GIS programs will benefit from $500 million in college grants

September 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Education

At least two colleges have stated that they plan to apply grant funds to their Geographic Information Systems (GIS) programs.  There are a total of 297 schools that will receive grants as individual applicants or as members of a consortium.

The University of Hawaii Maui College in connection with Kauai Community College and Hawaii Community College plan to target the GIS industry.  In addition to developing a GIS certificate program, the university/colleges have made plans to partner with key employers such as U.S. Geologic Survey and Esri.

The other is Stark State College that will cover curriculum development for new associate degrees and certificates related to the emerging oil and gas industry.  It will also go towards creating and supplying training labs for computers, geographic information systems (GIS), and geology.

This grant will add a big boost for these two programs, and there is sure to be more benefits for other GIS programs at the nearly 300 recipient schools.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced $500 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country for the development and expansion of innovative training programs. The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers. The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.

Read more from the Department of Labor’s press release…
Grantee Summary PDF

Related Info:

Maps of grant totals by state for round one, and combined totals from round one and round two.

Stark State to tap grant for shale-related training


Centralia College adds new GIS courses

September 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Education

Centralia College East in Morton, Washington recently added two new Geographic Information Systems (GIS) courses to their list of courses.  GIS 110 provides the introduction to the geographic information systems technology and is a prerequisite to GIS 250 which covers advanced topics and remote sensing.

Below are the course descriptions for the two new courses:


GIS 110
Introduction to the principles of geographic information systems: data sources, data models, capturing and manipulating GIS data, geography concepts, and spatial data. Hands-on practice with GIS software. Prerequisite: MATH 098, must have computer skills (email, file structure, windows).

GIS 250
Application of geographic information systems (GIS) and techniques of remote sensing in natural resource management, including area determination, scale, height measurement, and forest analysis. Detailed cases are studied. Prerequisite: GIS 110, ENGL 099, MATH 099 or instructor permission.

Read more from the news release: GIS classes offered at Morton education center

Centralia College is the oldest continuously operating community college in the state of Washington. The college was founded in 1925 and has a rich heritage of professional, technical, transfer, and basic skills programs serving the community.

Centralia College East
701 Airport Way
P.O. Box 147
Morton, WA 98356
(360) 496-5022


Kansas State GIS Certificate Programs

September 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

K-State has a great program for those interested in geography.  For those who are looking for more of a GIS focus, they offer two types of certificate programs: Undergraduate Certificate in GIS and the Graduate Certificate in GIScience.

Undergraduate Certificate in GIS

Students looking for an undergraduate certificate come from a variety of area such as agronomy, biological sciences, economics, engineering, geography, landscape architecture, and sociology.  Each one of these areas have direct benefit from GIS.  This certificate is for those students want to have an adequate foundation in geospatial tools.  The certificate is designed to help students prepare for an entry-level position working with GIS.

The following courses are required for the Undergraduate Certificate in GIS:

Ref No.

Course Name


GEOG 302

Cartography & Thematic Mapping


GEOG 508

Geographic Information Systems I


GEOG 702

Computer Mapping & GeoVisualization


GEOG 705

Remote Sensing of the Environment


GEOG 708 Geographic Information Systems II 3
One additional course dealing with a basic or applied aspect of geospatial technology or spatial analysis. 3

Total Credit Hours:


Graduate Certificate in GIScience

The Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIScience) is designed to provide graduate students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the rapidly expanding field of GIScience or apply GIScience concepts in their own field of study.

The Graduate Certificate in GIScience may be awarded as a “stand-alone” certificate or in conjunction with the completion of graduate degree requirements in one of the academic units at Kansas State University.

Three components comprise the program curriculum:

  • A set of prerequisites to gain entry into the program
  • A core geospatial courses focusing on geographic information systems (GIS) and satellite remote sensing
  • A set of elective courses that allow for the exploration of advanced themes in GIScience and/or the application of GIScience in geography or related disciplines

Certification Requirements:

A maximum of 6 transfer credit hours may be used to meet program requirements.  Students must earn a minimum GPA of 3.33 in the Geospatial Core to qualify for the Graduate Certificate in GIScience.  The graduate faculty for the program will periodically review the certificate requirements and have the authority to pass modifications to the approved list of courses.


