Geographic information system (GIS) is a geospatial technology that visualizes, analyzes and transforms data into geographic knowledge. GIS links location to information (such as people to addresses, buildings to parcels, or streets within a network) and layers that information in order to reveal relationships, patterns and trends. It is used to model population growth and distributions, manage wildlife habitats, map crime, perform market demographic analyses and develop distribution networks and evacuation plans for community preparedness. GIS helps planners, environmental scientists, biologists and business owners to make site location decisions and solve urban and environmental problems. A background in GIS provides opportunities in federal, state and local agencies such as the:
- Fish and Wildlife Service
- Department of Homeland Security
- National Park Service
- National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
- Bureau of Land Management
- United States Forest Service
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Department of Transportation
- State Police
- Department of Public Works
- Department of Conservation and Recreation
- Department of Environmental Protection
The nonprofit and private sector employs professionals trained in GIS in database creation, sales and marketing, cartographic production, software and applications development, data collection & analysis and project management. GIS professionals may be employed by utilities & communications firms, banking, retail, real estate and insurance companies, environmental engineering firms, regional planning agencies and conservation organizations. GIS professionals hold the following titles: GIS Technician, GIS Analyst, GIS Specialist, GIS Manager, System/Database Administrator and GIS Software Engineer.
The GIS Minor is designed to introduce students to the fundamental concepts, analytical techniques, software and hardware used in GIS. Upon successful completion of the minor, students will be able to understand the core concepts underlying GIS, how GIS is used in a wide variety of subject areas and apply geospatial concepts and GIS to solve real world problems and to communicate effectively complex information to a diverse audience.