Transporting students to where decisions are made

November 7, 2017, University at Albany
Transporting students to where decisions are made
The image time series modeling tool Earth Trends Modeler, which analyzes seasonal trends. Credit: University at Albany

Starting this spring, students seeking a future in using technology to help solve a wide-range of social and environmental challenges can pursue a Master of Science degree in Geographic Information Science (GIS).

GIS—the study of the data structures and computational technologies that capture, process, visualize and analyze geographic information—encompasses everything from working with such as drones and personal and global navigation systems (think: much more than the Google Maps that lives on your phone), remote sensing, special statistics and everything in between.

James Mower, associate professor of Geography and Planning, spearheaded the development of the program and explains that the study of GIS is being applied all around us. "Though many people don't realize it because it's done behind-the-scenes, geographic information is at the heart of almost all decision-making at many of our state and federal agencies, including everything from plans for , health, taxation, urban planning, homeland security, emergency management provision of services, and so much more."

Responding to inquiries from both current and prospective students looking to pursue a Masters in GIS, the Department of Geography and Planning began developing the graduate program, an extension of an already existing graduate certificate program. The program received approval from the New York State Education Department this month.

"We are excited about the new master's in GIS and view it as an important piece of UAlbany's academic expansion," said Kevin Williams, vice provost and dean for Graduate Studies. "GIS is both a high-growth and high-needs discipline, and this program will serve the educational and economic needs of the area and New York State."

Students aren't the only ones interested: many New York State agencies conducting their own geographic information science operations, including the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health, have long turned to UAlbany to partner with them on an internship program where students provide real GIS expertise. This delivers both experiential learning opportunities to the students and invaluable assistance to the agencies.

Now, interns will be armed with the expertise to make them more valuable than ever.

"Our students are learning the very techniques, methodologies, and science behind using technology systems, such as drones and GPS, among others, to process, retrieve, and display geographic ," said Mower.

Explore further: Students know about learning strategies—but don't use them

Related Stories

Students know about learning strategies—but don't use them

September 28, 2017

Many university students don't use common learning strategies, despite knowing that they exist, finds a study in open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology. Specific training on how and when to use learning strategies could ...

Council wants youths to think spatially

February 7, 2006

The National Research Council in Washington is urging educators to teach K-12 students to think spatially, using geographic information systems.

Scientists seek to increase science literacy

July 18, 2011

A scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and colleague at Emory University are seeking to persuade the National Science Foundation to reevaluate its decision to cancel a program that has placed 10,000 science graduate ...

Experimental learning paying off

August 20, 2012

Through the use of the Online Health Program Planner, a tool created by Public Health Ontario, a soon-to-be-implemented peer nutrition education program by and for university students looks to help enhance critical thinking ...

How the mind processes complex spatial information

February 16, 2015

Northwestern University's David H. Uttal will discuss a program that has enhanced students' learning at a variety of levels, from basic spatial reasoning to solving complex problems involving the coordination of numerous ...

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.