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Sand Table

Geographic Information Science and Technology Program

What is Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST)?

GIST uses the power of location to answer questions and solve problems. GIST combines data management, data science, data visualization, and geography all in one. This GIST program provides a core foundation in spatial thinking, while giving students the practical, hands-on experience to become adept spatial science practitioners across business in public, private, and nonprofit organizations, as well as academic research.

What can I do with a GIST degree?

Across the US and the world, there is a demand for well‐trained GIST professionals that exceeds the supply of graduates in this discipline. Trained individuals in GIST are needed at multiple levels for high-paying jobs, ranging from certified entry‐level technicians (e.g. GIS technician) to mid-level analysts (e.g. Cartographer) to high-level positions (e.g. Remote Sensing Analyst) to senior management (e.g. GIS Project Manager). In Tennessee, local, state, and federal government agencies, as well as various other organizations, seek skilled GIST professionals. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay of someone with these skills is $81,540/year.

FaroThe GIST major within the Department of Geography explores a wide range of sub-disciplines including transportation logistics, remote sensing (including satellites and drones) emergency management, urban planning, public health, and resource and environmental management, amongst others.

The GIST program will teach you to bridge the gap between advanced geographic information technology and real-world problems/applications and to use spatial mapping, modeling, and analytics to make informed decisions. Foundational training in spatial, statistical, and mathematical analysis, as well as computer science, spatial data structures, algorithms, and information visualization will occur. The technical skills needed to retrieve and cleanse big spatial data for real-world applications will also be taught. You will learn to start by understanding the question at hand, then using it to look for data relevant to the issue. Additionally, you will learn the skills necessary to prepare and display data as you model, analyze, and evaluate the issue at hand. You will conclude your time in the GIST program with either a capstone project or an internship, which will demonstrate to potential employers that you are more than capable of following the process of utilizing geospatial science in a real-world setting!

Questions? Please reach out to us to learn more!

Michael Camponovo
GIST Program Director
(865) 974-5348