Graduate CoordinatorErik Schiefer email@example.com 928-523-6535
Geographic Information Science with Remote Sensing, Master of Science
Academia, public agencies and civil society organizations utilize GIS and geospatial technology to improve the efficiency of their major activities. Some applications include city planning, tracking environmental pollution, and maintaining important information on health and diseases. Businesses increase their investment in and use of GIS and geospatial services to enhance the value and productivity of their business, attract new customers and boost sales. GIS and remote sensing techniques are essential skills for analysts in conservation, law enforcement, cartography, health sciences, climate science as well as any discipline that utilizes location based information including local government,
urban and regional planning, environment and resource management, transportation planning, energy and utilities, surveying and cartography, and facilities management.
A 30-unit program that integrates geospatial problem solving with state of the art geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing technologies. The program emphasizes geodatabase management, programming for GIS, geographic data analysis, geovisualization, web mapping, image analysis, and location intelligence. The graduate will be prepared to take leadership roles in geospatial data management and analysis in many fields and industries.
Requirements Accordion Open
To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)
You must additionally complete:
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
- All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
- All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
Overview Accordion Closed
In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
|Minimum Units for Completion||30|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Additional admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are recommended.|
|Some online/blended coursework||Required|
|Progression Plan Link||View Program of Study|
The MS in Geographic Information Science with Remote Sensing program prepares GIS professionals who will take leadership roles in geospatial data management and analysis in many fields and industries. It integrates geospatial problem solving with state of the art geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing technologies. The program emphasizes geodatabase management, programming for GIS, geographic data analysis, geovisualization, web mapping, image analysis, location intelligence, and project management. It is designed for working professionals or new college graduates with a Bachelor's degree in any discipline who want to elevate their career or develop a new career in GIS and remote sensing. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to demonstrate abilities in effectively managing and analyzing geospatial data, working with remotely sensed images, producing high-quality maps, publishing interactive web maps, developing GIS tools and automating spatial data processing, as well as developing solutions for GIS problems and managing GIS projects. Graduates will be able to find opportunities and play leadership roles in fields and industries such as urban and regional planning, transportation planning, environment and resource management, energy development and management, and utility management, in either government or private sector.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion students will be able to:
Manage geospatial data
- explain map projection, datum, and coordinate systems
- define coordinate system to data and perform transformation between coordinate systems
- explain spatial data representation and data models and perform between different data formats
- explain how spatial and attribute information is stored in the computer
- compile, create, and edit geospatial data
- work with personal, file, and enterprise geodatabase
- create and work with attribute domains, relationships, topology, and versions in enterprise geodatabase
Analyze geospatial data and provide decision making support
- develop spatial analysis procedures
- prepare and preprocess data for spatial analysis
- perform vector-based and raster-based analysis
- effectively find and use geoprocessing tools
- perform raster-based analysis using map algebra
- interpret analysis results
Develop GIS applications for the area of interest
- identify problems, goals, and objectives of GIS applications
- source data that are in appropriate format and quality for the applications
- develop strategies and workflows for solving the problem
- develop cartographic models to implement the strategies and workflow
- implement the cartographic models using ArcGIS geoprocessing tools and ModelBuilder
- creating Python script to implement geoprocessing automation
- develop custom tools using Python scripts
- interpret model output
Manage GIS projects
- describe the project
- identify problems, goals, and objectives of projects
- develop strategies, methodology, and procedures
- prepare data that meet demands of projects
- solve the problems by analyzing data
- interpret and discuss the analysis results
- provide management or policy recommendations
- develop project plan including resources and timeline
- create professional project reports
Create maps from data and publish maps on the web
- explain the server-client model in web mapping
- explain web map service and web feature service protocol
- explain and use vector data formats GML and GeoJSON for web GIS
- publish maps on the web using ArcGIS online, StoryMaps, and leaflet
Perform high level remote sensing and photogrammetry analysis
- explain basic concepts of remote sensing including platforms, sensors, properties electromagnetic radiation, etc.
- effectively use popular and publicly available remotely sensed data sources
- perform imagery data processing and visualization
- perform supervised and unsupervised classifications
- interpret imagery data
- develop environment/resource monitoring applications
Details Accordion Closed
Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy
Individual program admission requirements include:
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Personal statement or essay
Take the following 30 units:
This plan is not available to students pursuing the Applied Geospatial Sciences MS or the Geographic Information Systems Certificate.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.
What is GIS? Accordion Closed
- Federal and state governments use GIS to manage and plan public land and natural resources.
- Local governments and municipalities use GIS to maintain property data and tax records.
- City planners use GIS to access information, improve communication, and support decision making.
- Environmental agencies use GIS to monitor pollutant discharges and analyze environmental impacts.
- Transportation agencies use GIS to design transportation systems and optimize operations.
- Utility agencies use GIS to manage utility maintenance records and plan services.
- Public health agencies use GIS to monitor epidemic patterns and predict trends.
- Police use GIS to manage emergency dispatching and analyze urban crime patterns.
- Developers use GIS to design sustainable communities and produce maps for permissions.
- Retail businesses use GIS to analyze potential markets and help select new store locations.
- Biologists use GIS to analyze plant disease patterns and develop management strategies.
- Archeologists use GIS to analyze spatial patterns of cultural relics and predict historical sites.
What can I do with the degree? Accordion Closed
- Local government
- Urban and regional planning
- Environmental resource management
- Transportation planning
- Surveying and cartography
- Facilities management
- GIS Data Capture Specialist
- GIS Mapping Technician
- GIS Data Engineer
- GIS Database Administrator
- GIS Front End Developer
- GIS Business Analyst
- GIS Data Analyst
- GIS Manager, GIS Supervisor, GIS Tech Lead, Chief GIS Officer ...
