Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a computerized framework for gathering, managing, analyzing, and presenting spatial data. GIS is a standard tool for planning and problem-solving in conservation and natural resources management, food systems, and various other fields, and employees with GIS skills are in high demand in federal, state, and local governments as well as many private industries.
Students in this course will learn basic principles of spatial reasoning, and develop foundational skills in cartography, spatial modeling and analysis using the leading GIS software package, ArcGIS. Students will practice solving spatial problems, such as urban, rural, and watershed planning, biodiversity and forest management, and identification of housing and conservation areas. Students will also learn how to use a GPS (Global Positioning System) to bring data collected in the field into GIS for mapping and analysis, and will learn about other GIS tools such as the web-based Vermont Natural Resources Atlas and Biofinder, ArcGIS online, and Google Earth.