Why Should You Become a GIS Major at the University of Maryland?

Report
THE TOP 10 REASONS WHY YOU
SHOULD BECOME A GEOGRAPHY
MAJOR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
MARYLAND
Dr. Ronald Luna, Undergraduate Director
Rachel Berndtson, Senior Undergraduate Advisor
Department of Geography
University of Maryland
Fall 2011
What is Geography?
Geography concerns the relations
between people and the natural world,
the effects of ecosystems on human
beings and vice versa, the choices people
make, the effects of past actions on
people today, and the effects of today’s
choices on future generations.
Geography Academic Options
GEOGRAPHY
Major
GEOGRAPHY
Geographic Information Systems
Concentration
Concentration
*Upcoming* Society, Sustainability
and Environmental Justice
Concentration
humanenvironmental
interactions
Specialized
subfields: urban,
biogeographic,
demographic
ENSP-Land Use
ENSP-Global
ENSP-Coastal
Concentration
Concentration
Concentration
technical skills
digital processing
spatial analysis
Geographic Information
Systems
*Upcoming* Geospatial
Intelligence and Analysis
Minor
Minor
Minor
environmental resources
location and use
scientific
underpinnings
Cultural
dimensions
societal impacts
Regional
dimensions
*Upcoming* Global
Environmental Justice
environmental justice
Ecological
dimensions
remote sensing
observations
cartographic vector
data
spatial analysis
Remote sensing
military analysis and
intelligence
environmental monitoring
counter-narcotics
disaster assessments,
law enforcement
policy responses
climate change,
International sea level rise
dimensions
greenhouse gas
emissions
stratospheric
ozone
oceanography and
littoral processes
meteorological
conditions
environmental
policy as it relates
to marine and
coastal management
#1: Rapidly expanding field of study
Geographic Information Systems

Over the past 15 years there has been…

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
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


A “rapid pace of advancements and increasing accessibility” to GIS tools
and programming languages
Increasingly more accessible computer memory for GIS programs
Diffusion and adoption of GIS across academic and professional
disciplines
A flux of massive governmental and commercial spatial databases
A significant increase in the public availability to high-resolution satellite
imagery
The creation of specialized software suites for unique industries
The development of Internet tools for GIS data dissemination and
visualization
(Sampson and Delgiudice 2006, 1446; Florance 2006, 222-223)
#1: Rapidly expanding field of study
Geography

Why Geography Matters…



“Geography is fundamental to the process of true education in that it
serves as a springboard to virtually every other subject in the
sciences and humanities” (McDougall 2001)
“Geography is vital to the examination of economic competition,
poverty, environmental degradation, ethnic conflict, health care,
global warming, literature and culture, and, of course,
international relations.” (McDougall 2001)
Geography is essential to understanding and changing society
(Massey 1984, 1)

Geographic knowledge is necessary to understanding industrial
processes, economic mechanisms, poverty distribution, natural
resource management, natural disaster response and mitigation
(Massey 1984, 3, 6, 7)
#2: All-Star Faculty

Leaders of the field
Recently ranked THIRD BEST Geography department in the
United States by the National Research Council
Great connections …why does this matter?
 “Graduate school and career letters of recommendation need
to be different from those required for undergraduate
admission” in that they must come from a professor “who can


say something good about your potential for
graduate or career research, experience with
undergraduate research, or performance as a
student.”
THEREFORE….
 “Develop good relationships with your professors now.”

Dr. Kim Nickerson, Assistant Dean at the University of Maryland’s College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
#3: Ease of enrollment and degree
completion




Not a Limited Enrollment Program
No entrance exams or minimum GPAs
No specific CORE requirements
Manageable credit requirements: 50 Departmental
Credits
 Easy
to transfer in as a junior or senior
 Easy addition of minors or double majors

Several summer, winter and online course options
#4: Career Opportunities

Cross disciplinary
Government: federal and state (DoD, EPA, BLM, USGS,
NASA, NGA, USAID)
 Corporate (Google, Lockheed Martin, ESRI)
 Non Profit (World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense
Council, Amnesty International, The Holocaust Museum)
 Academic: Universities (teaching, researching), High School,
Middle School
 Physical: land use/land cover change, wildlife habitats,
climate change, earth systems science
 Human: political analysis, cultural analysis, census tracking,
transportation systems, corporate strategizing, ethnic disputes,
educational change, health access

#5: Internship Opportunities

Expanding number of new internship opportunities
 (private,
nonprofit and government sectors)
 Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer internships

Bi-annual Geography Career Fair
 specifically
designed for and open to Geography/GIS
students


Up to 6 credits for internships (GEOG384, GEOG385)
Internship opportunities easily accessible
 proximity
to DC/MD/VA offices
Why is this important?
#6: Undergraduate Research
Opportunities

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

Honors Program (GEOG396, GEOG397)
Independent Studies Program (GEOG 398, GEOG498)
Opportunities to submit research for cash rewards
(Funded) Opportunities to present at national academic
meetings
Why is this important?


