GIS classes this spring

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If you’ve ever been obsessed by the GPS on your phone, dabbled with geocaching, or if you’re wanting skills that make your resume float to the top of the applicant pile, the Intro to GIS course being offered at Centralia College East in Morton may be a perfect fit.

GIS, or Geographic Information Systems, is used in nearly every profession. GIS is a process designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial (geographical) data.

“The course is designed for all majors because everyone, whether they know it or not, uses GIS in one way or another,” explained Gregory Lund, GIS instructor. “Everything is spatial, even things that don’t seem inherently spatial.”

This spring, Centralia College East is offering a 5-credit Introduction to GIS class, combining online lectures with an in-person lab session every Friday, allowing you to get real world experience using the technology and incorporating it with your interests.

For those not working toward a degree, a more affordable (reduced tuition) small business management option has been set up. Students who take this option will not earn college credit.

GIS is being used internationally across a wide variety of fields. For example, public health researchers use GIS to predict disease outbreak patterns. Hydrologists use GIS to track water quality data and manage complex and scarce water resources. Military units use GIS to analyze intelligence information and manage the movements of troops and resources. Retailers use GIS to better understand their customers and develop targeted marketing strategies.

“Everyone should enroll in GIS to distinguish themselves from other applicants when they apply for jobs,” added Lund. “A basic understanding of GIS can be used throughout their educational program and in other classes, whether it’s in preparing papers, doing research, or completing projects. There are no limits to how GIS can be used.”

In addition to its widespread applicability, Lund said GIS courses are fun and engaging. The labs are hands-on, giving you the ability to explore the technology and find ways it suits your life or career. And, because Centralia College East GIS classes are small, you’ll be able to work on the projects you find most interesting and receive personal attention.

The only prerequisite is basic computer skills.

For more information, call Centralia College East at 360-496-5022. Spring classes start the week of April 4 and continue through June 13.

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