Geographic information systems training coming to UH-MC

Starting this August, University of Hawaii Maui College, Hawaii Community College and Kauai Community College will offer two accelerated, eight-week credit courses in geographic information systems leading to a certificate of competence in GIS. Instruction will be delivered through online classes and in-person labs.

GIS allows users to visualize, question, analyze, interpret and understand data to reveal relationships, patterns and trends, according to a news release. Using specialized software systems and techniques, students will apply hands-on skills to solve real world problems while learning to think geographically. The versatility of GIS technology makes the certificate applicable for higher-skill, higher-wage jobs.

“(GIS is) no longer used solely by geographers. GIS concepts are used by real estate professionals, the Visitors Bureau, local government, environmental groups and many more businesses in our community,” said Carol Kennedy, GIS administrator for Maui Electric Co. “With the wide variety of industries that now depend on GIS information and analysis, providing training locally only makes sense.”

Jill LaBram, natural resource/GIS technician for the West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership, uses GIS to help protect forested watersheds. “GIS allows us to document and map priority invasive weeds that may need treatment, take a location of a rare species that we need to find again in order to monitor its status, or show a potential route for a fence line to prevent ungulates from damaging the native forest,” said LaBram. “(It) gives conservation and natural resource managers the ability to look at data on a spatial scale to guide management direction and make effective decisions.”

The certificate is part of a fast-track curriculum, which can be completed in one semester. GIS 150 and GIS 180 will be offered consecutively Aug. 27 to Dec. 18. Students must enroll at UH-Maui College, Hawaii Community College or Kauai Community College and sign up for the courses before the Aug. 1 submission deadline. The cost for each class is $456, plus fees.

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The Geographic Information Systems program is partially funded by a $402,434 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The funding does not pay for student costs to participate.

Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request for people with disabilities.