GIS Classes: Overview of Topics Covered in GIS Classes

Published Sep 20, 2009

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GIS (Geographic Information System) is a computer database that stores geographic information like maps, directions and environmental data for instant access in search queries. Pursuing a certificate, associate's, bachelor's or master's degree in the fast-growing GIS industry can lead to a career as a land surveyor, cartographer, city planner or mapping technician. Read on to find out more about the various levels of GIS degrees and learn what coursework each degree program entails.

Overview of Topics Covered in GIS Certificate Classes

GIS certificates are often earned by business or environmental science students seeking entrance into a GIS-related field after earning their bachelor's degree or for working professionals wishing to gain some geographic planning skills. These classes present an overview of all the different GIS software programs and detail ways of expressing data within them. Courses like map analysis, site planning, remote sensing techniques and public planning analysis offer a more in-depth look at commonly used topographic and land planning programs and techniques. Such techniques include cartography, spatial analysis, tabular data management and geocoding.

Overview of Topics Covered in GIS Associate's Degree Classes

In addition to providing fundamental information about GIS databases, associate's degree programs detail the application of GIS in the professional world. Many GIS associate's degree curricula begin with fundamental courses like geographic map information and global, national and local geography. Degree programs further lay the foundation for GIS careers with courses teaching professional and fundamental GIS-related skills, such as relational databases, technical writing and cartographic principles. Most such classes include both theoretical and laboratory work in order to supply students with well-rounded GIS applications skills. Many programs also feature core education classes in topics often related to GIS careers, such as community civics, statistics and environmental science.

Overview of Topics Covered in GIS Bachelor's Degree Classes

Relevant coursework for GIS bachelor's degree programs prepares students for skilled positions in GIS technology, cartography and public administration. In addition to GIS desktop applications, students also learn the fundamentals of Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Courses such as cartography and geostatistics teach students to create electronic maps and analyze the data within them, which is helpful to students wishing to pursue careers as land surveyors.

Students learn to apply GIS principles and analytics through classes like GIS community planning, which prepares them to work in the public administration sector. Environmental studies, including courses like chemistry, botany, zoology and environmental anthropology, are part of many GIS bachelor's degree programs. Many degree programs also require information systems technology courses, such as systems design and analysis, computer science and Web design.

Overview of Topics Covered in GIS Master's Degree Classes

GIS Master of Science degree programs prepare students for careers in colleges, research facilities and high-ranking government and military officials. Master's degree students learn principles of GIS applications, statistics and analysis and explore the role GIS plays in the many industries it benefits, such as healthcare, education and city planning. Many master's degree programs offer classes dealing with government planning, public administration, GIS in education and the health applications of GIS. GIS master's degree programs also help students keep abreast of the industry's frequent technological advancements with classes like GIS research methods and technical issues in GIS.

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