About the Distance Education Geographic Information Systems Program
The Bachelor of Science Geographic Information Systems teaches students to use and develop databases containing spatial data. American Sentinel’s GIS degree helps students learn to interpret and visualize spatial data to uncover patterns, trends and relationships.
The online GIS degree is ideal for problem-solvers who enjoy learning new technologies and applying them to business—especially those who like the idea of working with software that visualizes data, as opposed to simply reporting it in numbers and charts.
GIS: a Technical Skill that Applies to Several Rapidly Growing Fields
What is a geographic information system? It is a system that captures, manages, analyzes and displays geographically referenced information and allows users to understand and visualize data in a variety of ways.
Organizations around the world use geographic information systems, including those in the geography, archaeology, cartography, land surveying, public utility management, natural resource management and urban planning disciplines and in many other fields and industries from health care to consumer goods. Earning a bachelor’s degree online in GIS will prepare you to enter and/or move up in this rapidly growing field.
Program Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the B.S. Geographic Information Systems program will be able to:
- Design maps and interpret information from a variety of visual presentations of abstract geographic information.
- Store and manage spatial data and create solutions using GIS software.
- Demonstrate fundamental skills with SQL and mapping applications.
- Apply the concepts of GIS project management.
- Decide between open source and commercial software based on the project requirements.
- Integrate remote sensing and GPS techniques to the GIS process.
- Develop and utilize geodatabases to store and manage spatial data and create solutions using GIS software.
- Use publicly available data for geospatial analysis to solve human-based problems.
- Identify and analyze ethical issues surrounding the use of GIS data.
View general education learning outcomes of American Sentinel’s general education curriculum.
Career and Industry News
Take the next step:
Students graduating with a B.S. Geographic Information Systems degree complete 30 credit hours of general education courses, 69 credit hours of courses in the major and 21 credit hours of elective courses.
Students residing in the state of Arkansas should refer to their General Education requirements.
Students residing in the state of Minnesota should refer to the State Regulatory section of the catalog for specific information regarding their general education requirements.
Career and Industry News
Successful Students and Alumni
U.S. Army Soldier Sees Bright GIS Future
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gregg Kimbell believes geographic information systems are the future. Kimbell, 29, chose to pursue an online GIS degree because the technology can be found in everyday life and sees great career potential.
>> Read full story
Airman Aims High with Online GIS Degree
When it comes to GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology, Air Force Tech Sgt. and American Sentinel University student John Spence, 31, understands the growing need for GIS professionals. >> Read full story
GIS Student Turns Passion into a Career
U.S. Army Sgt. and American Sentinel University student Scott Fierro fell in love with Geographic Information Systems technology during the Army’s Advanced Individual Training at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. “Since then I have dedicated myself to learning as much about GIS as possible,” Fierro says. >> Read full story
GIS Alum Helps Oil Industry
How can an online GIS degree benefit the multi-trillion-dollar oil industry? Just ask American Sentinel’s Geographic Information Systems graduate Kurtis Poettker, who manages a team of five GIS developers for an oilfield map supplier. As he looks back on his road to becoming an integral part of a major company, Poettcker is thankful he went back to school. “I have definitely been able to apply lessons learned in my courses to my job,” he says. >> Read full story
Career Opportunities for Online GIS Degree Students
According to the 2010-11 Occupational Outlook Handbook (published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics), demand for qualified workers in fields utilizing geographic information systems (GIS) is on the rise, including graduates of GIS programs. Engineering and architectural firms employ surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists and surveying and mapping technicians. Government and a variety of professional service firms (architectural, engineering, scientific and technical consulting, for example) also employ urban and regional planners.
GIS has become an integral tool for professionals in these industries. Professionals use GIS to assemble, integrate, analyze and display data about locations in digital format. GIS is also used to compile information from a variety of sources, make maps for environmental studies, geology, engineering, planning and many other disciplines and purposes.
The American Sentinel GIS program will expand students' career possibilities in the areas of science, computer-aided design, enterprise systems, servers, mobile data and cartography. The applications of GIS are endless—in retail, transportation, farming and many other industries.
Job Outlook For GIS-Related Industries
The job outlook for the industry is positive, with surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists and surveying technicians holding about 147,000 jobs in 2008 (mainly in the architectural, engineering and related services industry). In addition, due to increased demand for geographic information (for online interactive mapping systems and GPS devices, for example), these jobs are expected to grow 19 percent between 2008 and 2018—faster than the average for all occupations in the country. Urban and regional planning jobs are also expected to grow 19 percent between 2008 and 2018.
Geospatial information is used in a variety of industries, including health care, mining, military intelligence and more. Geospatial information scientists and technologists use GIS technology to produce maps, data layers and other reports, and coordinate the development of GIS projects.
Graduates of American Sentinel's GIS program can also expect career opportunities working with geospatial information systems in the governmental sector. According to the Congressional Research Service, "in recent years consumer demand has skyrocketed for geospatial information and for tools like GIS to manipulate and display geospatial information. Global Positioning System (GPS) data and their integration with digital maps has led to the popular handheld or dashboard navigation devices used daily by millions. The federal government and policy makers increasingly use geospatial information and tools like GIS for producing floodplain maps, conducting the Census, mapping foreclosures, and responding to natural hazards such as wildfires and hurricanes. For policy makers, this type of analysis can greatly assist in clarifying complex problems that may involve local, state, and federal government, and affect businesses, residential areas, and federal installations."