Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Geographic Information Science Minor

Geography, Environment, Society
College of Liberal Arts
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Geography, 414 Social Sciences Building, 267 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-624-1498; fax: 612-624-1044).
Email: mgis@umn.edu
  • Program Type: Graduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2019
  • Length of program in credits (master's): 9
  • Length of program in credits (doctoral): 12
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
The professional master of geographic information science (MGIS), administered by the Department of Geography, offers a master's and doctoral minor.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
A graduate minor is developed in consultation with the M.G.I.S. director of graduate studies.
Required Course (4 credits)
All students pursuing the minor must take one of the following courses:
GEOG 5561 - Principles of Geographic Information Science (4.0 cr)
or FNRM 5131 - Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for Natural Resources (4.0 cr)
Electives (5-8 Credits)
Master's students must take at least 5 credits and doctoral students must take at least 8 credits from the following:
ANTH 5980 - Topics in Anthropology (3.0 cr)
CSCI 5715 - From GPS and Virtual Globes to Spatial Computing (3.0 cr)
CSCI 8715 - Spatial Data Science Research (3.0 cr)
ESPM 5031 - Applied Global Positioning Systems for Geographic Information Systems (3.0 cr)
ESPM 5295 - GIS in Environmental Science and Management (4.0 cr)
FNRM 5216 - Geodesy, Coordinate, and Surveying Calculations for GIS Professionals (1.0 cr)
FNRM 5262 - Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis of Natural Resources and Environment (3.0 cr)
FNRM 5362 - Drones: Data, Analysis, and Operations (3.0 cr)
FNRM 5462 - Advanced Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis (3.0 cr)
FNRM 8205 - Research Problems: Spatial Data Analysis (1.0-5.0 cr)
GEOG 5511 - Principles of Cartography (4.0 cr)
GEOG 5541 - Principles of Geocomputing (3.0 cr)
GEOG 5543 - Advanced Geocomputing (3.0 cr)
GEOG 5562 - GIS Development Practicum (3.0 cr)
GEOG 5563 - Advanced Geographic Information Science (3.0 cr)
GEOG 5564 - Urban Geographic Information Science and Analysis (3.0 cr)
GEOG 5588 - Advanced Geovisualization (3.0 cr)
GEOG 8290 - Seminar in GIS and Cartography (3.0 cr)
GEOG 8291 - Seminar in GIS, Technology, and Society (3.0 cr)
GEOG 8292 - Seminar in GIS: Spatial Analysis and Modeling (3.0 cr)
GEOG 8293 - CyberGIS (3.0 cr)
GEOG 8294 - Spatiotemporal Modeling and Simulation (3.0 cr)
GIS 5555 - Basic Spatial Analysis (3.0 cr)
GIS 5571 - ArcGIS I (3.0 cr)
GIS 5572 - ArcGIS II (3.0 cr)
GIS 5573 - Introduction to Digital Mapping: ArcGIS Basics (2.0 cr)
GIS 5574 - Web GIS and Services (3.0 cr)
GIS 5576 - Spatial Digital Humanities (3.0 cr)
GIS 5577 - Spatial Database Design and Administration (3.0 cr)
GIS 5578 - GIS Programming (3.0 cr)
PA 5271 - Geographic Information Systems: Applications in Planning and Policy Analysis (3.0 cr)
VMED 5181 - Spatial Analysis in Infectious Disease Epidemiology (3.0 cr)
Program Sub-plans
Students are required to complete one of the following sub-plans.
Students may not complete the program with more than one sub-plan.
Masters
Doctoral
 
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· College of Liberal Arts

View sample plan(s):
· Geographic Information Science Sample Plan
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GEOG 5561 - Principles of Geographic Information Science
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02490
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Introduction to the study of geographic information systems (GIS) for geography and non-geography students. Topics include GIS application domains, data models and sources, analysis methods and output techniques. Lectures, reading, and hands-on experience with GIS software. prereq: grad
FNRM 5131 - Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for Natural Resources
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00369
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Geographic information systems (GIS), focusing on spatial data development and analysis in the science and management of natural resources. Basic data structures, sources, collection, and quality; geodesy and map projections; spatial and tabular data analyses; digital elevation data and terrain analyses; cartographic modeling and layout. Lab exercises provide practical experiences complementing theory covered in lecture. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
ANTH 5980 - Topics in Anthropology
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Topics specified in Class Schedule.
