GIS education and training is becoming more popular by the day with some employers even requiring applicants to have qualifications in the field. But what is GIS education and training? And what are its benefits for environmental professionals? Here’s everything you need to know about GIS.
What Is GIS Education and Training?
A geographic information system or GIS is a computer system used to capture, store, check, and display data about the Earth’s positions. GIS can be utilized for showing different types of data on a single map, including streets, buildings, and vegetation. GIS allows users to see more easily the different relationships and patterns to then analyze them more effectively.
GIS education and training is not just about learning how to use GIS technology – it’s also about acquiring valuable skills that can be applied in different fields and industries. It’s about learning how to understand a specific issue or problem better and find the most efficient and effective way to solve it.
1. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is a skill that will be valuable for all kinds of professionals in all kinds of fields. It’s a skill that helps you critically assess a specific situation and consider a variety of factors before making a judgment. Moreover, it is a skill that is intimately tied to other essential skills such as problem-solving and decision-making.
GIS education can help you develop your critical thinking skills in a variety of ways. You will learn how to think critically about data, methods, and maps. All of these will help you improve your overall critical thinking skills. You will start asking more relevant and accurate questions that will ultimately influence the way you solve problems and make decisions in your day-to-day professional tasks and activities.
2. Spatial Thinking
Spatial thinking is another skill you can expect to learn and develop as you start receiving GIS education is spatial thinking. Spatial thinking is about understanding our environment in every detail and “feeling” the space, so it is a very important skill for environmental professionals. By developing your spatial thinking, you will quickly notice a difference in your understanding of the environment.
Our world is becoming increasingly interconnected and more complex every year. In a way, we have another world – the online world – that exists side-by-side with the physical world. And yet, the “real” world is still our main domain that environmental professionals need to understand well. Spatial thinking skills will help you learn about the world in a more nuanced way rather than thinking about it simply as a sum of all its parts.
3. Geographic and Scientific Inquiry
As an environmental professional, you may be working solely in your industry – or you could also be engaging with the scientific community. In fact, you should be keeping up with the latest discoveries in your field, so having at least some academic-related skills is a must. That’s why geographic and scientific inquiry skills can be so useful to you.
These skills can also be developed with the help of GIS education and training. They will aid you in gathering and assessing data, asking the right questions, evaluating methods, and more. In a way, geographic and scientific inquiry is related to critical thinking. If you decide to perform your own research, you may need help from an experienced writer that you can find through the writing services reviews at All Top Reviews. A good writer will help you complete your project and perform your environmental research correctly.
4. Project-Based Learning
Speaking of starting your own project and performing research, another valuable skill you will acquire is project-based learning. Abbreviated as PBL, it is about actively learning to solve problems one at a time by finding the right approach to each one of them separately. It can be a powerful skill when used alongside critical thinking and geographic and scientific inquiry.
Project-based learning will help you frame, visualize, and grapple with problems. You will find solutions for anything from natural hazards to climate to man-made problems. PBL is a crucial skill for scientists, planners, decision-makers, and environmental professionals alike. It can be useful for actively engaging with the real world and solving problems in a practical and actionable way.
5. Data Fluency
You’ve probably heard the term data fluency before. It is related to the five fluencies outlined in the book “Understanding the Digital Generation”:
- Solution Fluency is about whole-brain thinking and includes creativity and problem-solving utilized in real-time.
- Information Fluency is about being able to access digital information sources and retrieve the desired information before assessing and evaluating its quality.
- Collaboration Fluency is about being proficient in teamwork and cooperating with virtual and real partners in an online environment to create digital products.
- Creativity Fluency is about adding meaning with the help of design, art, and storytelling.
- Media Fluency is about looking analytically at any communication media to interpret the real message being conveyed.
Data fluency can be considered another kind of fluency that environmental professionals need to possess to perform well at their jobs. That’s the kind of fluency they can acquire with the help of GIS education and training.
6. Mobile Workforces
In today’s day and age, not only students are learning remotely but professionals are working remotely too. Besides, a lot of the work performed by environmental professionals can actually be considered mobile as it is done outside or in the field. This kind of mobility is engrained in GIS education and training.
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7. Community Connection
GIS is already being used worldwide, so its global appeal is undeniable. By getting GIS education and training, environmental professionals can become a part of something bigger and connect with the global community of students and professionals already using GIS tools.
GIS is utilized to solve all kinds of problems in climate, education, and others. That’s why environmental professionals can be certain that they will definitely get an opportunity to perform interesting research, connect with other students and researchers, build their professional networks, and learn to do their job even better.
8. Career Pathways
Speaking of work, getting GIS education and training actually opens more career opportunities for environmental professionals. GIS skills are in-demand right now and are often sought out by employers in all kinds of industries and niches. It’s also very likely that GIS will never go out of style (or will at least stay popular for decades to come).
Environmental professionals who receive GIS education and training can work in non-profit and for-profit organizations, academic, government agencies (local and international), and other spheres. You will be able to work with data, solve problems, make decisions, and more.
9. Students as Agents of Change
Students that receive GIS education and training are expected to become real agents of change in the workplace. That’s why environmental professionals who get GIS education and training will definitely be considered valuable by their teams.
With the skills and knowledge you acquire, you will become a more productive and effective specialist in your field. Women and people from other underrepresented populations can get more opportunities to enter technology-based careers or ascend the career ladder as an environmental professional.
10. Content Knowledge
Last but not least, GIS education and training is valuable for you as it will provide you with content knowledge of a much wider variety than you expect. GIS is constantly expanding into different fields and is no longer purely about geography. It is so much more on all levels which means it will have even more added benefits for environmental and other kinds of professionals.
GIS is a core element of science, including social science. From data science to history to health to civil engineering – GIS is important for very different industries, fields, and niches. So when you receive GIS education and training, you can expect to become a better professional overall both in the environmental domain and in other ways.
All in all, GIS education and training can be extremely beneficial to environmental professionals who want to become better at their jobs. For professionals in other fields, GIS education will also be useful for developing a variety of valuable practical skills.
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