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September 2nd, 2008
Johns Hopkins University Launches Online Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

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PR — Students anywhere
in the world can now earn a certificate in geographic
information systems by taking courses online from The Johns
Hopkins University. The online certificate, offered by the university’s
Environmental Sciences and Policy Program and endorsed by
the Maryland Higher Education Commission in July, is opening
for student enrollment in the fall 2008 semester.
Geographic information systems, or GIS, allow users to
collect and interpret data that are displayed as maps,
reports, and charts to reveal spatial relationships,
patterns and trends.

       "According to the Department of Labor’s High-Growth
Industry Initiative, geospatial technology is one of the top
three fastest-growing industries," said John Boland, chair
of the Environmental Sciences and Policy Program. "The job
potential for people skilled in GIS is extraordinary, and
the Johns Hopkins online certificate in GIS caters to this
audience. All five courses are administered online, allowing
professionals to earn the certificate on their time."

       GIS has boomed in recent years because many industries can
capitalize on this data-rich technology. Professionals in
law enforcement, disaster planning, marketing, real estate,
environmental management, telecommunications, public health,
urban planning, and more are now realizing the advantages of
adding GIS skills to their repertoire.

       "The university is dedicated to a bold initiative of
augmenting our existing on-site degree offerings with
quality distance learning in a robust, interactive, and
asynchronous online format," said Sarah Steinberg, associate
dean of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. "The
success we’ve had with our Environmental Sciences and Policy
Program reassured us that providing the certificate in GIS
in the online platform as well was the right thing to
do. And because the format is asynchronous, students can
keep pace with their peers regardless of where they live."

       Required Courses for the Online Certificate in GIS
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

       In this course, students become familiar with GIS concepts
and gain the experience necessary to appreciate the utility
of GIS in decision-making. Topics covered include the
fundamentals of cartography, geo-referencing, data
structures, database design, project planning, and basic
spatial data analysis. The course provides an overview of
the capabilities of GIS software. Class time is divided
between lectures and GIS exercises that reinforce critical
concepts. Completion of a term project is part of the
course.

       Remote Sensing: Earth Observing Systems and Applications

       This course introduces remote sensing as an important
technology to further our understanding of Earth’s land,
atmospheric, and oceanic processes. Students study remote
sensing science, techniques, and satellite technologies to
become familiar with the types of information that can be
obtained and how this information can be applied in the
natural and social sciences. Applications include assessment
of land cover and land use; mapping and analysis of natural
resources; weather and climate studies; pollution detection
and monitoring; disaster monitoring; and identification of
oceanographic features.

       Introduction to Spatial Analysis with GIS

       This course introduces students to using statistical
techniques for solving spatial problems. Students will learn
to apply the principles of statistics to address the
distribution and location of a variety of problems. Examples
and assignments are drawn from many GIS applications:
business, urban planning, security, public health,
transportation and telecommunications. Topics include
spatial sampling, measures of dispersion and central
tendency in spatial analysis, and regression analysis
applied to spatial data.

       Advanced GIS Modeling (formerly Advanced GIS for
Environmental Modeling)

       This course moves beyond the fundamentals of GIS to explore
application to problems in various sectors. Students review
current research in the field, learn relevant modeling
techniques, and utilize advanced software tools for
analysis. The course involves the use and integration of a
variety of data sources including maps, GPS, and satellite
imagery. Specific GIS techniques in spatial analysis are
introduced. The course builds on former GIS software
experience. Students develop a significant GIS project over
the course of the semester and present their findings at the
end.

       Development and Management of GIS Projects

       This course teaches knowledge and skills for managing GIS
projects, including technical, legal, ethical and
institutional problems. Students will examine the
institutional role of geographic information systems and
technologies, explore key issues in organizational
management of GIS projects (planning, staffing, budgeting),
and develop skills to design and manage geospatial
databases. Ethical and legal issues in data acquisition,
sharing, and representation will also be discussed.

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