CSCI 5715 - From GPS and Virtual Globes to Spatial Computing
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Mathematical concepts, geo-information, representations, algorithms, data-structures/access methods, analysis, architectures, interfaces, reasoning, time. prereq: Familiarity with Java, C++, or Python
CSCI 8715 - Spatial Data Science Research
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Motivation, models of spatial information, querying spatial data, processing strategies for spatial queries, multi-dimensional storage/access methods, spatial graph datasets, spatial data mining, trends (e.g., spatio-temporal databases, mobile objects, raster databases), research literature, how to pursue research. prereq: 4707 or 5707 or 5715 or GIS 5571 or GIS 5573
ESPM 5031 - Applied Global Positioning Systems for Geographic Information Systems
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: ENR 3031/5031
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
GPS principles, operations, techniques to improve accuracy. Datum, projections, and coordinate systems. Differential correction, accuracy assessments discussed/applied in lab exercises. Code/carrier phase GPS used in exercises. GPS handheld units, PDA based ArcPad/GPS equipment. Transferring field data to/from desktop systems, integrating GPS data with GIS. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
ESPM 5295 - GIS in Environmental Science and Management
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Application of geographic information science and technologies (GIS) in complex environmental problems. Students gain experience in spatial data collection, database development, and spatial analysis, including GNSS and field attribute collection, image interpretation, and existing data fusion, raster/vector data integration and analysis, information extraction from LiDAR data, DEM conditioning and hydrologic analysis, neighborhood analysis, bulk processing and automation, and scripting. Problems vary depending on topics, often with extra-University partners. *Please note that students should have completed a semester-long, introductory lab/lecture GIS course at the graduate or undergraduate level before enrolling in this course, e.g., FNRM 5131. We do not require any given course because students come from varied universities and backgrounds. That said, we assume a knowledge commensurate with a comprehensive introductory course. Students seeking a first course are directed to FNRM 5131. If you have questions regarding your capabilities, please contact the instructor prior to enrolling.
FNRM 5216 - Geodesy, Coordinate, and Surveying Calculations for GIS Professionals
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: OPT No Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Where exactly are we? How do we define and refine geographic locations on a lumpy, spinning, unstable planet? On course completion students will understand concepts and practices that are at the very foundation of GIS: geodesy and geographic projections. They will have a working knowledge of geodetic datums and datum evolution, be able to make common geodetic and coordinate geometry calculations, and solve common problems that arise during datum and coordinate system conversions while engaged in the practice of GIS.
FNRM 5262 - Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis of Natural Resources and Environment
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 00372 - FNRM 3262/FNRM 5262
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introductory principles and techniques of remote sensing and geospatial analysis applied to mapping and monitoring land and water resources from local to global scales. Examples of applications include: Land cover mapping and change detection, forest and natural resource inventory, water quality monitoring, and global change analysis. The lab provides hands-on experience working with satellite, aircraft, and drone imagery, and image processing methods and software. Prior coursework in Geographic Information Systems and introductory Statistics is recommended. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
FNRM 5362 - Drones: Data, Analysis, and Operations
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02659 - FNRM 3362/FNRM 5362
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course explores principles and techniques of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS, also "drones"), applied to natural resource and environmental issues. The course provides hands-on experience with UAS vehicles, sensors, imagery, and software. Course topics include: UAS flight characteristics, regulations/safety, mission planning, flight operations, data collection, image analysis, and applications. Examples of UAS applications to be explored include: forest and natural resource inventory, wetland monitoring, and land cover mapping. Prior coursework in Geographic Information Systems is recommended. Prereq: grad student or instr consent
FNRM 5462 - Advanced Remote Sensing and Geospatial Analysis
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02660 - FNRM 3462/FNRM 5462
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course builds on the introductory remote sensing class, FNRM 3262/5262. It provides a detailed treatment of advanced remote sensing and geospatial theory and methods including Object-Based Image Analysis (OBIA), lidar processing and derivatives, advanced classification algorithms (including Random Forest, Neural Networks, Support Vector Machines), biophysics of remote sensing, measurements and sensors, data transforms, data fusion, multi-temporal analysis, and empirical modeling. In-class and independent lab activities will be used to apply the course topics to real-world problems. Prior coursework in Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing, and statistics is necessary. Prereq: grad student or instr consent
FNRM 8205 - Research Problems: Spatial Data Analysis
Credits: 1.0 -5.0 [max 10.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Independent research under faculty guidance. prereq: instr consent
GEOG 5511 - Principles of Cartography
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02579 - Geog 3511/Geog 5511
Typically offered: Every Spring
Topics on data sources for mapping. History of thematic cartography (focused on 19th-century European activity). Multivariate classification/symbolization. Models for cartographic generalization, spatial interpolation, and surface representation. Animated/multimedia cartography.
