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Check out GIS program and scholarships

As economic uncertainty has led to unemployment, Lone Star College-CyFair offers not only a fast-track program in the growing field of Geographic Information System (GIS) Technology, but also scholarship funds for students.

GIS is a software used to view and analyze spatial data, including data collected using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology and hardware. LSC–CyFair's GIS Program prepares graduates for wide-ranging career possibilities as entry-level technicians to data analysts and project managers in diverse fields of GIS application.

GIS program scholarship funds are now available thanks to a generous $3,000 donation from Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of Geospatial Information Technology Association (GITA), said Buck Buchanan, lead geography, geology and GIS faculty at LSC–CyFair. Ashok Wadwani, president of Applied Field Data Systems and past president of the GITA Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, was instrumental in getting this funding. GITA is a nonprofit educational association serving the global geospatial community. Wadwani’s business offers more than50 years of experience in portable Field Data Collection Systems as well as Integrated Solutions for GIS/GPS Mapping, GIS and Data Management Services.

“The local GIS employment market has seen a tremendous growth for the past years. In our market area, not only the oil and gas industry, but other sectors such as consulting, municipalities, etc.  have been active in hiring GIS experienced candidates,” said Wadwani. “With the recent financial situation and falling oil prices, I see a slow down in hiring across all sectors including GIS; but, this is short term as GIS market is still exploding and there are several non oil and gas related industries who are continually looking for GIS personnel.”

Based on a 2007 survey, an entry level GIS person can expect a salary in the range of $12 to $14 an hour, while a degreed or certified person can expect $14 to $20 an hour, he said. The U.S. Department of Labor has identified GIS Technology as one of the high growth areas.

GIS technology has the potential to apply to every aspect of life, said Wadwani. This technology has found applications in various areas such as Municipalities, Forestry, Natural Resources, Oil and Gas, Utilities, Crime, Banking, Medical and Agriculture.

 “What makes GIS a very powerful tool is its ability to display data on a background map allowing critical decisions to be made from the office without having to go out and check the actual locations,” he said.

Buchanan cited several examples of GIS technology at work to tell the forensic story of the shuttle crash mapping locations of fallen pieces or for geographic profiling serial crimes mapping locations of crime scenes.

“The most exciting thing about the GIS profession is the fact that every day one learns about a new application for GIS,” said Wadwani. “It’s a very rapidly advancing field.”

Wadwani said that GIS technology will become part of everyone’s life in the next few years. In fact, he feels GIS should be a core subject in high school curriculums.

In the meantime, LSC-CyFair’s GIS program offers state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, including a GIS Lab equipped with industry standard software, and GPS equipment. From field data collection to management and analysis, to project completion and information delivery, LSC-CyFair’s program prepares students for many levels of business/industry, government agencies and research and development.

For information on the LSC-CyFair GIS program, go to CyFair.LoneStar.edu/GIS. For information on the program’s high employment success rate or available scholarships, contact Michael Konvicka, GIS associate professor, at Michael.R.Konvicka@lonestar.edu or 281-290-3906.

For spring registration information, go to LoneStar.edu.

About Applied Field Data Systems
AFDS offers more than 50 years of experience in portable Field Data Collection Systems as well as Integrated Solutions for GIS/GPS Mapping, GIS & Data Management Services. For information go to http://www.afds.net/

About Geospatial Information & Technology Association
GITA's mission is to provide geospatial solutions in education, information exchange, and applied research on the use and benefits of geospatial information and technology for worldwide infrastructure. For information, go to http://www.gita.org/chapters/texas_gulf/texasgulf.asp.