2020-2021 Catalog (Current)

Advanced Geographic Information Systems

Degree Type: Certificate
College(s): College of Engineering Technology

Program Requirements

Advanced Geographic Information Systems, Certificate Checksheet


  • Certificate Courses
  • Admission and Transfer Requirements
  • Graduation Requirements

Why Choose Geographic Information Systems Certificate?  

A Geographic Information System (GIS) uses computers and software to leverage the fundamental principle of spatial data and information management. It is a tool used for managing information according to where it is located. There is currently a shortage of qualified professionals to fill GIS-related positions in diverse disciplines ranging from different levels of government to various private companies to large corporations. GIS is one of the most important components of approaching global problem-solving. It helps us look for patterns in both the man-made and natural worlds. People in business, government, education, and natural resources are using GIS to analyze markets, manage parcels of land, conduct research, and protect natural resources.

What is GIS?

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a computerized method for displaying spatial data. This means that information about the world is stored in a database and can be viewed on a map. The information can be just about anything. Take your house as an example. There are a lot of different kinds of information you can collect about your house - price, size, number of bedrooms, the year it was built. All of this information can be stored in a table created in a program like Microsoft Excel. This database is the beginning of an Information System. Your house also has an address. The address is a type of geographic information. You put the two kinds of data together - information + geographic and you have GIS. You can see where the house is located and you can see information about the house.

Why should I take a GIS class?

GIS is multidisciplinary and relates to applications in various other fields. GIS can help deal with complex issues by modeling the earth and developing generalizations about how it functions. It can also be used in a variety of ways for any endeavor linking information to features on the ground.

Career Opportunities

What is the employment outlook for the GIS industry?

The growth of GIS applications in desktop computing is expanding exponentially, creating new and exciting developments. GIS technology represents a billion-dollar industry worldwide, growing 25% per year and serving 50,000 to 100,000 users in more than 100 countries. At this time, job opportunities outnumber qualified graduates. There will continue to be a need for GIS professionals to deal with newer and tougher air and water regulations, as well as civil engineers to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. Look at this site to see the type of jobs offered and qualifications desired by employers.

More Information

School of Engineering and Computing Technology
Survey Engineering Technology Programs
915 Campus Drive, SWN 312
Big Rapids, MI 49307-2291
Phone: 231-591-2633

Ferris State University
College of Engineering Technology
1009 Campus Drive, JOH 200
Big Rapids, MI 49307-2280
Phone: 231-591-2890

Required Courses
Credit Hours

Advanced Certificate in GIS - 6 Credits

GIS Data Analysis-Specializ
Advanced Topics in GIS