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Geographic Information Science Minor

Geography, Urban, Environmental & Sustain Studies
College of Liberal Arts
  • Program Type: Undergraduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2016
  • Required credits in this minor: 22 to 27
The minor in geographic information science has as its core the study and use of geographic information systems (GIS). Central to this program are the theoretical and applied fundamentals of the collection, management, analysis, and representation of spatial data. The program builds on this core by exploring both traditional and novel methods for geo-visualization. Methods include teaching about various remote sensing technologies used to collect and classify remotely sensed data and how to use these technologies, critically discussing the implications of geo-spatial technologies on individuals and society, demonstrating how geo-spatial technologies are used effectively in urban and regional planning processes, and by exploring applications of GIS to environmental, resource and policy/management issues. The minor interweaves well with majors in anthropology, biology, chemistry, computer science, criminology, engineering, environmental sciences, geology, history, mathematics, political science, sociology, and statistics.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Admission Requirements
Students following the fall 2012 or later degree requirements for majors or minors in: geography, environment and sustainability, and urban and regional studies may minor in GIS.
For information about University of Minnesota admission requirements, visit the Office of Admissions website.
Minor Requirements
Core (6-7 cr)
GEOG 2552 - Introduction to Maps and Geospatial Information [LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR] (3.0 cr)
GEOG 1304 - Human Geography [LE CAT6, LECD CAT06, SOC SCI] (3.0 cr)
or GEOG 1414 - Physical Geography [LE CAT4, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN] (4.0 cr)
Information Science Requirement (4-8 cr)
GIS 3563 - Geographic Information Science I: Theory and Analysis (4.0 cr)
GIS 3564 - Geographic Information Science II: Applied GIS (4.0 cr)
or Graduate Level Course (consent required)
GIS 4565 - Geographic Information Science Intensive: Theory, Analysis, and Applications (4.0 cr)
Electives (12 cr)
Students must take a minimum of 3 courses or more to reach 12 credits. Other GIS 3xxx-5xxx level courses may apply here.
Take 3 or more course(s) from the following:
· FORS 3205 - GEOG 3205 Mapping in Belize (3.0 cr)
· GEOG 3532 - Map Design and Geographic Visualization (4.0 cr)
· GIS 3580 - Earth Imagery (4.0 cr)
· GIS 3591 - Independent Study in GIS (1.0-3.0 cr)
· GIS 3597 - Internship in GIS (3.0-4.0 cr)
· GIS 3xxx
· GIS 4533 - Distributed Geographic Information Services: Mobile and Web Based Solutions (4.0 cr)
· GIS 4565 - Geographic Information Science Intensive: Theory, Analysis, and Applications (4.0 cr)
· GIS 4585 - Applied Statistics in GIS (4.0 cr)
· GIS 4586 - Geoprocessing with Python (4.0 cr)
· GIS 4xxx
· GIS 5571 - Geographic Information Science in Urban Analysis (4.0 cr)
· GIS 5572 - Environmental Application of GIS (4.0 cr)
· GIS 5573 - GIScience in Regional Sustainability Applications (4.0 cr)
· GIS 5581 - Digital Image Processing and Analysis (4.0 cr)
· GIS 5591 - Independent Study in GIS (1.0-3.0 cr)
· GIS 5xxx
 
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GEOG 2552 - Introduction to Maps and Geospatial Information (LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
This course starts with the definition of what a map is and considers maps as tools for communication. Students are led to explore the effects of scale, projection, cartographic symbolization and generalization on the mapping process and resulting digital databases. Students are introduced to spatial data models, types of spatial data and representation, and study alternative or non-tradition map representations provided by GIS and Remote Sensing. The course includes hands-on map activities; map reading/interpretation, map use, and map production where students will use their laptops to create online web mapping services.
GEOG 1304 - Human Geography (LE CAT6, LECD CAT06, SOC SCI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Human geography is a social science that examines the world, its people, and their communities, economies, politics, and interactions with the environment. This course introduces core concepts such as space, place, and scale, and applies them to understand human society. Topics from the spread of humans around the globe, to colonialism, the geography of agriculture, urbanization, geopolitics, and racial and ethnic difference are explored.
