Apr 19, 2024  
Fall 2014 Catalog 
Fall 2014 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geographic Information Systems, Certificate

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Degree: Certificate
HEGIS Code: 5399
Curriculum Code: 1470
Campus Location: North,
Liberal Arts Division

Program Description

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate Program is designed to prepare students with the geospatial, mapping and technology skills and concepts required for GIS Technician positions in a variety of applications and fields. The program also prepares students to continue in more advanced GIS and geospatial programs. GIS is a mapping and spatial database technology used in a broad spectrum of career and research fields outside the traditional bounds of geography; police departments, businesses, health care planning, transportation management and local governments use GIS to manage and analyze spatial data. GIS technology is a relatively new addition to information systems technology with strong projected job growth both locally and nationally.

GIS technicians are trained to work with GIS software and databases to perform some of the following functions:

  • manage and update spatial databases;
  • organize and present spatial data- usually in the form of a digital map-for use by decision makers;
  • create specific applications for non-GIS-trained users; and 
  • perform spatial analysis on GIS data and make recommendations to decision makers based on the results of the analysis.

The GIS Certificate Program consists of a core of required GIS courses that allow students to develop skills in the latest geospatial technology in a hands-on learning environment. As students progress through the core courses, real GIS projects are explored to demonstrate how geospatial technologies are applied to solve problems in real situations. Students may opt to participate in an internship program to for experience in performing GIS tasks similar to what would be expected in a GIS technician job.

Additional GIS coursework requirements are flexible to allow students to create a background in areas that will complement their work in GIS. Students may also combine the GIS certificate program with a variety of associate degree programs at ECC. For example, students may want to add the GIS certificate to their regular program in Business, Criminal Justice, Environmental Science, or Social Science.

Program Competencies

The purpose of this curriculum is to provide students with the concept knowledge and skills necessary to transfer successfully into a baccalaureate GIS program or to enter the workforce as a GIS technician. The coursework in this program will focus on the development of four areas of GIS-related concepts and skills, as identified below.

Area #1: The student will acquire a basic understanding of the geographic terms and concepts that are necessary for the appropriate use of GIS. These will include concepts of spatial variables, scale, map projection and map coordinate systems. The student will also be aware of the history of GIS, how it fits into overall information management, a variety of applications in which GIS can contribute to analysis and decision-making, and also have a sense of where the technology will be headed in the future.

Area #2: The student will acquire skills in the use of GIS software and hardware, with experience in at least two major GIS software products such as ESRI ArcGIS and ERDAS Imagine; and experience using Global Positioning Systems (GPS). The student will be able to load software, collect data with GPS in the field, import and use spatial data, conduct analysis of the data in GIS software and produce output.

Area #3: The student will be able to deal with a variety of GIS data issues, including, but not limited to: database creation through digitizing and on-screen drawing, editing, design, management and data conversion for use in GIS software. The student will also be aware of the importance of metadata, privacy concerns and issues of data sources, modification, and accuracy.

Area #4: The student will be able to perform a GIS project (analysis for decision-making or creation of a GIS product, such as a map or database). This will include the initial problem statement, identification of data needs, acquisition or creation of data, determination of the type of analysis to be conducted or type of product most appropriate to deal with the problem statement, performance of the analysis and the creation and presentation of the results.


Total Degree Credits: 31

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Recommended area electives:

Students may wish to augment their GIS studies with concentrations in other disciplines, such as Criminal Justice, Environmental Science, Marketing, Civil Engineering, Social Science, or Computer Science. Students will choose from the following list of area electives (or other areas of interest to the student) in consultation with their adviser according to their particular interests and career goals. This list is suggestive and is not meant to be exclusive of other options.

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