The GIS certificate at UMPI is aimed to bring modern GPS and GIS technologies to students of all the majors and to local communities. A two-semester GIS sequence is offered, ENV308-Introduction to GIS (GIS I) in the spring, and ENV408-GIS Applications and Advanced Spatial Analyses (GIS II) in the fall.
Students in GIS II work on real GIS projects to earn hands-on experience. For example, they collect municipal infrastructural data with Trimble GPS and build GIS geodatabases for the local cities/towns. Some of them work as paid interns in the summer. GPS/GIS technologies help students meet higher academic standards and to achieve successes in their job hunting and their professional careers.
UMPI’s GIS certificate is supported by a state-of-the-art GIS Laboratory funded by a Maine Technology Asset Funds (MTAF) grant. The laboratory is one of the best GIS computing facilities in Maine. The MTAF grant and funds from other sources have helped development of a community GIS centre at the University that aims to helping strengthen geospatial capabilities of northern Maine for community development.
What is GIS?
GIS (Geographic Information System) is a computing system designed to capture, store, retrieve, analyze, and display geographic information/spatial data. GIS is a powerful tool in dealing with geographic information and in decision making. It is a technological application, which can be used across various disciplines. With improvements in the capabilities of GIS technology and the power of GIS map displays, the number and types of GIS uses have expanded exponentially from purely infrastructure, engineering, and environmental applications to program planning applications pertaining to social and public policy issues.
- A dedicated GIS computer Laboratory (with 24 high-end desktop and laptop computer stations installed with advanced GIS software)
- 7 Trimble GPS and mobile GIS units (top mapping-quality GPS units with up to sub-foot accuracy)
- 6 Garmin GPSmap 76CSx GPS units (top navigation-quality Garmin GPS units)
- 1 GEI 35-inch wide-format color roll scanner (for scanning any maps or documents up to 35-inch wide)
- 1 HP Designjet 1050c Plus wide format printer (print top-quality standard maps and posters)
- 1 Xerox Phaser color laser printer
- 1 Xerox Phaser grayscale laser printer
- 1 Wide-format roll scanner
ENV308 – Fundamentals of GIS (GIS I):
The course introduces students to basic concepts and techniques of GIS. Topics include location referencing methods, data collection techniques, spatial data models and structure, geodatabase creation and manipulation, basic spatial queries and problem solving with GIS. It is offered in the spring with 4 credits.
The course is divided into: lectures, which introduce basic theories and concepts of mapping science, geographic information science, and GIS technology, and lab exercises, which address hands-on exercises with ArcGIS, covering the whole GIS production process from data modelling and acquisition to data editing, spatial queries, basic spatial analysis, and cartographic design.
The goal is to provide students with experience in the geographic data acquisition, manipulation, query, spatial analysis, and visualization. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to: (1) understand basic concepts used in GIS; (2) demonstrate a working knowledge of ArcGIS, and (3) meet the prerequisite skill requirement for advanced GIS course, GIS II.
ENV408 – GIS Applications and Advanced Spatial Analyses (GIS II):
GIS II focuses on advanced geospatial analysing methods and GIS techniques and skills, including geocoding, georeferencing, CAD data conversion, raster- and TIN-based spatial analysts such as digital terrain modelling and visualization, and surface analysts. The major purpose of this course is to extend fundamental theories and concepts in GIS students have learned from introductory GIS course (GIS I) so that they are better knowledgeable in advanced GIS applications. It is offered in the fall with 4 credits. Prerequisite: GIS I
The course is divided into: lectures, which address basic theories and methods of advanced geospatial analysts and GIS techniques and skills, and applications of GIS skills in fields of students’ interests, and lab exercises, which focus on hands-on experiences in the advanced and critical GIS techniques and skills.
The course is also project-focused: each student is required to work on a real-world project through the semester. The project collects real GIS data and solves a real-world problem. The project could be integrated into students’ senior thesis project. Students present their completed projects in poster format. Students may also present at other occasions such as department seminars, University Day, and professional meetings.
GIS II is aimed enhancing ArcGIS skills for students who have taken GIS I. Upon completion of GIS II, students are expected to be able to work independently on general projects with ArcGIS, and to be able to move further and to be able to explore higher levels of ArcGIS with self study.