Foundations in Geographic Information Science for Natural Resources

Equip Yourself With Fundamental Skills in Geographic Information Science.

Geographic Information Science (GIScience) is an exciting, growing, multidisciplinary field that focuses on the study of geographic information, spatial data, as well as their applications. Combining principles from geography, computer science, mathematics, and various other disciplines, GIScience has the ambitious goal of understanding, analyzing, and modeling the spatial aspects of the world. 

In Natural Resource Management, for example, GIS technology is employed to conduct forest inventories to assess the current state of timber resources. This inventory might involve gathering information on the composition, structure, and health of forested areas, which includes data on tree species, age, height, diameter, canopy cover, and distribution. In this scenario, forestry professionals would collect spatial data using various methods, such as remote sensing techniques (e.g., satellite imagery, LiDAR), GPS, and field surveys. These data would be then be analyzed by GIS software.

Intrigued by the possibilities of GIScience? Michigan Tech offers a practical, 9-credit graduate certificate that equips students with the foundations of Geographic Information Science as they are used in Natural Resources.

What Courses Will Students Take?

This compact online certificate is flexible enough to fit around the demands of your life, your job, and your other responsibilities. All students will take the same three foundational courses.

GIS for Natural Resource Management (4 credits)

This course provides students with an introduction to a range of fundamental to intermediate modern GIS concepts and practical skills in spatial visualization and analysis. Students will delve into the details of various GIS components and gain exposure to a variety of real-world datasets, such as those related to counties, states, hydrology, land cover, roads, and elevation

Map Design With GIS (3 credits)

This course familiarizes students with the fundamentals of cartography, ranging from conventional to sophisticated visualization methods, which are instrumental in decision-making processes at various levels. Students will utilize state-of-the-art ArcPro GIS software and ArcGIS Online for map creation and information dissemination.

GPS Field Techniques (2 credits)

This course offers practical experience with diverse GPS units and their various uses. These uses encompass planning, data gathering, data processing, and data administration, with a focus on the practical applications of Global Positioning System technology. Students will employ apps such as ArcGIS Field Maps, Survey123, and Avenza for data collection, and will process and visualize the data using ArcPro GIS Online software.

Why Learn About the Foundations in Geographic Information Science at Michigan Tech?

When you earn your online certificate from MTU, you'll receive a quality education. In fact, Michigan Tech is ranked the #3 best accredited online college in Michigan (EDsmart, 2024). When you study with us, you'll also get the following:

A picture of the US coast on a computer monitor in a GIS Lab.

A Versatile, Interdisciplinary Certificate

This online program provides competencies and training that allow you to build on your experiences and expertise, whether it is in forestry, geosciences, social sciences, civil engineering, environmental engineering, and more. Get skills you can apply in your current job OR a for future career.

An Education From the Best

Get instruction from Parth Bhatt who is not only a passionate instructor, but also an innovator with a breadth of real-world, international experience in GIS, Remote Sensing, GPS, Geospatial data analysis, machine learning, Python, R, ArcPro, WebGIS, and more.

Customizable Learning Goals

Choose the learning path that aligns with your personal and professional goals. Take one course to accelerate in your current career and earn 3-credits. Or take all three courses, in any order, and earn an the full online certificate.

Who Uses Geographical Information Science?

In general, GIScience is a versatile skill set, used by global professionals in a number of workplaces, such as the following: natural resource management, government agencies, environmental and conservation organizations, urban and regional planning, real estate and property management, insurance industry, and the energy sector. 

And, as the field of GIS continues to evolve, professionals with GIScience experience will likely find additional opportunities in emerging areas and industries that leverage location-based data for decision-making and innovation.

Whether working in your community, in the US, or abroad, the Online Certificate in Geographic Information Science in Natural Resources will prepare you for several career paths.

A GIS expert on the site of a disaster, pointing upwards while talking.
Those with GIS expertise are often called upon to make decisions in Disaster Management.

Possible Career Paths

  • Conservation Scientist
  • Environmental Consultant/Planner
  • Forester
  • GIS Analyst/Technician
  • GIS Project Manager
  • Land Use Planner
  • Natural Resource Manager
  • Wildlife Biologist
  • Remote Sensing Specialist

Learn More About Dr. Parth Bhatt.

Parth Bhatt

  • Assistant Teaching Professor/Researcher
  • Program Director, MGIS Online Program

Get Started On Your Online GIS Certificate.

Take the next steps on your online educational journey at Michigan Tech. We are here to answer your questions and to help you succeed in your online program.

Dr. Parth Bhatt in a grassy field doing GIS work.
"The course kept me motivated, the instructor had permanent consistency in the topics and great clarity. . . with very clear objectives."Anonymous student who took Parth's non-credit, professional development course Python for Modern GIS and Remote Sensing