students have a thorough understanding of the various forms of spatial data and an understanding of their structure. In addition they convert and integrate data in ArcGIS, create GIS layers (themes) in multiple formats, conduct geographic analyses, customize software applications through scripts, and draw and present conclusions and results. Students also have the necessary skills to independently complete a GIS project including establishing objectives, reviewing literature and/or practices elsewhere, and identifying, acquiring, editing, correcting, and modifying GIS layers. Students are introduced to alternative GIS applications providing a broader perspective of applications that are used in industry.

440 – Application of Spatial Statistics and Models in GIS (4)

Prerequisite: GISC 351 or GEOG 351. This course focuses on the application of statistics and quantitative methods in GIS. It emphasizes the development of statistical methodology appropriate for analyzing spatial data, modeling spatial relationships, and exploring data within ArcGIS.

450 – GIS Programming (4)

Prerequisites: GISC 351 or GEOG 351. This course teaches the fundamental concepts of computer programming, OOP concepts, and ArcObjects. Students are introduced to ArcObjects libraries for Visual Basic Applications and develop custom applications and solutions that extend core ArcGIS functionality to build GIS applications. Students learn to apply object-oriented programming concepts as they develop VBA resources to create applications and tools that perform specific GIS tasks as map navigation, feature selection and rendering. Course includes hands-on programming exercises, where students write code that exposes them to many ArcGIS tasks and commonly used ArcObjects.

460 – Designing Geodatabases (4)

Prerequisite: GISC 351 or GEOG 351. This course presents a theoretical study of the concepts of geodatabase modeling, including datasets, domains, relationships, spatial rules, and map layers. A methodology for building geodatabases is discussed. Case studies are used to evaluate existing geodatabase designs and implementations. The importance of industry standards is emphasized throughout the course. Lab exercises are used to build geodatabases and provide students with practical applications of the uses for geodatabases in the public and private sectors.

471 – Special Topics (3-6)

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Advanced course in Geographic Information Science. Topic selected in advance by instructor.

491 – Directed Study (3-6)

Prerequisites: GISC 200, GEOG 250 or GEOL/EESC 205 and permission of instructor. Intensive individual research using GIS under the guidance of a faculty member. Must be taken during the last semester or summer session of a student’s program.

499 – Internship (3-6)

Prerequisites: GISC 200, GEOG 250 or GEOL/ EESC 205 and permission of instructor. Internships offer students opportunities to experience various fields of employment while working with a variety of organizations on important and challenging projects. These experiences augment classroom learning while allowing on-the-job training. Interested students should contact the GISC program director for additional internship information.

Geography Course Offerings for the Geographic Information Science Certificate

Geography course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of GEOG in the course listings.

250 – Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Cartography (4)

An introduction to the principles of GIS and cartography and their use in presenting and analyzing geographic information. Laboratory.

340 – Remote Sensing and Air Photo Interpretation (4)

Prerequisite: GEOG 250 or EESC 205 or GISC 200. Analysis of remotely-sensed images with emphasis on the interpretation of aerial photographs and the use of imagery in geographical research. Laboratory.

351 – Spatial Analysis with GIS (4)

Prerequisite: GEOG 250 or EESC 205 or GISC 200. Concepts and applications of geographic information systems (GIS). Emphasis on the use of GIS as a method for analyzing and solving geographic problems. Laboratory.

355 – Mobile Geographic Information Systems and Global Positioning Systems (4)

Prerequisite: GEOG 250 or EESC 205 or GISC 200. Concepts and techniques of field mapping using Mobile GIS and GPS, including data collection and analysis. Detailed study of technology and applications of global positioning systems. Requires fieldwork. Laboratory.

Geology Course for the Geographic Information Science Certificate

Geology course offerings will be found under the 4 letter code of GEOL in the course listings.

205 – Computer Applications in Environmental Science and Geology (3)

This course emphasizes the acquisition of spatial data and their display and analysis within ArcGIS geographic information system software. The class also includes an introduction to the use of global positioning system instruments for data collection. Cross-listed as Environmental Science 205.