  • Competency in cartography, thematic mapping, or geodesy (e.g., GEOG 302)
  • Competency in basic statistics (e.g., STAT 320, STAT 330, STAT 350)
  • Competency in object-oriented computer programming (e.g., Introduction to Visual Basic)

Geospatial Core (9 credit hours)

  • GEOG 508 Geographic Information Systems I (3 cr)
  • GEOG 705 Remote Sensing of the Environment (3 cr)
  • GEOG 708 Geographic Information Systems II (3 cr)

Elective Courses – Select Two (minimum of 6 credit hours)

  • AGRON 655 Site-Specific Agriculture (3 cr)
  • BAE 690 Non-Point Pollution Engineering (3 cr)
  • CE 585 Civil Engineering Project – must have GIScience focus (3 cr)
  • CIS 501 Software Architecture and Design (3 cr)
  • CIS 560 Database System Concepts (3 cr)
  • CIS 635 Introduction to Computer-based Knowledge Systems (3 cr)
  • CIS 636 Introduction to Computer Graphics (3 cr)
  • DAS/DEN/GENAG 582 Natural Resources/Environmental Sciences Project – must have GIScience focus (3 cr)
  • GEOG 610 Geography Internship – must have GIScience focus (2-3 cr)
  • GEOG 700 Quantitative Analysis in Geography (3 cr)
  • GEOG 702 Computer Mapping and Geographic Visualization (3 cr)
  • GEOG 711 Topics in Remote Sensing (3 cr)
  • GEOL 560 Field Methods (3 cr)
  • LAR 758 Land Resource Information Systems (3 cr)

For more information check out –

Note: The information within this article has been thoroughly researched but should be verified with the college.  Publication of this article was not initiated by the college but is the sole work of GIS Pathway.

East Carolina University GIS Program

July 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

East Carolina University is located in Greenville, NC and is the third largest college in the North Carolina System. ECU has a strong geography department with several degree opportunities. When it comes to GIS, they have one Undergraduate Certificate Program in Geographic Information Science.

The program is designed to provide students from a variety of disciplines both the theoretical and practical competencies to be able to develop and manage Geographic Information projects.   Students should also be able to interpret and implement GIS as a decision support system.

Students from a variety of majors who have enrolled in this program include:

  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Biology
  • Planning
  • Marketing and management
  • Political science
  • History
  • Coastal studies

This certificate program requires a minimum of 15 s.h. and is composed of the following courses:

Core Courses:

  • Fundamentals of GIS
  • Fundamentals of GIS
  • Geographic Information
  • Systems I
  • Introduction to GPS

Plus One Additional Course:

  • GIS Applications Programming
  • Advanced Cartographic Design & Production
  • Remote Sensing II
  • Geographic Information
  • Systems II
  • Introduction to GIS in Planning

The Center for Geographic Information Science facility is composed of 25 PC workstations.  These workstations provided a variety of mapping software including:

  • Applied Imagery’s Quick Terrain Modeler
  • ArcGIS Desktop 9.3
  • ArcInfo Workstation 9.3
  • ERDAS Imagine 9.1
  • Interactive Visualization Systems’ (IVS 3D) Fledermaus & Dmagic
  • Visual Nature Studio 2 w/ Scene Express


The two main scholarships that are advertised are the ASPRS NC Chapter Scholarship and the NCGITA Scholarship.  Students can apply for thse scholarships through the individual organization and are awarded at thier discresion.

You can find additional information about the GIS Certificate Program at

Note: The information within this article has been thoroughly researched but should be verified with the college.  Publication of this article was not initiated by the college but is the sole work of GIS Pathway.

Careers at ESRI and in the Geospatial Industry

May 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Career

An excellent podcast interview from VerySpatial with Jason Otero of ESRI was just put out this week.  The topic covered the details of getting a job at ESRI and also other geospatial companies.  Jason mentioned that even in the state of this economy, they are still hiring.

The main ESRI locations that are hiring are Redlands, CA; Washington, DC; Charlotte, NC and St. Louis, Mo.  The Redlands office has the greatest opportunity for jobs, but the others are quickly expanding.  In all ESRI has a main office with 10 regional offices.

Hot Jobs at ESRI include:

  • Software Products
  • Professional Services
  • Technical Support

ESRI has put together an excellent careers website where you can create a profile.  Under this profile you can fill out an application, submit a cover letter and resume, and apply for jobs.  There is also a dedicated site for college graduates to learn more about moving from “a college campus to an ESRI campus”.  You can find more information on the ESRI Grad web page.

