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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) comes to College of the Canyons

SANTA CLARITA- This Spring, College of the Canyons will offer yet another cutting edge course, Geography 151: Intro to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which will give students access to the latest advances in technology and geography. “GIS is a map-making process using digital data that allows for creativity and problem solving in any field imaginable," said COC Geography instructor Mary de la Torre. "From tracking the spread of disease, missing persons, sex offenders, or simply figuring out on which street corner to locate a coffee house, GIS is a visual tool that manages and analyzes geographic information for business, government, marketing and emergency response purposes, among many others." In the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, GIS experts relied on GIS technology to help find the thousands of people trapped inside their homes and to aid emergency responders in the massive effort to find missing persons. The course will not only teach students the history of automated mapping and review of the hardware and software elements used in GIS, but will also provide hands-on-experience in applying GIS technology in the natural and social sciences, business and government. Jeff Hemphill, a Geography instructor at the University of California, Santa Barbara from which he received a Geography Excellence in Teaching Award in 2002, will be teaching the course. "If you are interested in planning, business, or engineering, GIS is a skill you should start on early in the progress of getting your degree, no matter what your major is," Hemphill said. Some specific topics addressed in the course are: use of map scales, data structures, coordinate systems, data sources and accuracy, working with spatial data, map features and attributes, map overlays, manipulation of data base, creation of charts and graphs and presentation of data in map layouts. But aside from these topics and learning ESRI ArcGIS, which is the industry's leading GIS software, "students will learn to think spatially, how to use geospatial data, how to approach geographic problems, and cartography and remote sensing. Basically, I'm going to put a little bit of everything in this class," said Hemphill. The four- unit class will be taught Thursday nights from 7 to 9:50 p.m. on the College of the Canyons campus, and Saturday mornings from 8 to 11:20 a.m. at Aerospace Dynamics Industry (ADI)  the Valencia Industrial Center. Space is limited, only 22 spaves are available.

For more information regarding this new class please visit the college's website at www.canyons.edu or call (661) 362-3280