Why consider a degree in GIS?
If you are familiar with the GIS or Geographic Information System then you might think of undertaking an online GIS degree or certification in GIS. This is most probably because of the vast and hidden potential which GIS offers today. Recent growth in the need to deal with data by analysing it and using it to reduce risks by means of better decision-making has gained immense importance in all the fields let it be urban planning or environmental specialist, geologist or disaster management expert. The need to map the data and adding the spatial component to data is slowly recognising the need and thus more and more courses are coming up for GIS.
Getting an online GIS degree will be able to add expertise in your skills set and help you get through the tough competition by providing you a cutting edge. The importance of having a GIS degree is getting realized and thus more and more companies are looking for GIS experts. Thus having a degree which is a proof for your skills becomes even more essential. Opting for an online GIS degree will help you in saving both time & money. Also it provides you many options to choose from and take advantage of large free study material available on the internet on GIS. You will be able to learn at your pace and as per your convenience.
Need for Online GIS degree especially for Urban Planners
Urban areas are becoming areas of research and concerns for scientists, researchers, academicians, students, professionals and even the common citizen. Almost half of the world’s population lives in urban areas and thus they need to be made efficient and managed properly which is possible only be use of latest and advanced technology like GIS. Companies dealing with the problems faced by urban areas have realised the importance of use of GIS softwares and tools without which achieving a good efficiency is next to impossible. Urban Planning is gaining complexity and thus needs to understood well, in this regard GIS softwares will enable urban planners to get a better understanding of cities in lesser time and providing more time to explore alternatives and take better and informed decision.
Types of Online GIS degree available
You may consider pursuing bachelor’s or master’s programs in GIS. Depending on the need and you interest you may opt for any which suites your requirement. Currently there are few colleges and universities which offer undergraduate course and more options are available if you consider master’s program. Most of the options available are within United States and Europe as the use of GIS is relatively old in these areas.
Consider a bachelor’s Degree if you wish to establish your position in this field by getting a deeper understanding of the subject. It will be beneficial if your course is related to geography, environment, urban planning or any course which requires dealing with spatial data. It will provide you a distinguished advantage over others without the knowledge of GIS. There are very few which have undergone full training in GIS. This is enhance your job prospects and the chances of getting hired.
Universities offering bachelor’s GIS degree include
- Harrisburg University
- Northern Arizona University
Master’s in GIS
If you are considering this option then there are good chances because you came across it as the requirement for most entry-level jobs. Presently there are more than 138 offline graduate programs available in the United States alone. Considering it will allow you to start your job as a GIS technician in some of the well-known companies across the globe. You may consider Online GIS Degree in following universities:
- Johns Hopkins University (Online Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems)
- University of Southern California (Online Master of Geographic Information Science and Technology)
You might also explore various GIS certification options available from ESRI, IIRS,
How does Online GIS Degree differ from on campus/offline GIS Degree?
You will not find much difference in the regular course for which you will visit your institute daily and taking classes from your home or workplace. You might find online course to be better in some aspects because of the added rich audio and video media for your help. Teaching the concepts on white boards with markers become difficult and is outdated when talking about GIS. You will enjoy the comfort of sitting at your place and flexible schedule to suit your need. Moreover you will save time for practising the application and for anything else which you enjoy doing. One main difference will be the availability of teacher/mentor from which you can ask questions and clarify your doubts. In online course your main part of learning will be based on pre recorded videos and lectures and lesser interaction with a real human. You will definitely have interactive sessions but they will be less as compared to an offline course. Rest depends on you and we will advise you to take trial classes to get some feel of both online GIS degree and offline course.
We will keep adding more information about Online GIS degree and universities offering them.