Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a new approach to problem solving and Temple students are getting first-hand experience operating the program. Classes taught at Temple’s Ambler campus will provide students with knowledge that promises to be beneficial in today’s high-tech job market.
“Individuals with a working knowledge of GIS are highly sought after in the job market today,” said Jeffrey Featherstone, chair of the Department of Community and Regional Planning, in press release about GIS. “There is a demand for planners with GIS training in everything from transportation, evaluating development and redevelopment, environmental analysis and habit studies.”
GIS Technology is “a dynamic and versatile technology that allows users to manipulate, create, analyze, model and predict information that has a geographic location,” he said. “It allows users to mimic real world situations to address policy issues or solving problems.”
The big misconception about GIS is that it’s just a program used to map the directional routes of where an individual is going. There is a lot more to it, according to A.S.M Abdul Bari, GIS Program Coordinator.
“GIS is never a static map,” he said in a press release. “It’s mapping that answers questions, mapping that can guide you to a solution, and it can present scenarios that answer not only what is, but what if and what could happen.”
Bari said some of the special features that GIS offers are analyzing the number of new residents and students in a particular location, structure planning for a particular area and ranking of neighborhoods in terms of size against other neighborhoods. It also contains a responsive system allowing students to put security measures, such as an ambulance, at a particular location on a map.
“GIS allows you to assess future conditions, projects impacts, and determine alternative courses of action,” Featherstone said.
“GIS applications are made using computer software and digital data files,” he said.
GIS courses play intricate roles in the core curriculum in Community and Regional Planning (CRP), a department at Temple’s Ambler campus. It is mandatory for CRP students to take “Introductory to GIS Technology.”
Those same students may go on to more advanced classes in GIS if they are available.
According to the department’s Web site, its main goals are to “help students understand how to create and evaluate places that make the best of a community’s land and resources for commercial, institutional, residential, and recreational purposes.”
The fact that the classes are only offered on Ambler’s campus should not discourage Temple students who take classes on Main, Center City or Tyler campuses from taking the course.
“Any main campus student can take this class on Ambler campus,” Bari said. “A lot of the courses are offered at night.”
As of right now, there are no immediate plans to move the Community and Regional Planning department to Main campus so a larger number of Temple students can take the course.
“I don’t think we will move it to main campus,” Bari said.
The Community and Regional Planning department will host GIS Day Nov. 19, a day dedicated to explaining to high school students the wonders and benefits of GIS technology.
Bari said there will be 60 students from a local high school who will come to Temple’s Ambler campus. The CRP department will do an overview of GIS technology.
“We will do a short exercises so students can become interested in the technology,” Bari said.
Jonathan Vann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.