The B.S. in Geospatial Information Science (GISci) program is for students who have a strong mathematics background and are interested in GIS careers that emphasize analytical skills. This program has two principal objectives:
- to provide a formal program and specialized course of study to persons interested in a career involving geospatial technologies such as GIS, the Global Positioning System (GPS), and/or remote sensing, and,
- to recognize students who undertake a rigorous plan of study involving theory and applications of GISci.
A student who earns the B.S. in GISci degree at OSU will be well-versed in general GISci knowledge and will have competency utilizing GISci hardware and software for the planning, development and maintenance of spatial and nonspatial databases. Most important, students who complete the B.S. will have higher order skills involving the analysis of geospatial data and will be capable of communicating findings with larger audiences.
GISci is increasingly viewed as an attractive career pathway. In fact, the growing demand for persons with expertise involving GISci is illustrated by a 2010 U.S. Department of Labor estimate that more than 200,000 Americans routinely utilize geospatial information within their jobs. As geospatial specialists, you will use spatial data for problem solving that can’t be done with traditional maps and charts. For example, a geospatial analyst may combine land cover data collected by a satellite with property boundaries collected using a GPS receiver. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016), employment of geoscientists, whose jobs require heavy knowledge and skills in geospaial science, is projected to grow 10% from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for geoscientists was $89,910 in May 2014. The highest 10 percent earned more than $187,200.
There are a variety of jobs requiring GISci skills. Some common GIS job titles include:
- Geospatial Scientist
- GIS Analyst
- GIS Administrator
- GIS Application Developer
- Remote Sensing Specialist
Plenty of career opportunities exist in both the public and private sectors, and at the federal, state, and local levels. Organizations employ GISci grads include:
Since the early 1990s the OSU Geography Department has distinguished itself in GISci instruction and research. In 1996 the Department launched the state’s first Certificate in Geographic Information Systems and in subsequent years has expanded GISci course offerings to address growing student interest and demand. The Department is well-known nationally and internationally for research involving the integration of GISci within farm-level decision-making, for scholarship involving human patterns and processes tied to cultural and historical landscapes and for research involving communications and transportation systems. Faculty in the Department have been highly successful in obtaining extramural support for GISci research and extension activities from organizations ranging from the National Science Foundation to the National Park Service, U.S. Department of State, Oklahoma Historical Society, and Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Faculty in the Department have also worked to improve STEM education in Oklahoma schools through projects such as a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation that introduced GISci activities in 6th through 12th grade science classrooms. The Department’s international outreach efforts tied to geospatial technologies include a training partnership involving faculty and students in Vietnam and a multi-year project aimed at rebuilding Iraq’s GISci infrastructure. The department has two state-of-the-art GIS labs to support the teaching of GISci courses. Each lab is equipped with 12 desktop computers running a variety of software packages, including ArcGIS for Desktop 10, Idrisi, Envi, QGIS, Corel Draw, etc.
The OSU Department of Geography has ten faculty members (out of 17 faculty) who offer significant expertise in GISci and will support coursework for the program. OSU Geography faculty are active in publishing research findings in journals such as Transactions in GIS, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Geo-spatial Information Science, Remote Sensing of the Environment, and other outlets. Faculty are also active in obtaining federal, state, and private research grants for GISci research and outreach activities. Undergraduate students work closely with faculty on research projects and outreach initiatives. OSU Geography faculty with teaching/research interests involving geospatial information science include:
- Brad A. Bays, Ph.D., Nebraska, 1996. Associate Professor. Historical applications of geospatial information.
- Jonathan C. Comer, Ph.D., Ohio State, 1994. Professor. Location analysis and quantitative methods.
- G. Allen Finchum, Ph.D., Tennessee, 1992. Associate Professor. Socioeconomic applications of GISci, GISci database development, GIS programming.
- Amy E. Frazier, Ph.D., Buffalo, 2013. Assistant Professor. Remote Sensing and natural resource applications of GISci.
- Adam Mathews, Ph.D., Texas State, 2014. Assistant Professor. Remote Sensing and natural resource applications of GISci.
- Dale R. Lightfoot, Ph.D., Colorado, 1990. Professor. Remote sensing.
- Stephen J. Stadler, Ph.D., Indiana State, 1979. Professor and State Geographer of Oklahoma. Remote sensing.
- Jacqueline M. Vadjunec, Ph.D., Clark, 2007. Associate Professor. GPS field data capture and remote sensing.
- Thomas A. Wikle, Ph.D., Southern Illinois, 1989. Professor. Cartography, GISci visualization.
- Hongbo Yu, Ph.D., Tennessee, 2005. Associate Professor. Transportation applications of GISci.
Requirements for the B.S. in GISci degree have been designed to parallel skills needed by GISci professionals. Upon earning the B.S., a student will be proficient in spatial data capture, data representation, spatial data analysis, GISci theory, and GISci project development and implementation. Below is a list of courses for major requirements of this program.
|B.S. IN GEOSPATIAL INFORMATION SCIENCE (46 HOURS)|
|A) THE FOLLOWING COURSES ARE ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED:|
|GEOG 2344||4 Hours||Digital Tools in Environmental Exploration (N, L)|
|GEOG 3333||3 Hours||Spatial Analysis (Prereq: STAT 2013 or 2023 or 2053)|
|GEOG 4203||3 Hours||Fundamentals of GIS|
|GEOG 4323||3 Hours||Computer Cartography (Prereq: GEOG 4203)|
|GEOG 4333||3 Hours||Remote Sensing|
|GEOG 4343||3 Hours||GIS: Resource Management (Prereq: GEOG 4203)|
|GEOG 4353||3 Hours||GIS: Socioeconomic Applications (Prereq: GEOG 4203)|
|GEOG 4943||3 Hours||GIS Internship/Research Capstone|
|CS 2133||3 Hours||Computer Science II (Prereq: CS 1113)|
|CS 2433||3 Hours||C/C++ Programming (Prereq: CS 1113)|
|B) CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING COURSES:|
|STAT 2013||3 Hours||Elementary Statistics (A) (Prereq: MATH 1483 or 1513)|
|STAT 2023||3 Hours||Elementary Statistics for Business and Economics (A) (Prereq: MATH 1483 or 1513)|
|STAT 2053||3 Hours||Elementary Statistics for the Social Sciences (A) (Prereq: MATH 1483 or 1513)|
|C) 6 HOURS OF UPPER-DIVISION GEOG COURSES|
|D) 6 HOURS OF UPPER-DIVISION (NON-GEOG) DEPARTMENTAL APPROVED RELATED COURSES|
|MINIMUM 2.50 GPA REQUIRED FOR THESE 46 CREDITS|
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Emily Fekete
OSU Department of Geography
344 Murray Hall
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078