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