GEOG 1414 - Physical Geography (LE CAT4, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
The environment is highly dynamic and is continually modified by human and environmental processes. This course examines these processes to better understand how the Earth’s landscapes were formed and how they are currently being transformed. Specifically, students will understand the fundamental processes that govern the physical environment including Earth-sun relations, water resources, landforms, weather and climate, natural vegetation, and soils.
GIS 3563 - Geographic Information Science I: Theory and Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
GIS 3563 emphasizes the concepts needed to use GIS effectively for acquiring, editing, querying, analyzing and visualizing spatial data. This course is an introduction to GIS and trains basic skills with industry standard GIS software in a wide variety of applications in both the natural and social sciences. The course covers basic data modeling, data manipulation, analytical methods and implications of geospatial technologies on society. prereq: credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3564 or 4563 and 4564 or GIS4565.
GIS 3564 - Geographic Information Science II: Applied GIS
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
GIS 3564 follows 3563 and provides more hands-on skills with industry standard GIS software in a wide variety of applications in both the natural and social sciences. It covers more advanced analytical methods for both raster and vector data. Lastly, the course questions ethics regarding geospatial information and introduces the code of ethics for GIS professionals. prereq: 3563; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3564 or 4563 and 4564 or GIS4565.
GIS 4565 - Geographic Information Science Intensive: Theory, Analysis, and Applications
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02453
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course is an intensive introduction to GIS, effectively condensing both GIS 3563 and GIS 3564 into one semester. It is intended for students with excellent computer skills, the capacity to handle a heavy workload but not enough time to take both courses. The course covers the concepts needed to use GIS effectively for manipulating, querying, analyzing, and visualizing spatial data. It will also equip students with basic and advanced skills with industry standard GIS software, through a wide variety of hands-on applications in both the natural and social sciences. Students will have to create, manage, and complete their own GIS application throughout the semester. pre-req: department consent This course is equivalent to GIS 3563 and GIS 3564 combined, but 3563 and 3564 carry no graduate credit.
FORS 3205 - GEOG 3205 Mapping in Belize
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02084 - GEOG 3205/FORS 3205
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Summer
Study abroad course; taught on site in Belize. Novice mappers to the geospatially proficient students will be exposed to a meaningful field experience and lab practicum where field data and satellite imagery will be combined to render valuable information about the Maya Gold landscape. Students will utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) and remote sensing techniques to create informative and cartographically derived outputs; a map. Through this international experience, students will be exposed to a unique cultural experience where they will learn what is important to Mayan culture by observing the dynamics of this landscape. Time spent in Belize will expose each student to the eclectic mingling of Mestizo, Mopan and Kekchi Maya, Garifuna, Creoles, Lebanese, East Indian and Chinese peoples. prereq: Admission to an approved study abroad program requires consent from the International Education Office.
GEOG 3532 - Map Design and Geographic Visualization
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This class builds on GEOG 2552 to train students in the craft of map making and visualization of geographic data in general. Students learn how to create reference or thematic maps from statistical data, both for printing or online display. Students are also introduced to the creation of animated or interactive visualizations. (4 hrs lab) prereq: 2552 or instructor consent; Stat 1411 recommended.
GIS 3580 - Earth Imagery
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
his course is a selective overview of the methods used for imaging the Earth and its atmosphere. The objective is to expose students to the common methods of Earth imaging and provide them with hands-on experiences in exploring these rich datasets. This course introduces aerial photographs, satellite imaging (active and passive forms), and Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). By the end of the course students will be able to comfortably analyze mulitspectral Earth imagery, handle a LiDAR point cloud, and create a variety of informative outputs from an image. prereq: 2552; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3580
GIS 3591 - Independent Study in GIS
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
For students interested in doing advanced work in selected fields of GIS. prereq: instructor consent
GIS 3597 - Internship in GIS
Credits: 3.0 -4.0 [max 8.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Scheduled assignments with direct supervision in public agencies or relevant private firms. prereq: GIS major with minimum 60 credits and instructor consent
GIS 4533 - Distributed Geographic Information Services: Mobile and Web Based Solutions
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
There are currently over 1 million GIS users world-wide producing nearly 15,000 maps daily. The vast majority of these users utilize the internet and mobile devices to collect, manage, process and store the geospatial data necessary to create and distribute these maps. As such, GIS is shifting from a system where the focus lies almost entirely on the data itself, to a gepgraphic inforamtion service where the focus lies on the distribution of spatial content to stakeholders and end users via the internet. The aim of this course is to expose students to the practical and theoretical applications of distributed geographic information services including web and mobile apps, virtual and physical servers, APIs, and scripting languages (Javascript, CSS, HTML5, SVG). Labs and a group semester project will focus on a distributed GIS for a stakeholder within the region. Software used will vary, but may include ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro, or open-source software. pre-req: GIS 3563 or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GIS 3533
GIS 4565 - Geographic Information Science Intensive: Theory, Analysis, and Applications
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02453
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course is an intensive introduction to GIS, effectively condensing both GIS 3563 and GIS 3564 into one semester. It is intended for students with excellent computer skills, the capacity to handle a heavy workload but not enough time to take both courses. The course covers the concepts needed to use GIS effectively for manipulating, querying, analyzing, and visualizing spatial data. It will also equip students with basic and advanced skills with industry standard GIS software, through a wide variety of hands-on applications in both the natural and social sciences. Students will have to create, manage, and complete their own GIS application throughout the semester. pre-req: department consent This course is equivalent to GIS 3563 and GIS 3564 combined, but 3563 and 3564 carry no graduate credit.
