Geospatial Technology

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Admissions | Program Requirements | Graduate Courses

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Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Technology

Geospatial Technology (GT) is an expanding and evolving field that requires a background in the concepts and skills of geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS) and remote sensing (RS). There is a growing demand for programs to provide training in GT in many fields, including geology, geography, biology, environmental science, agriculture, urban planning, business, engineering, and criminal justice (forensic science). Certificate programs accomplish the goals of providing training and certification for technicians and working professionals to meet the needs of the workforce and professional development in the geospatial disciplines.

This certificate focuses on the fundamental concepts, applications, and technology of GIS, GPS, and RS. GT is one of the fastest growing information science disciplines. Although geographical by nature, the growth of GIS can be partially attributed to its application by a wide variety of businesses and governmental agencies. As such, the use of GIS is becoming more ubiquitous in careers falling outside the traditional definition of geoscience. Employment skills in fields such as criminology, marketing, engineering, and agriculture as well as more traditional geospatial fields such as land use planning, site location, geology, and environmental monitoring rely heavily on GIS in day-to-day work. The certificate program offered by the Department of Earth Science is designed to provide the GIS skills necessary for both geologists and professionals working outside the traditional bounds of a geology degree. By completing the GIS certificate program, students will be prepared to enter a highly technical and growing career field.

Upon completion of the certificate requirements, students will be able to:

  • Perform database entry, manipulation, and query;
  • Perform basic to advanced geospatial analysis functions such as overlay, buffer, proximity analysis, and network analysis;
  • Produce hardcopy spatial graphics on a variety of output devices;
  • Input spatial data via tablet and on-screen digitizing and scanning;
  • Collect primary data via GPS;
  • Demonstrate competence in working with standard geospatial data (i.e., geo databases, digital elevation models, digital line graphs, orthophotography, and satellite imagery);
  • Formulate and complete a comprehensive, directed project related to a geospatial problem.

Admission Requirements

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.75

Program Requirements

Program requirements for the Geospatial Technology Certificate program are 18 hours, including the following courses:

Core Courses (4 hours):

    ERSC 5421 Introduction to GIS

Elective Courses (8 hours):
    Students must take 8 hours at the 5000-level or above. Courses must be related to geospatial technology or directly support geospatial projects. The director of the program must approve elective courses for credit toward the GT certificate. Examples of elective courses include:

    ERSC 5422 Applied GIS
    ERSC 5426 Introduction to Remote Sensing
    ERSC 5321 Geomorphology
    ERSC 5322 Environmental Geology
    ERSC 5371 Engineering Geology
    URST/POLS 5355 Urban Planning and Land Use
    ENHS 5430 Environmental Epidemiology

Capstone Courses (2 hours)

    IGSC 7195/7295/7395* Internship in Integrated Science and Mathematics
    IGSC 7391* Cooperative Education in Integrated Science and Mathematics
    IGSC 7192/7292/7392* Independent Study
    * Capstone course credits above 2 hours count toward elective credit hours


Courses in Earth Science

ERSC 5100, 5200, 5300 Independent Problems
Prerequisite: consent of the instructor. This course offers the student an independent laboratory or field study of a problem in the earth sciences in consultation with an instructor. Credit varies per problem topic.

ERSC 5199, 5299, 5399, 5499 Special Topics
Prerequisite: consent of the instructor. This course offers study in advanced and specialized topics in the geological sciences especially those of current interest. Refer to the semester’s schedule for the special topics offered. Credit will vary depending upon the course topic.

ERSC 5322 Environmental Geology
Prerequisite: consent of instructor. Humanity as a geologic agent; geologic hazards in the environment; geology, land-use studies; urban geology; case histories; requires two term projects and a case history presentation. Three hours lecture per week.

ERSC 5323 Geology of Arkansas
Regional geomorphology, structure, stratigraphy, paleontology of Arkansas; includes field trips to Ozark Dome, Ouachita Fold Belt, Arkansas Valley, Mississippi Embayment, Gulf Coastal Plain; requires field trip reports, term project. Three lectures per week, weekend field trips.

ERSC 5371 Engineering Geology
The study of the interaction of rock, soil, and geologic processes with the engineering activities of man by applying geological data, techniques and principles. The integration of geological, geotechnical and geophysical investigative methods will be emphasized. Lecture topics will include soil and rock mechanics and rock deformation, the assessment of the spatial-temporal variability of sub surface material, slop stability analysis and slope failure mitigation, earthquake engineering, hydrologic systems management, and the application of GIS and geology. Two hours lecture, two hours laboratory per week. Three credit hours.

ERSC 5373 Hydrogeology
Prerequisites: MATH 1302 or 1311; ERSC 3310; Co-requisite CHEM 1402 Ground water occurrence, flow, porosity, permeability, aquifer analysis, geology of ground water, water well logging, well development, case histories, field methods, hydrogeologic planning. Three hours lecture per week. Offered in spring on even years.

ERSC 5391 Cooperative Education in Earth Science
Prerequisites: Graduate standing and consent and approval of assignment by advisor. Supervised professional experience related to students discipline with governmental agencies, industry and consulting firms. This course requires a minimum of 200 semester work hours. Three credit hours.

ERSC 5419 Geomorphology
Prerequisites: ERSC 1302/1102, 3320, or consent of instructor. The study of form and process at the Earth’s surface. The interactions between erosional and depositional processes at the Earth’s surface with tectonic processes operating within the Earth are examined with respect to landform evolution. Laboratory includes the analysis of maps, digital imagery, and field applications of GPS/GIS technology. Two hours lecture, four hours laboratory or field study per week. Four credit hours.

ERSC 5421 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Prerequisites: consent of instructor. This course introduces Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the use of spatial data for problem-solving in science. The lecture portion of the course focuses on the data models used to represent spatial features and on the processes involved in creating, acquiring, analyzing, and displaying georeferenced information. The laboratory portion of this course employs a project-based methodology including applications from geology, biology, environmental science, and political science to foster basic GIS software proficiency. Two lecture hours per week, four laboratory hours. Four credit hours.

ERSC 5422 Applied GIS (Geographic Information Systems)
Prerequisites: BIOL/ERSC 4421/5421 or consent of instructor. This course builds on the fundamental concepts of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Introduction to GIS. It focuses on advanced applications in GIS with an emphasis on problem-solving, advanced analysis techniques, and satabase management. Two lecture hours per week, four laboratory hours. Four credit hours.

ERSC 5426 Introduction to Remote Sensing
Prerequisite: ERSC 4421/5421 or BIOL 4421/5421 or consent of instructor. This course introduces the fundamentals of manipulating and interpreting the electromagnetic spectrum. The lecture portion of this class covers concepts of remote sensing, including how data is collected, processed, analyzed, and interpreted. The lab portion of the class is focuses on building proficiency in several image processing software programs and the use of spatial data for problem solving in science. Two lecture hours per week, four laboratory hours. Four credit hours.

ERSC 7399 Selected Topics
Prerequisites: four undergraduate geology hours, professional experience in some area of earth science, consent of instructor. Topics include modern geology, meteorology, oceanography; assists professionals to remain current in these rapidly expanding fields; laboratory emphasis on creative problem solving, field trips. Two hours lecture, three hours laboratory per week. Offered in summer.