Maybe you are not looking for a job at ESRI, or maybe you are not near one of their locations; Jason suggested looking up an ESRI Business Partner where many opportunities reside.  You can find a business partner here.

Catch the entire interview from VerySpatial –

Being Career Smart in the Layoff World

April 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Career

I recently came across this blog post on How to find a GIS job in tough economic times.  This post has really got me thinking about how difficult  job hunting is in our current economic situation.  Even if we currently have a job, we are keeping our eyes peeled for opportunities just in case a layoff happens.  So what tips can we apply to our career that will help us hurdle over these tough times?

Social Networking

This has got to be one of the most important career moves that can be made.  Networking will allow you to interact with others who are like minded and even if they seem to not have any value now, you will find you might be coming back to them later.  The main topic doesn’t need to be job related, but find a connection through your industry or even just some special interest you may have.  Having a constant connection will other will be very beneficial if you find a need for a career change.  Here are a few good social networking site, you may find others that are more specific to your industry.

  • Twitter – A micro-blog that allows to you share what you are doing while being updated with what your friends are doing.  A lot of companies have their own Twitter account and are looking for future employees.
  • Facebook – A social network that allows you to have friends, be part of smaller networks, add pictures, send messages, etc.  It has a main component similar to Twitter which you can tell other what you are doing.
  • LinkedIn – A social network that is more career focused.  The profile area is more like a resume with experience, education, associations, awards, etc.  This network is a little more strict with how you can connect with others.  You must verify how you are connected (ex.: coworker, friend, group member, etc.).  LinkedIn also allows you to look at those who are connected to your connections and you can request that your friends introduce you to their friends.


Forums are a great place to interact with others.  If you have questions, there are a number of users who are ready and willing to provide an answer.  Maybe you have the experience to contribute, then this is a great way to build a positive reputation with your peers.  Here a few good ones for those interested in GIS:

Career Profiles

Most large companies have a career area where you can create an account.  If you have some ideas of where you might want to work then I would suggest that you create a career account with that company.  Creating such an account will allow you to keep up with available jobs and maybe have to opportunity to be paired with one that fit your liking.  If you currently have a job then you are under no obligation to have an interview.  This just create a was for their Human Resources department to see you has a possible candidate for open positions.  Keeping the irons in the fire will make things easier when times get tough.  ESRI has a great career website where you can set up a Career Account and also check out the ESRI career blog.

Stay Up on Technology

Technology is ever changing.  A great way to stay up on technology is through various blogs and podcasts.  There are also some good magazines also published that will keep you up to date.  Here are a few of my favorite sources:

Go Back to College

Going back to college is a great way to help advance your career.  There are a lot of colleges that provide education along the geospatial technology area.  I have compiled an excellent list of these colleges.  Adding a certificate or even a full degree to your resume will sure help boost you marketability.  Continuing your education is a positive factor that will show an employer that you are serious about your career.


Adding a certification can also be a help to your career.  Although there is debate about the quality of the ones available, I personally don’t think it will hurt you.  Some of the main ones along the geospatial technology area are GISP, ASPRS, and STARS.   Most people already meet the qualifications for certification and there is only a few minor steps to obtaining a certification.

Although focusing on just one of these areas will sure enhance your career, a combination of all of them will begin opening doors beyond your expectation.  I have seen these work for myself and also with others, so I know it can work for you.  Do something positive for your career today, it is never to late to start!

GIS Boot Camp vs. Traditional Teaching

February 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

I recently came across a post about the Introduction to GIS class at the University of Richmond.  Kimberly Klinker changed up her Introduction to GIS class from the traditional lecture/lab format to a boot camp/project format.  She did five weeks of teaching basic concepts of GIS and the ArcGIS software then used the remaining part of the semester to assign a project.  Wondering what the result was?  Well according to the article, it was a success.  The class was able to present a project that helps students with disabilities transverse the campus (Read more on this project).

This teaching style may sound very strange and unorthodox, but the evolution of education is providing various techniques to help students learn.  I must first commend Ms. Klinker for thinking outside of the box.  I do not believe that the traditional style of learning through lecture is the best method for this technology.  However, the boot camp method may also not be the best.  You have to remember that each individual student has their own learning style.  Some are able to use a self study workbook approach and learn more than sitting under the lecture of an experienced professor.  Others may prefer the traditional classroom style, while there may be a few who even like to learn by trial and error through experience.  Is there a particular learning style that works best for Geospatial Technology?  I believe that this subject cannot be taught through just lecture.  There must be some type of application.  Having book knowledge is OK, but putting that knowledge to use is even better.

