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GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGY

What is Geospatial Technology?

Geospatial Technology (GST) (also known as Geographic Information Science and Technology) integrates innovative tools and techniques to enable users to visualize, analyze, query, and predict temporal, spatial and critical relationships. GST helps to solve problems by looking at data in a way that is readily displayed, can be spatially analyzed and easily shared.

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GST includes software tools and data collection tools. Software tools include geographic information systems (GIS), cartography, remote sensing and image analysis. Data collection tools include global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), remote sensing satellite systems, manned aircraft and drones (unmanned aircraft systems).

Wherever there is need for spatial analysis, GST can help. The ability of GST to share geographic information – visually and dynamically – makes GST essential for any spatial discipline. Whether it’s the map on a smart phone or the navigation system in a car, the basemap in a video game, or the maps that one sees on TV, “geospatial” is all around us. GST is being used for resource management, environmental studies, urban planning, criminology, homeland security, military analysis, archaeology, precision agriculture, health sciences, political science, emergency assessment and first responders, physical sciences, earth sciences, marketing, logistics, economics, business, and virtually any other discipline that has a spatial and/or temporal component.

Students completing the Southwestern College (SWC) program in GST, will be able to:

  • Describe the fundamental components and applications of geospatial technologies.
  • Demonstrate the fundamental principles of mapping and spatial data modeling.
  • Identify different sources of spatial data and demonstrate how to acquire spatial data.
  • Describe how Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) work and discuss why they are so important.
  • Apply fundamental principles of remote sensing and image analysis for mapping and spatial analysis applications.
  • Identify remote sensing platforms and their respective functions (including satellites, manned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems).
  • Discuss and debate the future of geospatial technologies, ethical questions related to the field, and societal implications.
  • Identify fields (and applications) that use GST, and prepare to enter into the GST workforce in a chosen field of study.

The SWC GST program introduces students to geospatial technology concepts and applications for a variety of fields. Special emphasis is on hands-on experience with the hardware, software, and techniques employed in science, industry, and academia. All core GST courses are online and fast track (8-week courses). Course curriculum is based upon the Department of Labor (DoL) Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM).

Certificates Available

  • Certificate of Achievement, Geospatial Technology Technician 
    This certificate track is designed for students seeking an entry-level position as a Geospatial Technology Technician. The internship course (GEOG 153) may take place on campus or at a private or public entity. Students will take all of the core geospatial courses, including GIS (introduction and advanced), introduction to GST, remote sensing, image analysis, and the internship or capstone course. Track 1 can be completed in one academic year.
  • Certificate of Proficiency in Geographic Information Science 
    This certificate track is considered a “stackable” certificate and is designed for continuing students and/or working professionals who would like to add GST to their academic toolset (especially, if their discipline uses the tools and techniques of GST). The focus of this certificate is GIS. Students will take the introduction to GST course as well as the introductory and advanced GIS courses. Track 2 can be completed in one academic semester.
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