ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS (November 24, 2020) — A geographic information system (GIS) is a framework that provides the ability to capture and analyze spatial and geographic data. Geospatial technology is used in everything from GPS navigation, to wildlife and forestry management, to tracking the COVID-19 pandemic.

It can reveal the best place to put a new business or a new bike trail, or to build a better health-care network. Equally impressive, GIS can be applied on a local, regional, or even global scale.

GIS technology is used to find relationships and trends in data. GIS allows data to be presented visually as maps, reports, and charts. The technology can be applied to virtually anything that has a location, whether a person, object, or event. Even public opinion varies by location, creating a map. And whatever can be mapped can be overlaid with additional maps to give it additional meaning.

Next year, Augustana will offer a new experiential minor in Geographic Information Science and Technology. As Augustana College follows the growth curve of new technologies, geospatial science is a perfect pairing to nearly any major lending itself to an uncertain job market.

"There's been a steady rise since the 1980s, which has now turned into exponential growth in jobs and the demand for this technology," said Dr Reuben Heine, geography professor. "When you look at the location services of smartphones, you can see the digital maps that have become part of our everyday lives, and behind all of these services are geospatial technologies such as GPS, remote-sensing, and, more recently, drone-mapping."

This kind of technology, within the liberal-arts focus at Augustana, also presents many opportunities for vocation. "This is deeply meaningful to different communities, at all different levels," Dr Heine said. "At its core, GIS provides a framework for analyzing spatial data and applying critical thinking skills.”

Known for sparking passionate curiosity, Augustana College is an empowering home to explore over 90 areas of study. Augustana’s innovative program, Augie Choice, transforms students into global citizens, thinkers, and doers with a $2,000 grant to explore the world, complete an internship, or conduct research with a professor. Augustana students achieve a balance inside and outside of the classroom; ranking top ten in all divisions for Academic All Americans. Transformed to be different, current students and alumni include health-care heroes, Nobel Prize-winners, CEOs, college presidents, and leaders across all continents. The college enrolls 2,500 curious changemakers who get energized by four years as part of a community that reflects the diversity of the United States.

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