Research at the undergraduate level is no longer seen as giving
students an “edge” at graduate schools and job opportunities, but
rather “many graduate schools and employers have come to expect
it” (Webb 2007)
Dr. Michael Doyle, former president of the Council on Undergraduate
Research and chemistry professor at the University of Maryland:
“undergraduate research experience can help recent science grads
land interviews (and even jobs) in the industry and compensate for
the ‘years of experience’ listed in a job advertisement” (Webb 2007)
#7: State of the art technological
facilities and skills training

Student computer labs
 Access
to latest GIS, Remote Sensing and Programming
software
 ArcGIS,
ENVI, ERDAS, Visual Studio, S-Plus
#7: Skills Training through GIS Courses



GEOG373
GEOG473
GEOG475
Geographic
Information
Systems
and Spatial
Geographic
ComputerInformation
Cartography
Systems
Analysis
Characteristics
Prerequisite:
and
GEOG306,
organization
GEOG373
of Credit
or
Prerequisite:
GEOG306
and GEOG373.
geographic
equivalent
data;
The
creation
of
use of
will
be granted
for principles
only
one ofand
the designing
following:
GEOG473
GEOG482.
Formerly
GEOG482.
digital
mapsgeospatial
fororpublication
databases;
in printmetadata;
media,
Analytical
of geographic
information
spatial
including
datauses
books
models
and
foratlases.
thematic
The
mapping
systems;
data
forof
building
geographic
and
selection
map analysis;
ofmodels
symbols,
use
colors,
geographic
letterdata bases; types of geographic data and
information
ing, map
system
projections,
in society,
and
map
government,
spatial
problems;
practical
experience
using
and
content.
business.
Constraints
Practical
and
training
problems
with use
in ofas
advanced
software
for thematic
domains
such
terrain
analysis,
land and
suitability
modeling,
advanced
the classification
software
geographic
representation
demographic
analysis, and transportation
databases.
of map data.
studies.
#7: Skills Training through Remote
Sensing Courses


GEOG372
GEOG472
Remote Sensing
Remote Sensing: Digital Processing and
Principles
Analysis; of remote sensing in relation
to
photographic,
thermal
infrared
Prerequisite:
GEOG306,
GEOG372
or and
equivalent.
Credit will
be granted
for only one
radar
imaging.
Methods
of obtaining
of the following:
GEOG472 or
GEOG480.
quantitative
information
from
Formerly GEOG480.images.
Digital image
remotely-sensed
processing and analysis applied to satellite
Interpretation
remotely-sensed
and aircraft landofremote
sensing data.
images
emphasizing
study of steps
Consideration
is given tothe
preprocessing
includingand
calibration
and geo registration.
spatial
environmental
Analysis methods include digital image
relationships.
exploration, feature extraction thematic
classification, change detection, and
biophysical characterization. One or more
application examples may be reviewed.
#7: Skills Training through
Programming and Modeling Courses



GEOG376
GEOG476
GEOG498N
Introduction
to
Topical Investigations:
Advanced
Computer
Computer
Programming
Conceptualizing and
Programming
in GIS
in
GIS
Modeling HumanPrerequisite:
GEOG306,
Prerequisite:
GEOG306,
Environmental
Interactions
GEOG373,
GEOG376
GEOG373 or
equivalent.or
equivalent.
An advanced
An introductory
programming
programming course
course for
for
geography
Implementation
geography. .Introduces
language
is Visual
Basic
the concepts
of computer
programming as applied
to Geography
#8 Study Abroad Opportunities

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
Italy: GEOG328G
Croatia: GEOG 498A
Puerto Rico: GEOG 328
Southern Caribbean:
GEOG328
…and more on the way!
#9: Diversity of Coursework

Physical course examples:


Human course examples:


GEOG373, GEOG473, GEOG475
Remote Sensing course examples:


GEOG328B, GEOG410, GEOG435
GIS course examples:


GEOG340, GEOG342, GEOG415
GEOG372, GEOG472
Programming and Modeling course examples:

GEOG376, GEOG476, GEOG498N
# 10: A Multi-Disciplinary Subject
Cultural Geography
• Anthropology, History, Sociology
Population Geography • Demography
Political Geography
Urban Geography
• Political Science, International
Development, Planning
• Geology
Economic Geography • Economics
Physical
• Geology, Meteorology, Oceanography
Check the following website for additional specialty groups
http://www.aag.org/sg/sg_display.cfm
Come See Us!
For more information on the Geography and GIS
majors at the University of Maryland, please come
to the Department of Geography’s Advising
Office:
2108 LeFrak Hall
301-405-4073
[email protected]
Sources






Florance, P. 2006. GIS collection development within an academic library.
Library Trends 55(2): 222-235.
Massey, D. 1984. Introduction: Geography matters. In Geography matters! A
reader eds. D. Massey and J. Allen, 1-12. New York: Press Syndicate of the
University of Cambridge.
McDougall, W. A. 2001. Why geography matters. American Educator 25(1):
10.
Nickerson, K. “Towards a Career in Research: The Value of Undergraduate
Research,” Geography 212 Lecture, University of Maryland. College Park.
21 September 2010.
Sampson, B. A. and G. D. Delgiudice. 2006. Tracking the rapid pace of GISrelated capabilities and their accessibility. Wildlife Society Bulletin 34(5):
1446-1454
Webb, Sarah, “The Importance of Undergraduate Research,” Science
Careers, July 06, 2007, accessed September 17, 2010,
http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/
articles/2007_07_06/caredit_a0700095.

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