GEOG 5541 - Principles of Geocomputing
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02617 - Geog 3541/Geog 5541
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
The availability of computing infrastructures such as high-performance and cloud computing, high-speed networks, and rich data has led to a new scientific paradigm using computational science. Geocomputation is the "application of a computational science paradigm to study a wide range of problems in geographical and earth systems (the geo) contexts" (Openshaw, 2014). This course will introduce students to geocomputation as well as related areas including big spatial data, and cyberinfrastructure. Students will engage in hands-on-exercises learning principles and best-practices in geocomputing. The ability to program is an essential skill for GIScientists. Learning to program takes time and a lost of practice, and in this course students will learn how to develop programs in the Python programming language to solve geospatial problems.
GEOG 5543 - Advanced Geocomputing
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
The availability of computing infrastructures such as high-performance and cloud computing, highspeed networks, and rich data has led to a new scientific paradigm using computational approaches, termed computational science. Geocomputation is the "application of a computational science paradigm to study a wide range of problems in geographical and earth systems (the geo) contexts" (Openshaw, 2014). This course will delve into advanced topics in geocomputation as well as related areas ranging from geographic information and spatial big data to cyberinfrastructure and parallel computation. Students will engage in hands-on exercises learning principles and best practices in geocomputing while using cutting-edge computational infrastructures.
GEOG 5562 - GIS Development Practicum
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Prerequisites: GIS 5571 or #
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Algorithms/data structures for digital cartographic data, topological relationships, surface modeling, and interpolation. Map projections, geometric transformations, numerical generalization, raster/vector processing. Hands-on experience with software packages. prereq: GIS 5571 or instr consent
GEOG 5563 - Advanced Geographic Information Science
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Advanced study of geographic information systems (GIS). Topics include spatial data models, topology, data encoding, data quality, database management, spatial analysis tools and visualization techniques. Hands-on experience using an advanced vector GIS package. prereq: B or better in 3561 or 5561 or instr consent
GEOG 5564 - Urban Geographic Information Science and Analysis
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Core concepts in urban geographic information science including sources for urban geographical and attribute data (including census data), urban data structures (focusing on the TIGER data structure), urban spatial analyses (including location-allocation models), geodemographic analysis, network analysis, and the display of urban data. prereq: 3561 or 5561
GEOG 5588 - Advanced Geovisualization
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
The generation and use of geographic information has become an integral part of our daily life, science, and technology. This has led to increasing interest in the design and development of interactive maps and dynamic geographic visualizations in 2D, 3D, and Web environments. The Advanced Geovisualization course intends to equip students with the knowledge and advanced technical skills needed to design and implement effective maps and create dynamic and interactive visualizations using geospatial data sets.
GEOG 8290 - Seminar in GIS and Cartography
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Selected concepts/methods. Topics, which vary yearly, include spatial analysis methods in GIS; advanced visualization methods; data quality and error propagation in GIS; generalization methods in GIS and cartography; role of time in GIS; interactive/animated cartography; incorporation of uncertainty. prereq: instr consent
GEOG 8291 - Seminar in GIS, Technology, and Society
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Relationships between practice of GIS and political, economic, legal, institutional structures of society. Effects of GIS on society. Nontraditional spaces in GIS. GIS and local decision making. Privacy issues. prereq: instr consent
GEOG 8292 - Seminar in GIS: Spatial Analysis and Modeling
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Overview of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial analysis/modeling of human/environmental systems. Spatial statistics, modeling spatiotemporal processes, simulation techniques, visualization, complex systems/complexity. Guidance in thesis/dissertation research. prereq: 3511 [or equiv statistics course], [3561 or 5561 or equiv intro GIS course] or instr consent
GEOG 8293 - CyberGIS
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Just as physical infrastructure provides services such as electricity, plumbing, and road networks to communities across the world, cyberinfrastructure has emerged to provide computational services and capabilities to scientific communities. Cyberinfrastructure integrates high-performance computing, digital sensors, virtual organizations, and software tools and services to facilitate computationally-intensive and collaborative scientific research. CyberGIS, broadly defined as cyberinfrastructure-based geographic information systems, integrates cyberinfrastructure, geographic information systems (GIS), and spatial analysis to enable collaborative geographic problem solving. This course will delve into advanced topics within the context of cyberGIS and related technologies. Particular emphasis will be placed on raster data processing including a broad introduction to raster data, cartographic modeling, and raster data manipulation. We will situate raster data processing in the broader context of geographic information science and cyberGIS focusing on the how synthesizing computational thinking and spatial thinking influence methodological approaches. Students will be expected to draw on their own experiences and backgrounds to enhance discussions, labs, and research projects. Students will gain hands-on experience developing methods to analyze and manipulate raster data.
