What is GIS?
A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and present all types of spatial or geographical data.
What does a GIS do?
A GIS lets us visualize, question and interpret large quantities of data to understand relationships, patterns and trends. It allows us to create maps, integrate information, visualize various scenarios, present powerful ideas and develop cost effective solutions. GIS data represents real objects, such as roads, land use, elevation, trees, waterways, etc., with digital data determining the mix.
How does GIS work?
GIS stores information about the world as a collection of layers that can be linked together by a common locational component such as latitude and longitude, a postal zip code, census tract name, or road name. These geographic references allows us to locate features on the earth’s surface for analysis of patterns and trends. Dozens of map layers can be arrayed to display information about transportation networks, hydrography, population characteristics, economic activity and political jurisdictions.
GIS is becoming essential to understanding what is happening and what will happen in geographic space. Once we understand, we can prescribe action. This new approach to managing geographically is transforming the way organizations operate.
Who uses GIS?
GIS benefits organizations of all sizes and in almost every industry imaginable. There is a growing interest in and awareness of the economic and strategic value of GIS. It is a tool used by individuals and organizations, schools, governments and businesses seeking innovative ways to solve their problems.
What kind of careers are available in GIS?
Consider a career in GIS. These careers exist in every imaginable discipline, from environmental science to commercial businesses and much more. This wide range of opportunities lets you combine your passions or interests with GIS for the most satisfying and successful career.
Employment opportunities may be found in the following fields: business (financial services, insurance, real estate, retail, and commercial business cartography and map publishing); communications (location-based services, media and press and telecommunications conservation); defense (defense and intelligence); and much more.
On a national scale, Geospatial Technology is named a high-growth industry by the U.S. Department of Labor, charting an annual growth rate of almost 35 percent. Likewise, the Department’s Occupational Outlook Handbook also projects “faster-than-average” employment growth in this field through 2022. Cartographers, photogrammetrists and surveying technicians are also expected to grow faster than average during the same time period.
How much do GIS professionals make?
GIS jobs range from part-time to full-time positions, and salary varies widely by location, discipline and experience. Salary.com reports the range in the U.S. between $41,108 for an entry-level analyst to $89,475 and upwards for a GIS supervisor, as of March 2014. View the GISJobs.com Salary Survey for a more in-depth look at salaries.
Whether you are about to complete high school or are moving forward from a prior career, stop by Mountwest’s campus or visit the programs of study section of our website to check out this exciting opportunity.