GIS Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems students with drone technology

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) offings include


A GIS is an information system that is designed to work with data referenced by spatial or geographic coordinates. In other words, a GIS is both a database system with specific capabilities for spatially-referenced data, as well as a set of operations for working [analysis] with the data. (Star and Estes, 1990)

Simply put, a GIS combines layers of information about a place to give you a better understanding of that place. What layers of information you combine depends on your purpose—finding the best location for a new store, analyzing environmental damage, viewing similar crimes in a city to detect a pattern, and so on.

The program is built on a foundation of computer-aided mapping and surveying technology for collecting spatial data, database generation and manipulation for tabular data, and GIS specific courses for organization, analysis and reporting.

Students in this program create maps that identify quantities and/or densities, analyze what's inside or near a study area and indicate change. Graduates work in retail and commercial businesses, natural resources, education, federal/state/local governments, banking and insurance, internet, publishing and real estate. GIS careers typically include positions such as GIS technician, project manager, computer programmer, database administrator, system administrator, cartographic designer, business development, and related managerial and administrative roles

The following are the goals of the GIS AAS degree and certificate program:

  • Utilize mechanisms to input, store, query and retrieve spatial and attribute data in a digital format.
  • Obtain, analyze, document and utilize geographic information for various sources.
  • Communicate geographic information to a variety of users verbally, graphically and in writing.
  • Utilize "tools" of the discipline in the collecting, processing and presentation of geographic data.
  • Critically analyze and present plans/solutions to geographic problems/questions.
  • Interact within a multidisciplinary setting.

The 1-year Certificate program is intended for someone with existing skills and/or an academic degree that wishes to obtain GIS specific tools for use in their discipline.

The 2-year Degree program is intended for someone who wishes to begin a career in GIS and has little or no technical or academic background.

Please call Art Benefiel, (541)-383-7703 for more details. Either degree or certificate program is best started fall term.

Click to view: GIS Program Details and Class Schedules .

Click to view: GIS Career Pathway.

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