Geographic Information Systems Center
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The GIS Center conducts and disseminates Geographic Information Systems education and research to foster a highly-skilled, multi-disciplinary GIS workforce and to confront spatial challenges important to Wisconsin’s citizens. Whether you’re new to GIS or are a seasoned GIS professional, the GIS Center’s learning pathways and research programs will augment your personal or organization’s capacity to use GIS tools efficiently and effectively.
What is GIS?
Our personal and professional lives are permeated with spatial information or information about places. Geographic Information Systems or GIS uses computer hardware and software to collect, maintain, analyze, visualize, and communicate spatial information. GIS helps its users better understand and interact with the world around them.
Information about places, or geographic information, permeates our lives every day. The six o-clock news uses maps to exhibit today’s headlines. Our children take a safe route to school. We plan out our next vacation. A medical doctor identifies the source of West Nile Virus. A 911 operator dispatches an ambulance and fire trucks to a fire. Name any activity, object or event, no matter how simple or complex, and you will find that they are connected to a geographic location. A commonly accepted estimate is that 80 percent of all information has a spatial or place-based component.
Why Study GIS?
Money Magazine lists GIS Analyst among its Top 100 Jobs in the United States. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that employment numbers in GIS are growing and that growth is anticipated to accelerate. Geotechnology is recognized as one of the three most progressive professions today, alongside nanotechnology and biotechnology.