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University of Alaska Fairbanks

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Essentials

University of Alaska Fairbanks via edX Professional Certificate


Learn foundations of GIS concepts and technology to view, understand, query, visualize, and interpret spatial data to reveal patterns and relationships for problem-solving and better decision making.

“GIS is about uncovering meaning and insights from within data.” Jack Dangermond, CEO of Esri, the creators of ArcGIS.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was once an esoteric technology limited to geographers and data scientists. It is now available to everyone. Thousands of organizations in virtually every field are using GIS to analyze data, make maps that reveal patterns and relationships, share insights, and solve complex problems of local to global significance.

There is a growing need for a workforce skilled in GIS. This professional GIS certificate program will provide a comprehensive introduction to state-of-the-art methods and modern applications of GIS with the goal to prepare students for entry-level GIS jobs and undergraduate programs in geospatial sciences. Using the industry leading ArcGIS Pro GIS software, students will work with GIS datasets to support better decision making across many applications through data analysis of geographic data.

GIS is a growing technology field with widespread applications in government agencies and private industries. The global GIS market size stood at $7.5 billion in 2019, and it is expected to reach $25.6 billion by 2030 (Source).

The rising investments in GIS-based infrastructure and solutions by the government sector, for military and aerospace applications, and by the private sector for real-time decision-making in industries such as construction, utilities, mining, and healthcare are the key factors driving the growth in the GIS applications.

"The skills I have acquired from this program give me a boost in performing my tasks as a GIS Analyst. The courses are well structured. The Professional Certificate I have obtained became the reason for me to be invited as resource speaker in a local professional assembly and GIS workshops."

Arnold T. Tanondong, M.Sc.
J.H. Cerilles State College, Philippines

"The ability to represent any kind of data on a map is very powerful. The material and the exercises in this program are about real world situations. This allows learners to create meaningful presentations of data to inform decisions that can allow a community, an organization, or even a country, to move forward."

Yiorgos Theodoropoulos, GIS Essentials Learner


Courses under this program:
Course 1: GIS Foundations

Learn foundations of GIS concepts and geospatial technology to view, understand, query, visualize, and interpret geospatial data to reveal patterns and relationships for effective problem-solving and better decision making.

Course 2: 3D GIS

Take your maps into the third dimension: Learn GIS concepts and tools to visualize, analyze, and interpret spatial data in 3D. Reveal patterns that can lead to better decision making.

Course 3: GIS Image Analysis in ArcGIS Pro

Learn fundamentals of remote sensing, image analysis, image processing and its application to real-world problems such as changing water bodies, vegetation health, and wildfire severity.


Taught by

Santosh Panda, Anushree Badola and Chris Smith


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