American Sentinel University Details Importance of Geospatial Competency at Upcoming Esri Education GIS Conference

– Concept of Geospatial Literacy is Key for All Students to Use and Apply These Tools in the Real World –

AURORA, Colo. – July 16, 2012 – The geospatial revolution continues to make a growing impact on society as industries across the world have embraced geographic information systems (GIS) technology. This powerful tool is used for developing data-driven solutions that help organizations overcome business challenges – and the need for GIS-skilled professionals have never been greater.

That’s why American Sentinel, one of the few higher education institutions to offer an accredited, online Bachelor of Science Geographic Information Systems degree, will be discussing the importance of formulating the direction of GIS Education for the next 20 years in two presentations at the upcoming 2012 Esri Education GIS Conference held July 21 to 24 in San Diego, California at the Marriott Marquis and Marina.

American Sentinel presentations include ‘Geospatial Competencies Across the Curriculum,’ which discusses the importance of geospatial literacy in the general education curriculum and ‘Building a New Online Geospatial Program: Trials and Triumphs,’ which profiles the path for mapping a future master of geospatial information systems (MGIS) degree.

“As geospatial technologies have entered the mainstream of society, it has created a need for specialists who can harness the power of GIS technology to collect, archive, manage, analyze, present and output geographic and other ancillary data from a variety of resources,” says Dr. Stephen McElroy, GIS program chair at American Sentinel University.

He points out that geospatial literacy assumes that a student has mastered a certain level of geographic literacy and map reading that is not always in evidence.

“One of the goals at American Sentinel University is to introduce the concept of geospatial literacy to all students so that they have the necessary experience to use and apply these tools in the real world,” adds Dr. McElroy.

Dr. McElroy notes that GIS offers great potential for a wide range of business, health care and social science applications and that both the private and public sectors have heavily invested in GIS.

“It’s important that geospatial literacy be added to the list of critical cross-discipline themes for student in broad categories, not only in science disciplines, but also in history, classics, sociology and a growing list of other fields,” he adds.

Must-have Skills for Today’s GIS Student

Geospatial literacy has become essential in every profession requiring GIS skills. But first before preparing for a career in GIS technology, technicians need to perfect other must-have skills to help ensure their success.

Dr. Joseph Kerski, education manager for Esri recently partnered with American Sentinel University in a webinar discussing the top five skills need to be successful in a GIS career and they included:

  • intellectual curiosity
  • critical thinking
  • adeptness at geographic fundamentals
  • adaptability to changing technology
  • ability to be an effective communicator

“In many respects this skill set matches well with the foundation of a solid liberal arts education. At American Sentinel, our online GIS degrees provide students with the technical skills and broad categories of electives they need that can be applied immediately on the job to improve their career trajectory,” says Dr. McElroy.

American Sentinel University at 2012 Esri Education GIS Conference

American Sentinel University’s GIS faculty team will be exhibiting at the Education GIS Solutions Expo and Reception on Saturday, July 21 from 4:30pm to 6:30pm at booth E114 in the Marina Ballroom F & G, South Tower, Level 3.

American Sentinel will also be exhibiting at the Academic GIS Program Fair on Monday, July 23 from 3:30pm-8:30pm at Table A109 in the San Diego Convention Center, 6A Foyer.

Stop by and meet the team to learn more about American Sentinel’s GIS degree programs.

About American Sentinel University

American Sentinel University delivers the competitive advantages of accredited associate, bachelor’s and master’s online degree programs focused on the needs of high-growth sectors, including information technology, computer science, GIS, computer information systems and business intelligence degrees. The university is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), which is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.