The Science of Place
When you use a mobile app to find a good place to eat lunch, or consult a sportsman’s atlas for the best fishing hotspots, or make an emergency 911 call to receive help from first responders, you’re benefiting from Geographic Information Systems (GIS). These commonly used applications combine the power of global positioning systems (GPS), sensors, and mapping technology to examine our world and solve spatial problems. Yes, GIS is about maps…and much more.
Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College offers hands-on training in GIS and related geospatial technologies including global satellite positioning, remote sensing, spatial analysis, cartographic visualization, and interactive web mapping. Beyond the technology, GIS enables spatial thinking as a way to solve complex problems with a location component. The college’s cultural mission adds a unique emphasis on capturing and visualizing a sense of place using GIS.
Our technical program is advised by a team of industry professionals in the public, tribal, private, and higher education sectors. Our students finish well prepared for a range of occupations and higher degree majors that make use of this growing technology field.
Mapping Your Future
Our 60-credit Associate of Science degree in Geographic Information Systems is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in fields that use GIS and also for transfer to four-year degree programs. Courses in GIS, Cartography and Visualization, Global Positioning Systems, Remote Sensing, GIS Programming, and Web Mapping teach our students to use state-of-the-art, open source, and industry standard technology while learning how to become adaptable in a rapidly changing field. A capstone research or internship experience offers real-world job training and networking with potential employers in our region.
Our 16-credit Geographic Information Systems Certificate is a perfect fit for students who are majoring in a different program area yet want to know the basics of GIS. The GIS certificate nicely compliments a degree in Environmental Science, Law Enforcement, Art, Business, Human Services, Electric Utility Technology, Health Sciences, or American Indian Studies.
Here is a short video featuring program graduate Jesse Pruette as he explains his experience with the program’s advantages and unique opportunities.
A View from Above
Our geospatial technology courses use up-to-date equipment, including high-precision GPS receiver units, photography drones, and high-altitude sensors. A dedicated computer lab with 30 stations hosts high-end PCs running the latest GIS and graphic design software, plus a professional grade 48-inch poster printer.
The tools only produce results as good as the human operating them. With computer technology evolving at breakneck speeds, knowledge of a piece of hardware or software can quickly become obsolete. We emphasize the underlying concepts needed to solve spatial problems using a range of software and equipment. These concepts include thinking critically about how maps and geographic information shape our understanding of the world around us. Our students learn how to wield the power of GIS wisely.
Positioned to Make a Difference
Students in our GIS programs apply their skills to real problems. Faculty and students work closely with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa on GIS projects that benefit the Band’s operations and promote cultural exchange. Students have opportunities for internships with NASA research centers and local employers. Articulation agreements and transfer guides with four-year colleges in the region are added benefits and make credit transfer an easy process.
Job prospects are excellent. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 19.4% growth rate from 2016 to 2026 for cartographers and photogrammetrists, and a 10.6% growth rate for surveying and mapping technicians.
Many additional fields hire GIS technicians, including:
- Forestry and Natural Resources
- Environmental Science
- Agriculture and Soil Science
- Land Management
- Outdoor Recreation
- Urban and Regional Planning
- Software Development
- Web Development
- Disaster and Risk Management
- Military and Intelligence
Well-qualified faculty and the multi-cultural environment at the college offer opportunities that no other college can provide. A degree or certificate from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College is greatly valued and respected by prospective employers.
For people who already have some college experience, it may be possible to complete the program in less time. Classes are offered during the day and evening hours, providing the opportunity to create a flexible schedule. Small class sizes, on-campus child care, and student organizations are added bonuses at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.