I like that fact that these students were able to take on a project from start to finish.  Application, application, application is important!  Knowing how to perform a task is one thing; being able to apply it is another.  Students can be provided with the tools for Geospatial Technology, but they must also be able to discern when it is best to put them to use.

Does a mixture of learning styles produce the best environment for learning GIS, or is there a particular style that works best?

[poll id=”3″]

North Central Michigan Adds GIS Program

January 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

North Central Michigan is expanding their GIS program to include an Associate of Science Degree in Geographic Information Systems. The college just began a GIS certificate program for the spring 2009 semester. The first offered course, Introduction to Geographic Information Systems I, will allow students to learn the concept of GIS which will include basic mapping concepts, coordinate systems, georeferencing spatial data, and vector and raster data models. To fit the time needs of perspective students, this introductory course is currently being provided as a night class. Other classes will be added as the program expands.

Here is some dialog from a Petosky News-Review interview article with Sam McLin, associate dean of liberal arts:

“If you have ever played with programs like Google Earth or Onstar in your car, you have experimented with a basic form of GIS,” McLin said. “GIS is much more powerful and used in many fields. Exposing students to this here at NCMC may prepare them for future study in the earth sciences, civil engineering, biology or geography.”

Additionally, McLin said many government agencies, environmental consultants, surveying companies, municipal planning firms and power companies use GIS everyday.

“Any firm, organization, municipality or individual wishing to build, permit, tax or change the use of any land depends on someone using GIS,” she said.

The addition of the program is important to the college because it gives students more options.

“It’s important to the community because it will hopefully allow graduates to get a job, advance their career or start a new career path,” McLin said.

Another benefit? The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that many jobs that use GIS, such as surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists and surveying and mapping technicians are expected to increase 21 percent from 2006 to 2016.

“The GIS field is one of the few career fields expected to grow in the coming years,” McLin said. “The average salary is really good around the country. There are good paying jobs for a field that seems to be expanding.”

Read the full article

From their website, North Central Michigan College is described as:

…an open-door community college based in Petoskey. Through its University Center partnerships, students can take courses leading to certificates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from participating universities. North Central’s Institute for Business & Industry Training offers non-credit job skills training tailored to meet individual needs. In addition to its main campus in Petoskey, North Central offers classes, academic advising, testing and other services in Cheboygan, Gaylord and East Jordan.

This program looks like one to watch. I am interested to see how it grows with enrollment as well as course content. I encourage those in the North Central Michigan area to support this program and take a new course or two.

Breakdown the GIS PhD

December 11, 2008 by  
Filed under Education

Most GIS professionals are no where near the PhD level.  Most are content at the Bachelor’s level or maybe the Master’s level.  However, have you considered the PhD option?  Is there any professional value in a GIS Phd?  This topic is discussed in the Directions Magazine podcast: The GIS PhD Dilemma.  Joe Francica and Adena Schutzberg discuss the pros and cons of this educational step.

Adena points out that the individuals that have a PhD in which she has encountered are working in the education field.  And also the professors that she had while pursuing her geography degree, have received their PhD in Geography, not GIS.  Additionally,  she mentions two PhD in GIS programs:

University at Buffalo
PhD Degree in Geography with Specialization in GIS

The University of Texas at Dallas
Doctor of Philosophy in Geospatial Information Sciences

Joe brought up an excellent question, do you get your degree in GIS the tool or GIS the Science?  He also mentions that he hasn’t seen any job posts that require a PhD in GIS.

Is there a demand for this designation?  Will you make the choice to follow this path?  Listen to this podcast and make the decision for yourself.

Directions Magazine Article

Mp3 Podcast Download

Do I need GIS College Training?

August 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Education

As you embark into the world of GIS, you may ask yourself, “Do I need GIS training?” And if so, what type of training do I need? I’m sure that this is a question that we all have asked at some point. And I have found that it is all up to the individual evaluating their current situation with these few questions:

  1. Where do I want to go with GIS?
  2. What previous education do I have?
  3. What is my learning style?

Read more