GEOG 8294 - Spatiotemporal Modeling and Simulation
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Many geographic, societal, and environmental phenomena as well as biological and ecological systems involve dynamic processes that are changing in space and time. Examples include hurricanes, animal migrations, spread of diseases, human mobility and population dynamics. Movement is a key to understanding the underlying mechanisms of these dynamic processes. Today, the availability of an unprecedented amount of movement observations at ne spatial and temporal granularities has resulted in substantial advances in GISciences approaches for the analysis, modeling, and simulation of movement and its patterns. Spatiotemporal models and simulation techniques are often used to analyze and better understand the patterns of spatiotemporal processes, and to assess their behavioral responses in varying environmental conditions. This seminar introduces students to the concepts of spatiotemporal processes and patterns. We review existing methods for modeling and simulation of spatiotemporal phenomena, especially movement. Students will develop computational skills to model a phenomena of their choice and create simulations.
GIS 5555 - Basic Spatial Analysis
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
How to use spatial data to answer questions on a wide array of social, natural, and information science issues. Exploratory data analysis/visualization. Spatial autocorrelation analysis/regression. prereq: [STAT 3001 or equiv, MGIS student] or instr consent
GIS 5571 - ArcGIS I
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
First of a two-course series focusing on ArcGIS Desktop. Overview of ArcGIS system and its use for spatial data processing. Data capture, editing, geometric transformations, map projections, topology, Python scripting, and map production. prereq: [GEOG 5561 or equiv, status in MGIS program, familiarity with computer operating systems] or instr consent
GIS 5572 - ArcGIS II
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Continues GIS 5571. Raster analysis, dynamic segmentation, geometric networks, geocoding, Python scripting, and data interoperability. Substantial projects include map and poster design and production. prereq: [5571, [GEOG 5561 or equiv], in MGIS program] or instr consent
GIS 5573 - Introduction to Digital Mapping: ArcGIS Basics
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02285
Prerequisites: [GEOG 5561 or equiv, in MGIS program] or #
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Desktop mapping functions using ArcGIS software. Application of systems to display/analysis of geographical data. prereq: [GEOG 5561 or equiv, in MGIS program] or instr consent
GIS 5574 - Web GIS and Services
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Plan, design, develop, publish web-based GIS solution. Build websites, prepare data for web. Commercial software, Open Source software, volunteer geographic information, open GIS standards/developing web GIS application. Hands-on experience with variety of web GIS technologies/software. prereq: [GEOG 5561 or equiv, in MGIS program] or instr consent
GIS 5576 - Spatial Digital Humanities
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Introduction to Spatial Digital Humanities GIS 5576 is a basic overview of desktop GIS (both Esri and open source), as well as an introduction to a number of other mapping techniques (such as Esri Maps for Office, ArcGIS Online, web mapping basics, georeferencing historical maps, etc) in addition to digital scholarship techniques. Course objectives include: understanding the basics of mapping and geospatial information using GIS; documenting and managing spatial data using coherent/standardized methods; understanding several spatial analysis methods that are relevant to student research area; and applying spatial research methods into student research.
GIS 5577 - Spatial Database Design and Administration
Credits: 3.0 [max 1.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Spatial database design, development planning/management, maintenance, security, access/distribution, and documentation. prereq: instr consent
GIS 5578 - GIS Programming
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Prerequisites: #
Typically offered: Every Spring
Programming techniques using Python and other languages specifically relating to GIS technologies. prereq: instr consent
PA 5271 - Geographic Information Systems: Applications in Planning and Policy Analysis
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduction to GIS. Applications in public planning and policy analysis. Operational skills in GIS software. Mapping analysis of U.S. Census material. Local/state government management/planning. Spatial statistical analysis for policy/planning. prereq: Major in urban/regional planning or instr consent
VMED 5181 - Spatial Analysis in Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: OPT No Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Spatial distribution of disease events. Exposures/outcomes. Factors that determine where diseases occur. Analyzing spatial disease data in public health, geography, epidemiology. Focuses on human/animal health related examples. prereq: Intro to epidemiology, statistics,