GIScience is the scientific discipline that studies data structures and computational techniques to capture, represent, process, and analyze geographic information, which provides theoretical foundation for geographical information systems (GIS), the software tools, among others. Since the coining of the term “geographic information science” (shortened as GIScience) in 1990, it has advanced rapidly in a range of areas, offering exciting study and research opportunities for students interested in discovering, processing, and analyzing geospatial data with computational, analytical, and visualization methods. The focus areas include geocomputation and GIS programming, remote sensing of the earth, spatial and spatiotemporal data analytics and modeling, digital cartography, participatory GIS, and spatial decision support. Students can earn B.S. and M.S. degrees in GIScience.
Cartography is a synthesis of science, techniques, and art for study map-making and map use. Geovisualization is the study of methods and tools for effective geospatial data visualization and data analytics. For example, scientists can visualize the spatial distribution of cancer mortality rates in different neighborhoods and explore the relationship between median household incomes and colorectal cancer mortality rates at the census block level.
We apply computational theories, methods, tools, and technologies to understand complex spatiotemporal processes and solve geographical problems.
Remote sensing involves collection and analysis of data about the earth’s surface and near surface with sensors on aircraft and satellites. Image processing and interpretation are key components of remote sensing, and valuable skills for geographers and earth/environmental scientists.