Spatial Analysis and Geographic Information Systems

Spatial Analysis and Geographic Information Systems


Spatial analysis and geographic information systems is a mouthful of words, and most people simply refer to the entire field more loosely as GIS or sometimes GIScience. The modern world runs on data, and much of that data is best organized and analyzed by placing it on a two- or even three-dimensional map. This is what we mean by GIS.

Our minor in GIS will complement and strengthen a variety of other majors, including any EGGS major, anthropology/archaeology, and computer science, among others. It is a widely sought-after skillset that will immediately enhance your resume.

It’s a Technical Field

One can roughly break the field into thirds: cartography – the art and science of making useful maps, remote sensing — the science of gathering data from aircraft and satellite imagery, and Geographic Information Systems — the science of storing, analyzing, and displaying this data.

All of our majors must take a course in the basics of Maps (Map Use and Analysis) and most take a first course in GIS. However, for those looking for more, our minor includes courses in Cartography, Remote Sensing, and Advanced GIS, and these are supplemented with other courses such as Introduction to Python Programming.

You will get a lot of hands-on experience with the same tools used in the profession. We have three state-of-the art computer laboratories for teaching and student work, and site licenses of ENVI (commercial software for remote sensing) and ESRI ArcGIS – the leading commercial software in GIS (used by 90% of GIS practitioners).

Minor Program Checklist

Certification?

There are many certifications that can set you apart from the herd. Perhaps the first to consider is the ESRI ArcGIS Desktop Entry level exam. After completing the minor program, you will have a solid foundation in the concepts and skills you will need to prepare for this first step.

 

Why Bloomsburg?

Two Reasons

  • We are personal — All of your classes, labs, and field experiences will be taught by professors - not graduate students. We are accessible. We know all of our majors and we want to help you maximize your potential. If you are willing to put in the hard work, we will help you achieve great things.
  • Cost — If you attend a larger state school (Penn State, Temple, Pitt) or private with a graduate program in environmental science, you will pay tens of thousands of dollars more for your undergraduate degree. Compare the costs for in-state residents in 2018: a year at Bloomsburg costs $23,406; Penn State (main campus) costs $35,758; Pitt costs $32,782, and Temple costs $33,048 (www.collegesimply.com).

In four years, you will have saved between $37,500 and $49,400 by attending BU — enough to cover an entire year of graduate school. Some master's programs (like our 3+2 program) are only a year long, so by choosing BU, you essentially get your B.S. and M.S. for the same price as a bachelor's degree only at other schools.

Step it up a notch!

If you are serious about GIS as a profession, you should consider a minor in computer science at BU. More advanced GIS professionals need experience in programming Python, Java, and SQL Databases, and courses in Computer Networks and the Development of Mobile Applications (especially Android) can only enhance your expertise and resume. All of these are offered here.

How much can you make?

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that Cartographers and GIS specialists had a 2016 median pay of $62,750 per year. The field is rapidly growing (job outlook for 2016-26 of 19 percent growth — much faster than average), so the median pay may rise with the increased demand for competent professionals.

 

Spatial Analysis and GIS

Students develop orienteering course for upper campus

Bloomsburg University ROTC cadet Nicholas Correll had an idea one day while sitting in his geographic information system (GIS) class. Instead of driving 30 minutes for ROTC land navigation trainings, why not just create an orienteering course on upper campus?

Orienteering is a race using a map and compass for navigation on an unfamiliar course. This would help not only the ROTC program but the Department of Environmental, Geographical and Geological Sciences as well, as it would be able to use it for compass-based orienteering map in its EGGS 242 map use and analysis classes and in EGGS 360 for a GPS-based orienteering exercise, according to Jeff Brunskill, associate professor of environmental, geographical and geological sciences.

“I got into GIS for the research side, but it is of course very important to be able to display information neatly so that the reader is able to understand,” said Patrick Martin, GIS student worker.