GIS 4585 - Applied Statistics in GIS
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course provides GIS students, or students in related fields or interested in spatial data analysis, with little to no previous statistical knowledge, with the basic skills needed to question and analyze data and reach valuable conclusions. Methods covered in this course are commonly used in various fields of social or environmental studies, in economy and management, in sciences and engineering: statistics are a linqua franca that is often a key element of interdisciplinary work. However, there will be an emphasis on the specificity of data that varies in space, and methods specific to spatial analysis will be introduced. The class focus more on application that on theory, through a game dynamic. We may use a variety of software, mostly ArcGIS, QGIS and MS Excel. prereq: 3563 and 3564 or 4565, STAT 1411 preferred; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3585 or GIS 3585; no grad credit.
GIS 4586 - Geoprocessing with Python
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Python has become the main scripting language used for geoprocessing. In this class, building on previous GIS experience, students learn how to automate geoprocessing workflows with Python and how to turn their code into tools and add-ins for the main commercial and open-source GIS software systems. prereq: 3563 and 3564 or 4565 preferred
GIS 5571 - Geographic Information Science in Urban Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
This advanced course provides students with an opportunity to explore the many applications of geographic information systems in local government, transportation development, and sustainable community planning. Students learn how GIS can be used to effectively carry out urban and regional planning tasks and gain a basic understanding of GIS project planning and data management. Labs focus on land use planning, transportation development, green infrastructure, and population dynamics from across the globe, with a particular focus on the Duluth area. Software used will be ESRI ArcGIS. prereq: 3563 and 3564 or 4565 (preferred) or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 5571
GIS 5572 - Environmental Application of GIS
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Explore GIS applications to the environmental issues such as natural hazards, forest management, contaminated sites, soil erosion, habitat assessment, and regional planning. Prereq: 3563 or 4565 or grad student or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 5572.
GIS 5573 - GIScience in Regional Sustainability Applications
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
This course provides students with an opportunity to explore the many applications of geographic information science in environmental and societal sustainability, renewable energy, and community planning. This course is based on the idea that in order to successfully transition toward sustainability, a better understanding of coupled human and natural systems in critical, and that because of the unique challenges and conflicts present within northern Minnesota between human and natural systems, it is an ideal location to attempt to mitigate these challenges through the use of Geographic Information Science. Labs focus on current topics relevant to the region including energy use calculations, food deserts, LEED certification, water pollution, and transit planning. Software used will be ESRI ArcGIS. Prereq: 3563 and 3564 or 4565 (preferred) or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 5573
GIS 5581 - Digital Image Processing and Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This advanced remote sensing course focuses on theories and applications of digital image processing and provides students with knowledge and skills of advance digital image processing and a variety of analyitical techniques. Topics include image display and visualization, methods for geometric and radiometric corrections, image enhancement, image classification, change detection, and Principal Component Analysis (PCA). prereq: 3580 or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 4580 or GEOG 5581
GIS 5591 - Independent Study in GIS
Credits: 1.0 -3.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Independent problems for postbaccalaureate students interested in doing additional work in selected fields in GIS. prereq: instructor consent