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Geographic Information Technology

For those who love computer science, information systems and geography, this is a wonderful degree to obtain. While studying, you will learn all about Geographic Information Systems (GIS). You will be able to use the latest software, and when you graduate you will be in demand.

University Degree Offerings

  • University of Southern California Master of Science in Geographic Information and Technology

    The USC Master of Science in Geographic Information and Technology programis designed to meet the important educational needs of working professionals seeking to improve their career standing as well as recent graduates seeking employment in the high-growth geospatial industries. The program is intended for students with either extensive or limited experience in GIST.

Geographic Information Technology

It is possible to study geographic information systems at the undergraduate level as part of a geography program. However, with the same amount of effort you can have a Masters degree that will generally get you a higher salary.

Why a Geographic Information Technology Degree

GIS is a high tech field, which is experiencing increasing growth. It is essential to governments, emergency services, real estate, weather forecasting and healthcare for keeping track of where things are, changes in trends and tracking the spread of infection, storms, demographic and other data. Telecommunications companies use GIS for storing information about their equipment as well as for planning and executing expansion activities. Many government agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Park Service and the Department of Transportation maintain GIS data. Municipalities and other organizations that need to record and access large amounts of spatial information use GIS as an essential tool for their operations. GIS is required for the safe and effective functioning of cities. The location of all the pipelines, gas lines, electrical systems and water lines can all be accessed and updated. When there is a breakage in a utility conduit or other equipment, it can immediately be identified and located. Most municipalities have a dig-safe program, which is used whenever excavation is being done. It uses GIS to let people know whether or not it is safe to dig at a specific location. Without this information, they would have no way of knowing about buried utilities that they might damage. GIS is key to the safe and efficient functioning of a metropolitan area. Wherever geographic information is needed, there is a GIS job to be done. GIS technologists are very in demand. Typically a job in this field requires a Masters degree.

Geographic Information Technology Courses & Areas of study

  • Required Courses
    • Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
    • Fundamentals of GIS Analysis
    • Fundamentals of Remote Sensing
    • Advanced Spatial Analysis
    • Project Management Practices
    • Information Systems
    • Electives – one of the following
    • Foundations of Organizational Communications
    • Developing Your Leadership Capability
    • Managing Organizational Culture
    • GIS Customization
    • GIS Management and Implementation
    • Spatial Databases
    • Internet-Based GIS
    • GIS/Cartography
    • Business Applications of Geographic Information Systems
    • GIS Electives – four of the following
    • Open Electives – 7 more courses

Geographic Information Technology Career Opportunities

GIS is an in demand and lucrative field to be in. Some common jobs for those with a Masters in geographic information technology are:

  • GIS Spatial DB Administrator – Salary $57,000
  • Geospatial Analyst – Average salary $81,000
  • Geospatial Specialist GIS – Average Salary $77,000
  • GIS Analyst – $75,000
  • Federal Civil Service GS 9 – Entry Level Salary $47,000

Online Geographic Information Technology Degrees

This degree is offered online at accredited universities. For those who are working full time, studying online is very convenient and saves so much time because there is no commuting involved.

Geographic Information Technology Education & Admissions requirements

Every school has different admissions requirements. Some schools require a personal interview, however most do not. Here are some of the requirements for admission at a large, well respected, private engineering school:

  • Professional resume
  • Personal statement
  • 3.0 grade point average or higher
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Proof of English Proficiency
  • BS in any science preferred

Geographic Information Technology Accreditation

It is important that your Masters in geographic information technology is accredited. If it is not, it is not a legitimate degree. This may be a problem for any employer who has offered you a position based on this credential. If you have obtained a government or teaching job based on a degree, which is not accredited, you could lose your position. The US Department of Education does not endorse or give accreditation to schools, however it does provide a complete database of accredited post-secondary institutions in the US. There are two types of accrediting agencies, national and programmatic.

Top Ranked Information Technology Degrees

Obtaining a Masters in geographic information technology from a highly ranked university lends greater credibility to the degree. The Masters in geographic information technology is a new high tech degree program and has not been widely rated. However, the school’s rank itself can be checked. Those who are admitted to highly ranked schools will have the most impressive credentials. Schools ranked by the US News, Princeton Review or Forbes are the best candidates. Unranked schools having notable faculty members are more desirable than those who lack them.

Geographic Information Technology Professional Organizations

The following organizations are professional associations for those in the field of geographic information system. They are worthwhile organizations for students, teachers and professionals:

  • Cartography and Geographic Information Society cartogis.org
  • Geospatial Information & Technology Association gita.org
  • National Center for Geographic Information & Analysis ncgia.ucsb.edu
  • National States Geographic Information Council nsgic.org