University Distance Learning GIS Programs


Each one of the World Campus GIS courses lasts 10 weeks and are offered 4 times a year, and each class involves 8-12 hours. Every course is roughly 100 hours student activity, comparable to a regular three credit university course in terms of amount of effort involved.

In the current certificate program, students earn a certificate by completing four courses over a period of a year. They can choose from among six-three of those they have to take and they have choices about the fourth one. This program generally takes students 1 year to complete.

The new masters program, once unveiled in the fall, will require students to earn 35 credits and most of the courses will be 3 credits. The masters will take three years for most students, as most students will be working full time jobs simultaneously and will only be able to take one course at a time.

In summation, DiBiase stated, “If any student came to me and asked advice about where to go to get a master's degree, if they were able to go get a masters degree face-to-face on campus, I would tell them to do so, but many many adult learners, it's not possible for them to adjust their schedules so go on campus to take classes on regular schedule. They have to fit in their education in addition to their family and work. That's what we're for.”

In contrast, Jennifer Campbell, Program Coordinator of University of California, Riverside, Extension (UCR) said that their GIS program has a few online classes but most of the program is very hands-on so people must come there to learn.

UCR offers some of the ESRI GIS technology classes that students enroll in through UCR. Students earn units from these classes and can then apply those units to a GIS Certificate. However, they cannot earn an entire certificate online. “There's such a hands-on component to our program, we feel its very difficult to match the level of learning that they get in the classroom in any kind of online system.”

“What we do have is our GIS Summer School which is our intensive learning program where people can earn the certificate in two months, it's very intensive. It's 24 units. But they have to come here, there's no online portion,” stressed Campbell. People come from all over the country to attend, “the dynamics of the classroom are fantastic.”

Associate Professor Graciela Metternicht, Coordinator of Postgraduate Studies (coursework) in the Department of Spatial Sciences, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, described their program as fully online. It uses interactive and virtual online resources to support learning with real-world applications and also uses state-of-the-art GIS and applications.

“The program has a strong IT focus on customisation and programming, spatial database design and software engineering and project management. It also has a strong analytical focus on spatial data analysis, spatial statistics and spatial modelling,” said Metternicht.

“The distance program is open to anyone who wants to advance their GIScience knowledge and skills, by enrolling in the Department's Extension Studies program and enrolling in individual GIScience distance units.

The GIScience distance units can also be studied by those enrolled in the Department's Bachelor of Science (Geographic Information Science), the Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science (comprising four units) and the Graduate Diploma in Geographic Information Science (eight units). These last two courses are graduate courses and can be fully completed by the distance studies program. For this reason the Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma are attracting increasing interest amongst international students seeking a high quality, flexible and internationally recognised GIScience education without leaving home. The Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate programs are, in fact, among the first two GIScience courses to be fully online and available by distance studies worldwide.”

The GIScience distance studies program offers the following units:

Digital Remote Sensing 282/582

Geographic Information Systems 181/212/281/581

Geographic Data Analysis 182/582

GIS Management 381/581

Spatial Analysis 281/581

Spatial Computations 181/581

Spatial Computations 182/582

Spatial Database Systems 382/582

Spatial Data Handling 382/582

Spatial Modelling 382/582

Thematic Cartography 281/581



Alliances/Acquisitions/Awards

Geographic Data Technology, Inc., a developer of map databases, and TeleType Co. have teamed to turn GPS/Java enabled phones into tracking devices that can locate family members, high profile executives, fleet vehicles, and security and service personnel. Based on TeleType's GIS tracking and navigation software and GDT's digital maps, this new mobile tracking solution can also serve as a mobile navigator combining street, air and marine information.

AND (AEX: AND) and Siemens VDO Trading GmbH have entered into an agreement for the integration of the AND Global Road Data for Eastern Europe, Africa and South America. The data will become part of the VDO Dayton in-car navigation systems through retrofitting.

Tele Atlas, and ROUTE 66, announced that Tele Atlas' turn-by-turn digital maps are powering ROUTE 66's new route planners for the North American market. ROUTE 66's newly expanded line of route planning software includes ROUTE 66 Route USA 2004 and ROUTE 66 Route Canada 2004, and leverages Tele Atlas' digital map data and location content.

Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS), announced that it has acquired ImageLinks, Inc., a Melbourne-based company specializing in geospatial data sets for the visualization and simulation markets, as well as high-value image processing and archival systems based on open source software solutions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. ImageLinks has annual sales of approximately $6 million.



Announcements The 2004 ACSM-TAPS Annual Conference and Technology Exhibition will be held April 16-21. For more information visit http://www.acsm.net/conference.html , and contact Colleen Campbell at (301) 984-9450, Ext. 16.

BlueSky, the newly-formed aerial photography company, previously Getmapping's sales and production division, has announced that it is now an accredited contractor for the supply of data to Ordnance Survey for its OS MasterMap Imagery Layer. This means that the data BlueSky produces has to be fully compliant with the Acceptable Quality Levels outlined in Ordnance Survey's New Imagery Specifications. New flying will commence in Scotland during the spring of 2004.

CSI Wireless Inc. released financial results for the 2003 fourth quarter and year-end, reporting 31% year-over-year growth in revenues for 2003, and significant bottom-line improvement. For the year ended December 31, 2003, the Company achieved record revenues of $71 million, representing an increase of 31% from $54.1 million in 2002. The increase was driven primarily by sales of the Company's Motorola-branded fixed wireless telephone.

Intergraph Mapping and Geospatial Solutions (NASDAQ: INGR) announced the rollout of its enterprisewide G/Electric solution at Integral Energy. One of the largest energy corporations in NSW Australia, Integral Energy serves approximately two million customers throughout a 24,500 square kilometer area encompassing Western Sydney, Illawarra and the Southern Highlands. With an estimated value of approximately $1.5 billion (U.S.), Integral Energy's network is its key income-generating asset. The network must make a positive contribution to the entire business while meeting the needs of customers for a safe and reliable electricity supply.

RADARSAT International is providing two LANDSAT 7 mosaics to support the aim of team AI Motorvators: to win the DARPA Grand Challenge's US$1 million cash prize.

Developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge will pit a field of autonomous ground vehicles against each other in an off-road race between Barstow, California and Primm, Nevada on March 13, 2004. Each vehicle is uniquely built and must traverse the race route without any human intervention or control.



New Products

PCI Geomatics announced the new PIX Raster Plug-in for ArcGIS is now available for customers seeking to read PCI Geomatics' PIX raster files into ESRI's ArcGIS software. The PIX Plug-in for ArcGIS may be downloaded at no cost from the PCI Geomatics website, and installs easily on any Windows platform in just a few moments.

Definiens Imaging GmbH announced the release of eCognition Professional 4.0, the latest version of its unique software for object-oriented image classification.


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