Skip to Content

Geographic Information Science

Geographic Information Science within Geography provides students with both the conceptual knowledge base and the technical skills to develop and conduct geospatial analysis and data visualization. This core area emphasizes a broad based approach to GI Science and includes courses, research and training in cartography, geographic information systems, cognitive and information science, and remote sensing. Two labs housed in the Geography Department engage in research projects in GIScience; the Spatial and map Cognition Research Lab and the InfoGraphics Lab.

The Spatial and Map Cognition Research (SMRC) Lab is located at 160 Condon Hall. Several faculty and student research projects are conducted in the Lab. In general, the focus of these projects is on human cognition, memory, and perception with application in GIS and cartography. Descriptions of the projects and participating faculty and students are included at

The InfoGraphics Lab is located in 163 Condon Hall. The InfoGraphics Lab staff work on a variety of supported projects with faculty, campus offices, and government agencies. Integration of GIS and graphic design tools with cartographic design is a focus of the Lab’s work. Projects range from the creation of major regional atlases to the development of I-Phone mapping applications. More on the Lab’s projects and staff can be found at


Note: Occasionally GEOG 410 is also offered as a course that would count towards the Geographic Information Science Track. Check the Course Offerings (the “pink sheet”) or email the Undergraduate Advisor to clarify. 

481/581 GIScience I (4) An introduction to geographic information science, geographic information systems (GIS), the current population survey (CPS), remote sensing, and cartography. Sequence with GEOG 482/582, 491/591. Prereq: GEOG 181. Bone, Kohler, Lobben.

482/582 GIScience II (4) Spatial data collection, spatial data models, database design, data editing, geographic information system (GIS) project management, and advanced topics in geographic information science. Sequence with GEOG 481/581, 491/591, 493/593. Prereq: GEOG 481/581. Bone, Kohler, Lobben.

485/585 Remote Sensing I (4) Introduction to remote sensing science including its physical basis, instruments, platforms, data, processing methods, and applications. Sequence with GEOG 486/586. Prereq: GEOG 481/581. Fonstad, Kohler.

486/586 Remote Sensing II (4) The use of digital electromagnetic data for classification, mapping, and monitoring biologic, hydrologic, atmospheric, geologic, and human processes and environmental change. Sequence with GEOG 485/585. Prereq: GEOG 485/585. Fonstad, Kohler.

490/590 GIScience: [Topic] (4R) Advanced topics on geographic information systems science including spatial analysis and modeling, data visualization, cartography, volunteered geographic information, GIS programming. Prereq: GEOG 481/581.

491/591 Advanced Geographic Information Systems (4) Socioeconomic analysis with geographic information systems (GIS) and the U.S. census, network modeling, 3-D models of natural and urban landscapes, web-based GIS and programming. Sequence with GEOG 481/581, 482/582. Prereq: GEOG 482/582. Bone, Kohler, Lobben.

493/593 Advanced Cartography (4) Map design and production methods; use of color, cartographic visualization, graphing, data graphics theory, and integration of geographic information systems (GIS) and graphics tools. Sequence with GEOG 481/581, 482/582. Prereq: GEOG 482/582. Meacham.

495/595 Geographic Data Analysis (4) Analysis and display of geographical data by traditional data-analytical methods and by scientific-visualization approaches. Prereq: GEOG 481/581. Bartlein.

497/597 Qualitative Methods in Geography (4) Explores conceptual and practical dimensions of qualitative research. Includes linking theory and method; research question formulation; project design; ethics; data gathering, analysis, and presentation. Prereq: GEOG 341, 342, or 343. Hardwick.