If you're interested in combining geography, math and computer technology,
consider a program in geographic information systems (GIS). These programs
are often offered as a specialty within a geography degree.
There are plenty of courses available in GIS, whether you're interested
in a bachelor's degree, a master's degree or just a certificate program to
enhance your skills. There are even distance education courses available online.
Some of the many skills you'll be learning in this program are map design,
geographic analysis tools, skill in a variety of software, and theoretical
and applied skills in at least one application area such as planning.
Jerry Davis is a professor of geography and human environmental studies
at San Francisco State University. He says grads of these programs will
have skills in spatial analysis, map design and geographic modeling applications
of GIS in fields like natural science, environmental studies, land-use
planning and transportation planning.
It's important for high school students to take algebra and geography,
says William J. Craig. He is the associate director at the University of Minnesota's
Center for Urban and Regional Affairs. Students need high marks in those courses
as well as a high GPA.
"I like students who show initiative outside the classroom as well, because
this shows energy and leadership," says Craig.
Bill Huxhold is a professor in the department of urban planning at the
University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. He recommends taking statistics.
He says the ability to analyze problems is a very useful skill.
GIS professor Tom Poiker says high school students should take social
studies and math. Writing skills are important. He also recommends getting
lots of experience orienteering or hiking with maps.
Try volunteering in local environmental work. Spend some free time
hiking and backpacking with a topographic map and compass.
The major costs are tuition and books. You may also have to purchase GIS
software for your home computer.
Occupational Outlook HandbookFor more information related to this field of study, see: Surveyors,
Cartographers, Photogrammetrists, and Surveying Technicians
GIS in Everyday LifeCheck out the animated story, as well as the history of mapping
National Geographic Map MachineCheck out some cool maps online