GIS and Spatial Analysis Issues and topics

Issues and topics

The following is an example of the types of issues and topics students will study within the GIS and Spatial Analysis specialization.

Mapping patterns

  • Population change
  • Migration
  • Development
  • Ocean currents

Visual presentation

  • Organization
  • Symbolization
  • Color usage

Issue analysis

  • Air pollution
  • Planning
  • Unemployment
  • Poverty

Statistical analysis

  • Disease rates
  • Elections
  • Hazard incidence

Location optimization

  • Facilities/site selection
  • Mass transit routes
  • New construction


  • GIS software
  • Modeling

Acquired skill sets

Students can expect to acquire and perform the following skills sets within this specialization. Students also should have a solid background in mathematics and the physical sciences.

  • Critical thinking
  • Critical writing
  • Research
  • Strong organizational skills

Technical skills:

  • Quantitative data analysis
  • Graphic communication (including map reading and development)
  • Graphics and statistical software packages
  • Computer programming

Career opportunities

Geographers can find career opportunities in many fields both within and outside the field of geography. Below is a partial listing of careers that students within the GIS and Spatial Analysis specialization are well-suited and where previous graduates have found employment.

  • Planner: transportation, urban, health services, land use, etc.
  • Real estate appraiser/researcher
  • Shipper/route delivery manager
  • Drafts person
  • GIS analyst/consultant
  • Cartographer (U.S. Defense Mapping Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, etc.)
  • Software developer
  • Map archivist/librarian
  • Computer systems manager
  • Data processor
  • Market researcher/analyst
  • Location/site selection expert
  • Graphic designer