Penn State's Certificate Program in GIS is an 11 credit program that students can complete in one year by completing one class per term. The Certificate Program curriculum is equivalent to the first year of the 35-credit Master of GIS (MGIS) degree program.
The typical first year schedule that our students follow is:
GEOG 482: The Nature of Geographic Information (2 credits)
GEOG 483: Problem Solving with GIS (3 credits)
GEOG 484: GIS Database Development (3 credits)*
GEOG elective (3 credits)
*final project opt-out option - follow link at left to GEOG 484 Mastery Project: Introduction
Before you enroll in GEOG 484 without having taken GEOG 483 you should:
- be confident that you have at your command the skills listed in the GEOG 483: Problem Solving with GIS Learning Objectives list, below.
- be confident that you could complete the GEOG 483 final project assignment. See https://www.e-education.psu.edu/geog483finalproject/ (The Geography 483 course overview is at https://gis.e-education.psu.edu/gis/geog483_overview )
- be comfortable with the ESRI ArcGIS software interface (see list below).
GEOG 483: Problem Solving with GIS Learning Objectives
- Map GIS data using a coordinate system appropriate for its end use.
- Symbolize geographic features.
- Perform spatial and attribute queries.
- Extract coordinate system information from metadata.
- Define a relational database in basic terms.
- Distinguish between feature attribute tables and external attribute tables.
- Describe table cardinality and its importance in making associations between tables.
- Perform tabular joins and relates using key fields.
- Perform mass table updates using SQL.
- Update feature geometry values (area, perimeter, length).
- Create thematic maps.
- Perform spatial analysis using buffer zones.
- Use geoprocessing operations (dissolve, merge, clip, intersect, union) to produce new datasets.
- Overlay various map layers for optimal feature display.
- Describe address geocoding and provide examples of its use.
- Locate addresses on a map using geocoding tools.
- Apply the concepts of visual hierarchy and color theory to compose a presentation-quality map.
- Label map features and use labeling variables (type size, weight, and font) effectively.
- Add map elements (scale bar, north arrow, title, insets, etc.) to create presentation-quality maps.
- Discuss map presentation media and methods.
- Describe the difference between discrete and continuous data.
- Convert between vector and raster data formats.
- Create hillshade and aspect layers from elevation data.
- Perform distance calculations.
- Reclassify continuous surface grids into discrete categories.
- Perform map algebra calculations.
- Create workflows demonstrating skills learned in the course with outlined steps, procedures and data necessary for a GIS project.
Aspects of the ESRI ArcGIS environment you should be familiar with
- The difference a GIS between dataset and a Map Document file
- Folder/file navigation within ArcCatalog and ArcMap
- Aspects of ArcMap: table of contents, data frame, adding data, accessing toolbars, the Data and Layout views, Extension activation