What will I learn in the program? Accordion Closed
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are powerful theoretical and computing tools used to acquire, store, manipulate, display and analyze spatial data. GIS technology has broad applications in natural and social sciences, humanities, environmental studies, engineering and management. Examples include wildlife habitat study, urban and regional planning, contagious disease monitoring, agriculture and forestry, environmental quality assessment, emergency management, transportation planning, consumer and competitor analysis and many more.
This as an introductory course that will teach the theory and practical use of GIS. The course is a survey of the GIS field; as such it will introduce many topics and serve as a foundation for a BS in Geographic Science and Community Planning or an MS in Geospatial Technologies, as well as advanced GIS and spatial analysis courses. The course further provides an immersion into ArcGIS.
GSP 535: Python Programming for GIS [Fall semester]
GIS is a technology that offers solutions and tools to spatial problems. However, complex GIS problems may involve tedious and repetitive manual operations. To accelerate spatial data processing and analysis and increase productivity, we can use programming to automate the processes. Moreover, special problems may only be solved by custom programs if a standard tool is not available in the GIS toolbox. To develop custom tools that implement special algorithms or solutions, we must be able to access the fundamental elements of GIS data such as point coordinates of features and cell values of raster datasets. Programming is a highly demanded skill in the GIS job market.
The course provides training in programming for GIS using Python programming. It first teaches the Python programming language, then focuses on geoprocessing automation and exploring of spatial data. Students will learn the fundamentals of Python programming, scripting with geoprocessing tools and GIS functions, managing spatial data, accessing spatial and attribute data of features, working with raster datasets, etc. No exiting programming background is required.
GSP 520: Principles of Remote Sensing [Fall semester]
Introductory principles of electromagnetic radiation and analysis techniques of both visible and non-visible forms of remotely sensed data. Upon completion, students will
- understand and be able to integrate theory and empirical practice of remote sensing involving visible and non-visible forms of electromagnetic radiation using active and passive techniques.
- develop detailed and current knowledge of scientific and applied literature in a remote sensing subdiscipline of their choosing.
- demonstrate mastery at using remote sensing software (ArcGIS Pro, Google Earth Engine) for visualizing and analyzing remotely sensed data.
- complete an advanced remote sensing project that involves obtaining raw imagery, image analysis and visualization, and creation of professional-quality deliverables.
- apply multi-sensor fusion techniques in real-world remote sensing applications.
This is a topic-oriented course focusing on the examination of concepts, techniques, issues and applications of analytical cartography, interactive mapping, and scientific visualization of geographic data. The course will consist of recorded lectures/demos introducing concepts and theories of geovisualization. There will be extensive hands-on experience on interactive mapping and visualization of geographic data with ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online and other software. This course is about cartography and geovisualization, and a significant part of the course will be devoted to acquiring specific technical skills related to specific software packages. But more broadly, I intend for you to learn the art of data visualization, both in terms of how to use visualization to understand your data, and how to use visualization to create powerful and effective communication.
Creative Geovisualization: "Creative geovisualization is situated at the intersection of geography, arts, and digital humanities with a particular emphasis on visualization and mapping that preserves, represents, and generates more authentic, contextual, and nuanced meanings of space and people with an artistic and humanistic perspective and approach. This is a creative expansion in critical GIS practices and a new alternative to traditionally science-rooted approaches to GIS and mapping. Reflecting the experience of teaching a 'creative geovisualization' course in an interdisciplinary curriculum". - Jin-Kyu Jung
GSP 538: Geographic Data Analysis [Spring semester]
Technological advances in spatial data collection have made geographic data increasingly available in the past decades, which has made them ever more important in decision making. These data are being applied across a variety of fields including planning, architecture, engineering, public health, environmental science, forestry, sustainability and business. Simultaneously, the tools to analyze these data have become more accessible and user friendly. The easy access to advanced spatial analytical tools in today's geographic information systems (GIS) disguises the much more difficult process of producing a valid and defensible analytical result.
This course provides theoretical and practical skills for analyzing spatial patterns and phenomena. Students will gain a deep understanding of the underlying assumptions upon which spatial methods rely. Students will explore the functionality of GIS and statistical packages as effective tools for analyzing and modeling complex spatial relationships within social and physical environments. In addition, students will develop and hone problem solving and spatial thinking skills. Problem solving is basic to the scientific method and refers to the process used to understand and reach a conclusion about something unknown. Spatial thinking is the process of understanding and recognizing objects within space and recognizing the importance of the space surrounding those objects and the relationships that occur within the whole system. Helping students become informed spatial analysts is the goal of this course.
GSP 536: Enterprise Geodatabase and GIS Project Management [Spring semester]
Geodatabase is the native data structure and primary data format of ArcGIS. An enterprise geodatabase is a system built upon a relational enterprise database management system such as SQL Server and Oracle and ArcGIS Server. Enterprise geodatabase is the foundation of large-scale GIS as well as the central spatial data repository of all levels of government, large corporations and organizations.
This course introduces the principles, design, and development of enterprise geodatabases for municipal and environmental systems, the development of GIS applications based on enterprise geodatabases, the workflows of multiuser geodatabase environment, as well as GIS project management. Hands-on labs allow students to practice the entire process from the development of an enterprise (Microsoft SQL Server) geodatabase for local government with real-world data to urban and environmental GIS applications development. Students will also practice GIS project management through lab projects planning, data management, data processing, spatial analysis, and technical report writing.
Capstone Project [Summer to complete degree in just one year]
Why should I choose NAU? Accordion Closed
- We teach the cutting edge and practical GIS technology
- We have a long history of offering GIS courses
- We have a reputed Master in Geography program and GIS certificate program
- We have a strong team of faculty dedicated to the new MS in GIS/Remote Sensing Program
- We are affordable and cost effective