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Geographic Information Science Certificate

Geography & Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts
  • Program Type: Undergraduate credit certificate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2019
  • Required credits to graduate with this degree: 19
  • Degree: Geographic Information Science Certificate
The certificate 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 GIS and remote sensing technologies used to collect and analyze spatial 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 exploration of applications of GIS to environmental, resource and policy/management issues. The five-course series offers students the opportunity to expand their knowledge and expertise in the area of Geographic Information Science (GISci). Participants in the certificate will receive the theoretical and technical education needed to acquire, manage and critically analyze and represent geo-referenced data. The program offers basic and advanced courses in map design and geo-visualization, geographic information systems, remote sensing and geo-spatial technologies in general. This certificate is not eligible for financial aid. Students pursuing the GISci major or minor are not eligible for the GISci certificate program.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Admission Requirements
A full understanding of basic computer use is expected. A cumulative U of MN GPA of at least 2.00 is required for admission.
For information about University of Minnesota admission requirements, visit the Office of Admissions website.
General Requirements
The Board of Regents, on recommendation of the faculty, grants degrees from the University of Minnesota. Requirements for an undergraduate degree from University of Minnesota Duluth include the following:
  1. Students must meet all course and credit requirements of the departments and colleges or schools in which they are enrolled including an advanced writing course. Students seeking two degrees must fulfill the requirements of both degrees. However, two degrees cannot be awarded for the same major.
  2. Students must complete all requirements of the Liberal Education Program.
  3. Students must complete a minimum of 120 semester credits.
  4. At least 30 of the last 60 degree credits earned immediately before graduation must be awarded by UMD.
  5. Students must complete at least half of their courses at the 3xxx-level and higher at UMD. Study-abroad credits earned through courses taught by UM faculty and at institutions with which UMD has international exchange programs may be used to fulfill this requirement.
  6. If a minor is required, students must take at least three upper division credits in their minor field from UMD.
  7. The minimum cumulative UM GPA required for graduation will be 2.00 and will include only University of Minnesota coursework. A minimum UM GPA of 2.00 is required in each UMD undergraduate major and minor. No academic unit may impose higher grade point standards to graduate.
  8. Diploma, transcripts, and certification will be withheld until all financial obligations to the University have been met.
Program Requirements
Required Courses (11 cr)
GIS 2552 - Mapping Our World [LOGIC & QR] (3.0 cr)
GIS 3563 - Geographic Information Science I: Theory and Analysis (4.0 cr)
GIS 3564 - Geographic Information Science II: Applied GIS (4.0 cr)
Electives (8 cr)
Take 2 or more course(s) from the following:
· GIS 3580 - Earth Imagery (4.0 cr)
· GIS 4533 - Distributed Geographic Information Services: Mobile and Web Based Solutions (4.0 cr)
· GIS 4585 - Applied Statistics in GIS (4.0 cr)
· 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)
 
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GIS 2552 - Mapping Our World (LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02628 - GIS 2552/GEOG 2552
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
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.
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 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 4533 - Distributed Geographic Information Services: Mobile and Web Based Solutions
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
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 geographic information 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 4585 - Applied Statistics in GIS
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
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 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: Spring Even Year
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