- Our People
- How We Work
- Work With Us
- Give to SFU Geography
- Contact Us
- Prospective Students
- Prospective Undergraduates
- Prospective Graduates
- Current Students
- Current Undergraduates
- Student Resources
- Professional Accreditation
- Get Involved
- Co-op Education
- Career Pathways
- Experiential Learning
- Current Graduates
- Current Undergraduates
- News & Events
- News & Kudos Archives
- 2023 Archives
Why Study GIS?
Interested in learning how spatial data can be used to support emergency planning, help design transportation systems, or track the progress of diseases?
Geographic Information Science (GIS) is a collection of scientific techniques and methodologies used to manage, analyze, interpret and communicate spatial data. GIS professionals use geographical, statistical and computational techniques to:
- extract spatial information from a variety of datasets (including field, clinical, satellite or remotely-sensed data)
- analyze complex spatial data to make it more easily understandable
- create interactive maps and models that are accessible to a wide audience
- identify problems and propose new solutions
- contribute to public policy and decision-making
Some examples of GIS in action can be found here, here and here.
Combining foundational courses in human and physical geography with specialized electives in geovisualization, remote sensing, spatial analysis and modeling, the GIS minor provides the conceptual and technical skills needed to work in GIS-related positions. GIS is used across a wide range of fields, making it a valuable and broadly applicable skill set. Some of the fields in which GIS are commonly used include urban and land-use planning, real estate and housing, marketing, healthcare, transportation planning, resource management, forestry, ecology, environmental conservation, geotechnical work, mining, assessment of future climate impacts, coastal management, public safety and risk assessment.
As a student in the GIS minor you will gain experience in:
- spatial data acquisition
- remote sensing
- spatial data analysis
- geostatistical techniques
- space-time modeling
- spatial simulation
- data visualization
- multimedia cartography
- spatial data privacy
- geovisual analytics
- CAD-GIS integration
- spatial interface technologies
- spatial computing in VR, MR and XR
Want to learn more about the work GIS professionals do?
Check out the co-op profiles for students Nathan Zemp, Akansha Vaish and Isaac Cave.
The GIS minor requires 25 units in specific GEOG courses and can be completed in combination with a major in any area (registration for Geography majors is restricted to those in the BA degree).
Interested in joining the program?
Contact a Geography Advisor for more information.