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Mapping out the future: Blinn Geography Program builds on success of fall GIS pilot course

GEOG 2470: Introduction to GIS transfers to university GIS degree programs

GEOG 2470: Introduction to GIS transfers to university GIS degree programs

December 14, 2018

The Blinn College District is introducing students to the emerging field of geographic information systems (GIS) through a course that transfers to various GIS degree programs offered at universities across the state.

This fall, Blinn launched GEOG 2470: Introduction to GIS, a four-credit-hour academic course designed to teach students the basic principles and techniques of GIS, a computer-based tool that uses spatial data to analyze and solve real-world issues. This spring, Blinn will offer the lecture and lab components of the course consecutively from noon-2:40 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Bryan Campus.

“Introduction to GIS is one of the few courses of its kind to be offered at the community college level,” Instructor Suzanne Struve said. “Students can seamlessly transfer the skills and knowledge they acquire from the course to various regional universities, including Texas A&M, Sam Houston, Texas State, and Stephen F. Austin universities.”

GIS is a framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing data. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS analyzes spatial location and organizes layers of information into visualizations using maps and 3D scenes. Researchers, businesses, and government agencies use GIS in crime mapping, road networking, wastewater and storm water systems, and waste management.

The course will introduce students to the organization of GIS, various types of data systems, map layouts, projections, global navigation satellite systems, and database management.

“I enrolled in the class in the fall with very little knowledge of GIS,” said Nathan Young, a recent graduate of Blinn’s Geography Program. “GIS is such a growing field, and it is a tool we will continue to see more and more of in the future. This class was a great opportunity for me to learn an important skill that can be taken into such a variety of public and private sectors.”

In addition to the interactive instruction, the lab component of GEOG 2470 will focus on GIS data collection, entry, storage, analysis, and output using ArcMap, a widely used geospatial processing software in the industry. Sophomore geography major Cody Brummett, who completed the course in the fall, drew upon his prior experience with ArcMap as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves.

“As a military intelligence specialist in the Reserves, I knew this course would complement my degree plan and career path,” said Brummett. “GEOG 2470 is a fun, interactive course taught by an excellent instructor. I definitely recommend taking it if you are interested in the many industries that utilize GIS in their day-to-day operations.”

Housed within the Division of Social Sciences, Blinn’s Geography Program prepares students seeking an advanced degree in geography at a four-year university. Courses provide hands-on instruction using the latest modeling techniques used in the rapidly advancing field of GIS, as well as studying the different aspects of the profession, including human, physical, and economic geography.

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