JSU Newswire
Jacksonville, Alabama

MPA Program Adds GIS Concentration

JACKSONVILLE -- October 8, 2001 -- Jacksonville State University has introduced a new concentration to its Master of Public Administration degree program.

This concentration teaches students to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to solve an array of spatial problems addressed by business, industry and government, such as finding the most efficient place to put a fire station or a police headquarters in a given community.

This concentration is mainly for career professionals who want to expand their knowledge in spatial analysis. The demand for individuals who are equipped with the experience of GIS is great and expected to become larger over the next several decades.

This is because of the ongoing competition for space and maximizing the use of this space to encourage economic development. Alabama has opted to jump on board this runaway technology train by mandating that each of its 67 counties begin using GIS, which is why having a degree with this concentration will be so useful in the future.

GIS is a software and hardware program that allows one to store, display, analyze, and map information. These systems are used by a variety of different career personnel such as land developers, real estate agents, utility companies, and municipal officials.

One can also use GIS to research topics like traffic movement, environmental hazards, and soil types. Another technique associated with GIS is remote sensing. With this technique a person can interpret aerial photographs and analyze satellite images.

The Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency employ many individuals that deal with remote sensing and its components. Spatial analysis and management is the only program of its kind available at the graduate level in Alabama.

The course requirements include 36 hours with 15 required semester hours in public administration courses and 15 hours in spatial analysis and 6 hours of electives to be decided through faculty advisement.

The courses for spatial analysis are as follows: Introduction to Spatial Analysis (SAM 510), Spatial Data Collection and Management (SAM520), Analyzing Spatial Networks (SAM 530), Site Location Analysis (SAM 540), and Organization and Management of Spatial Systems (SAM 550). For more information about spatial analysis, contact Dr. Howard Johnson at Martin Hall, Room 206, 782-5813.


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