Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based information system that is capable of storing and analyzing spatial data. GIS integrates various map layers and non-spatial data and produces new spatial information for the decision-making process. GIS includes common database operations, spatial statistical analysis, computer graphics and visualization, and geographic analysis. Current satellite remote sensors provide GIS with the latest information about the earth environment. Today, GIS is not only taught and studied in colleges and universities, but applied in many areas ranging from emergency planning to landfill site selection, and from mapping wild life habitat to land use / land cover change detection. GIS has become a multi billion-dollar industry employing hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.
The objectives of the certificate in GIS are: 1) to provide participants with a concentrated geography background focusing on geographic information techniques, 2) to prepare participants with technical skills in using GIS, and 3) to qualify participants for applications of GIS in various areas.
A certificate will be awarded to the participants who successfully complete the required course work.
GIS jobs can be found at public (federal/state/local) and private agencies and organizations. The following are examples of the possible fields:
City and regional planning
Conservation and wildlife management
Forest inventory and management
Environmental planning and protection
Coastal water quality management
Real estate assessment
Site selection and analysis
Landcover mapping and land-use planning
Graduates of the GIS Certificate Program have found employment with state agencies, such as the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, city, county, and metropolitan planning organizations, and private engineering companies and environmental consulting firms.
Our goal is to offer the certificate program in a flexible format. Therefore, the courses in the GIS Certificate Program can either be taken at the undergraduate or graduate level.
To be eligible to pursue the undergraduate-level GIS certificate students must be currently enrolled at the University of Alabama or another four-year college or university or have two years of work experience in a field that deals with geographic information, such as geography, natural resources and land-use management, environmental analysis, regional and environmental planning, civil engineering, or business applications.
The requirement for the graduate-level GIS certificate is a bachelor degree in one of the above fields.
Luoheng Han, Ph.D., Nebraska, 1994.
Professor and Associate Dean - remote sensing, GIS. Dr. Han is interested in remote sensing of water quality and GIS applications.
W. Craig Remington, M.S., Florida State, 1981.
Adjunct Professor and Director of the Cartographic Research Lab - computer cartography, GIS. Mr. Remington is working with several research libraries in offering historical map resources on the Internet. He also edits several atlas publications dealing with both current socio-economic data and the historical resources of Alabama. He oversees a wide range of GIS projects as the Director of the Cartographic Research Laboratory.
Linda Watson, M.S., Alabama, 2006.
Instructor and Director of the Placenames Research Center: GIS, toponymy. Ms. Watson is one of the few full-time place names researchers in the country and oversees the updating of placenames for the USGS Geographic Names Information System Database.
Joe Weber, Ph.D., Ohio State 2001.
Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Land Information Analysis and Mapping - GIS, transportation. Dr. Weber is interested in using GIS to model people's travel behavior and mobility within cities despite traffic congestion and urban sprawl.
Support Facilities and Technology
GIS and Remote Sensing Lab
The GIS and Remote Sensing Laboratory maintains a state-of-the-art facility. The lab serves students and faculty in both their coursework and research. The lab offers the latest popular GIS and remote sensing software packages, such as ArcGIS and ERDAS Imagine.
Cartographic Research Lab
The Cartographic Research Laboratory was established in 1982. It is a self-supporting, non-profit facility, receiving funding through the sale of publications and through the completion of cartographic and GIS projects for a broad clientele. Adjoining the University Map Library and Placenames Research Center, the lab is ideally situated to handle a multitude of mapping and spatial analysis tasks.
The map library is a regional depository for the U.S.G.S. and D.M.A. and includes over 250,000 maps and 70,000 aerial photographs. The library also houses the Placenames Research Center of the United States and is active in toponymic studies.
|Required Courses (12 hours)
||Computer Mapping and Graphics
||Remote Sensing I
||Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
|Electives (8 hours)
||Computer Mapping Applications in Business
||Remote Sensing II
| GY 436/536
||Advanced Geographic Information Systems
||Applications of Geographic Information Systems
The GIS Certificate Program brochure can be downloaded here.
For specific information about course requirements contact:
Dr. Joe Weber
Department of Geography
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0322