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Thread: GIS certficiate -- help me choose one!

  1. #1

    GIS certficiate -- help me choose one!

    So I'm thinking of picking up a GIS Cert between undergrad and grad school. Is this a good idea? I've been looking at local colleges and what they offer, and the 3 that i've looked at have almost totally different courses/credits. One school requires 24 cr while the other requires 12 cr! Which one sounds better?

    Also, one says Certificiate of Proficiency, another Certificate of Achievement..any difference?

    Option 1:

    Certificate of Proficiency in GIS
    (2 proposed options: Credit & Non-credit)
    ē Satisfy prerequisites (Basic computer proficiency & AUR Math)
    ē Take the following 3 GIS Courses:
    o GEOG 250 (GIS I) - Contemporary Applications of GIS (3 CH)
    o GEOG 350 (GIS II) Ė Contemporary Analysis with GIS (3 CH)
    o GEOG 450 (GIS III) - Contemporary Modeling with GIS (3 CH)
    ē Independent Research, Co-op, or Professional Experience (3 CH)
    12 CHē Pass a GIS Proficiency Exam offered by an accrediting agency (e.g., URISA)

    Option 2:

    Geographic Information Systems Certificate Program

    (21 credits)
    GIS 101 Cartography/Computer Map Reading 3
    GIS 111 Fundamentals of GIS 4
    GIS 201 Intro. to Spatial A n a l y s i s 4
    GIS 211 Advanced Applications in GIS 4
    GIS 298 GIS Technology Projects 3
    GIS 299 GIS Internship 3

    Select one from the following (3 cre d i t s )
    GIS 220 GIS in Homeland Security or
    GIS 221 GIS in Law Enforcement or
    GIS 222 GIS in Economic Development 3

    Option 3:
    Code: COA.GIS
    Degree: C of A
    Program: Geographic Information Systems

    First Semester
    TEC-190 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) 3
    TEC-191 Introduction to Mapping and Cartography 3
    Total: 6

    Second Semester
    TEC-292 Introduction to Remote Sensing 3
    TEC-293 Advanced Geographic Information Systems 3
    Total: 6

    Degree Total Credits: 12

    Any input is welcome.

  2. #2
    Jul 2007
    more West now
    It depends on what you want to use your GIS knowledge for, if you are solely using it to help you in Grad School, I would only take one of the 12 CR programs. One could learn how to use GIS in one class...and the applications would be the others. The first option seems to be the most basic program...and the URISA certification is nice. The second program would be useful if you were going to be a GIS professional and work using your skills. The third program seems to be a very technical application of GIS with the Remote Sensing class. Something else to consider is many grad programs have required/optional GIS classes....or access to them in other departments. Best of luck!

  3. #3
    Jun 2008

    I do a lot of GIS tasks at my job, and have taken GIS classes at undergrad and grad levels; all told I have years of experience with the stuff. Iím going to offer some more general advice; I donít feel like I can tell you which program to take, or even if itís a good idea to enroll in one.

    So, hereís my take based on my personal experiences, in no real order, just how it comes.

    I like the programs that offer cartography as part of the curriculum. Itís hugely important to be able to produce professional quality maps/related graphics. Itís hard enough to get people to pay attention to a map, especially a poorly made one. A large amount of my mapping/GIS work ends up in presentations to various elected or appointed officials (I work in a planning department for a local government); ends up getting sent to property owners or developers for economic development purposes; or ends up in other planning documents (master plans, files, etc).

    I like that your third option has a remote sensing course. Remote sensing will deal with aerial photography, and/or satellite imagery. Itís good to know how to read and interpret these images, and to know some of their potential error and limitations. Plus, a lot of GIS data is derived from these types of imagery; so, itís good to know where they come from.

    I canít really tell what sort of analysis is covered based the course titles, but I would look for class(es) that cover a variety of both vector, and raster analysis techniques. For the raster work this should probably include work with ESRIís spatial analyst and possibly 3d analyst extensions (note: ESRI is what seems to be used for a great deal of public sector planning work. If thatís your career path, you should have experience with the software. I canít speak to private firms or other industries). It would be useful if your analysis class(es) included some work with modeling to automate repetitive or labor intensive work.

    Whatever you decide, make sure your program covers where to find both spatial and non-spatial data. In the case of non-spatial, make sure you get an understanding of how to bring this into your GIS software, and how to join it with the existing spatial data. For example, being able to find census data, download it in a useful format, how to access it with the GIS software (including any sort of preprocessing that needs to be done), and (finally) how to join it to a census tract (or block or whatever level) shapefile so you can actually use it.

    Sorry if that got longwinded. Post back if you want more information. Good luck!

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