Wednesday March 11, 2009

New GIS Program

The University of Dayton will offer a certificate program in geographic information systems this fall. Advancements in technology and a wide range of applications have increased demand for GIS skills.

The University of Dayton will offer a new graduate certificate program in geographic information systems beginning this fall.

Advancements in GIS technology in recent decades and the explosion of its applications in areas ranging from geology and biology to engineering, marketing and politics have created a great demand for people with GIS skills, said University of Dayton geology professor and GIS certificate program director Shuang-Ye Wu.

The four-course program is open to current students and working professionals and will provide training in the collection, management, analysis and display of all forms of geographically referenced information.

"Put simply, GIS involves anything to do with map making and using maps to make decisions," Wu said.

In addition to being a valuable research tool in both natural and social sciences, GIS knowledge plays a vital role in decision making such as choosing sites, land use planning, targeting market segments, planning distribution networks, responding to emergencies or redrawing political boundaries.

"GIS is a very flexible and marketable skill, and can be useful in a lot of job fields," Wu said. "In marketing for example, GIS can help you identify where potential customers are, how close competitors are and where the best location for advertising or doing business might be."

The University of Dayton has offered an introduction to GIS course for years and applied for approval of the certificate program in December.

Senior geology major Ann Syrowski completed the introduction to GIS course as a junior and said she definitely would have pursued the certificate program if it had been offered. She is now applying to graduate schools with an interest in meteorology and is taking into consideration whether the school offers a GIS program or not.

"GIS is a tool that is becoming more and more useful," said Syrowksi. "Having a certificate would really give you a leg up on the rest of the competition in applying to grad school or especially in looking to get a job right out of college."

The certificate program will consist of four courses: Introduction to GIS, Environmental Remote Sensing, Advanced GIS Applications and a capstone course that relates the academic experience to professional challenges in a student's specific career setting.

The course schedule is arranged to allow completion in one year, with most courses being offered online or in the evening for the convenience of working professionals.

For more information, contact Shuang-Ye Wu at 937-229-1720 or Shuang-Ye.Wu@notes.udayton.edu.