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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University September 15, 2008 | Vol. 38 No. 3
AAP Launches Online Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

By Ken Schappelle
Advanced Academic Programs

Students anywhere in the world can now earn a certificate in geographic information systems by taking courses online from Johns Hopkins.

The online certificate, offered by the university's Environmental Sciences and Policy Program and endorsed by the Maryland Higher Education Commission in July, is opening for enrollment this semester.

Geographic information systems, or GIS, allow users to collect and interpret data that are displayed as maps, reports and charts to reveal spatial relationships, patterns and trends.

"According to the Department of Labor's High-Growth Industry Initiative, geospatial technology is one of the top three fastest-growing industries," said John Boland, chair of the Environmental Sciences and Policy Program. "The job potential for people skilled in GIS is extraordinary, and the Johns Hopkins online certificate in GIS caters to this audience. All five courses are administered online, allowing professionals to earn the certificate on their time."

GIS has boomed in recent years because many industries can capitalize on this data-rich technology. Professionals in law enforcement, disaster planning, marketing, real estate, environmental management, telecommunications, public health, urban planning and more are now realizing the advantages of adding GIS skills to their repertoire.

Sarah Steinberg, senior associate dean for Advanced Academic Programs in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, said, "The university is dedicated to a bold initiative of augmenting our existing on-site degree offerings with quality distance learning in a robust, interactive and asynchronous online format. The success we've had with our Environmental Sciences and Policy Program reassured us that providing the certificate in GIS in the online platform as well was the right thing to do. And because the format is asynchronous, students can keep pace with their peers regardless of where they live."

Required courses for the certificate are Geographic Information Systems, Remote Sensing: Earth Observing Systems and Applications, Introduction to Spatial Analysis with GIS, Advanced GIS Modeling and Development, and Management of GIS Projects.

For more information about the online certificate in GIS, contact Eileen McGurty, associate program chair for the Environmental Sciences and Policy Program, and Certificate in GIS.


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