Course code:



IM - Introductory/Intermediate

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:


Ever-rising numbers of people and their impact on the Earth’s finite resources could lead to disaster: not only for wildlife and ecosystems but also for human populations.

As researchers gather and publish more data, GIS becomes vital to graphically revealing the inter-relationships between human actions and environmental degradation. Much of what threatens the earth and its inhabitants is placed-based. Solutions require tools to help visualize these places and prescribe solutions. This is what GIS is about.

Built on digital mapping, geography, databases, spatial analysis, and cartography, GIS works as a system to enable people to better work together using the best information possible. For these reasons, some level of competency is often expected for entry into many graduate programs and jobs, particularly in natural resources, planning and policy, and human studies.

The flow of this course has two tracts, technical and applied. The course begins with training in the basics of the technology. Then, skills are applied to projects that address real-world issues. Project work composes the majority of course work and each student has the opportunity to develop their own project. Because GIS provides tools to help address many kinds of issues, GIS lends itself well to the theory of thinking globally and acting locally.

Projects often utilize the extensive data library for the Acadia region developed by students since the lab was founded in 1988. The GIS Lab acts as a service provider to outside organizations and students can tap into the resources of a broad network of groups and individuals working towards a more sustainable future. Course evaluations are partially based on the on-time completion of exercises and problem sets. Most of the evaluation is based on critique of student independent final project work and related documentation.

Visit the GIS Lab


Basic computer literacy.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.