Frequently asked questions
As an applicant, you need to be eligible for admission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, as outlined in the Graduate Calendar.
In addition, applicants much have:
- A four-year bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 units completed, or equivalent.
- A statement of interest outlining your goals, motivation for applying to the program, and particular area of interest within the field of geospatial information technology (e.g., remote sensing, geographic information systems, spatial modelling, geospatial analytics).
- A current curriculum vitae or résumé.
- Two reference letters
This certificate can be completed by taking four courses in one semester (currently, it is offered in the fall term of each academic year). To successfully complete the Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Technology, students must complete the following courses with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher:
GEOG 680: Digital Cartography and Geovisualization
Advanced introduction to the art, science, and practice of digital map production and visualization of geospatial data. Theoretical and practical approaches to map design are used to explain techniques for effective map production and communication of inherently spatial information. Static, dynamic, and interactive visualizations of maps and spatial processes are used to explore geographic data from a variety of sources in physical and cultural spaces. Students will participate in computer-based laboratory exercises to gain exposure to cutting-edge techniques in visualization and mapping of geographic data.
GEOG 682: Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science
Advanced introduction to geographic information science and systems. Theoretical topics include cognition of geographic phenomena, digital representations of geographic features, coordinate systems and map projections, spatial data models, and problems of scale and uncertainty. Applications include data acquisition, geographic database design and spatial data management, basic spatial operations, surface analysis, and network analysis. A variety of examples from physical and cultural landscapes will be used to help students recognize the importance of geographic phenomena and spatial processes and to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Students will use industry-standard geographic information systems software to develop hands-on technical skills through a variety of computer laboratory assignments.
GEOG 684: Fundamentals of Remote Sensing
Advanced introduction to the theory and application of remote sensing technology. Theoretical topics include physics of remote sensing data capture, sensor systems, representation and data models, as well as the science behind techniques such as reflectance and radiance calibrations, atmospheric corrections, and image transformations. Applications include topics such as visual interpretation of imagery, supervised and unsupervised image classification, model validation, and accuracy assessment. Students will also use industry-standard remote sensing software to develop hands-on technical skills through a variety of computer laboratory assignments.
GEOG 686: Applied Statistics and Geospatial Analysis
Advanced introduction to analytical methods appropriate to geographic data. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability theory, sampling design, inferential statistics, model validation and assessment of uncertainty, and applied multivariate analysis. Techniques and examples emphasize the use of geospatial data for constructing models of geographic phenomena and spatial problem-solving.
Many different industries and sectors use GIS and remote sensing technologies, including oil and gas; information technology; insurance; forestry and environment; government; health and medical; advertising; and urban planning. Furthermore, organizations in each of these sectors can benefit from managers and staff who are literate in GIS and related technologies, and who can lead teams, and/or liaise between departments.
There is high demand for geospatial technical skills in Alberta currently, particularly Calgary. If your goal is to pursue a career where you will need knowledge of geospatial concepts in order to work within an interdisciplinary team composed of urban planners, GIS analysts, mapping technicians, cartographers, then this certificate will give you an edge in your knowledge and skill set in this area.
What you do with this certificate very much depends upon your goals and your previous degree of study. The certificate will enhance your knowledge base in a variety of ways, particularly if your first degree is in one of anthropology, archaeology, biological sciences, computer science, ecology, environmental science, geology/geophysics, geomatics engineering, history, business/management, mathematics, political science, psychology, tourism, transportation studies or engineering, and urban studies.
The four-course certificate program would normally be completed over one term, September – December.
Yes. The Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Technology can be combined with Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MSc), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Architecture (MArch), Master of Planning (MPlan), and Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) programs at the University of Calgary. This will allow students in related disciplines to complete this certificate concurrently with their graduate degree.
Currently, the program is only offered in the fall term each year.
The Department of Geography maintains three state-of-the-art computer laboratory facilities with current PC hardware and industry-standard software, such as the full ArcGIS software suite (GIS software), PCI/Geomatica and IDL/ENVI (remote sensing), Adobe Creative Cloud (digital cartography), and IBM SPSS and S-Plus (statistical modelling), among others, for its undergraduate, post-graduate certificate, and graduate teaching and research.
The Taylor Family Digital Library houses a state-of-the-art archival facility for geospatial data, including three full-time staff who are available for consultation regarding acquiring and using different forms of data (e.g., government spatial data, commercial data). The library maintains a collection of licensed geospatial data (e.g., provincial AltaLIS licensed products, federal DMTI Spatial CanMap data suite), and it operates a high-availability, secure server for disseminating licensed products to staff and students for education use.
The certificate courses are not offered online at this time. Residency on-campus for face-to-face components of the program is required. The face-to-face instruction may include computer laboratory assignments, group project work, seminars, etc.
Courses in the certificate are not eligible to be audited.
Students who complete the program will be awarded a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Technology.
You will complete the certificate in one semester.
If you are an international student who is currently completing a graduate degree at the University of Calgary, you may apply to and complete the certificate program concurrently with your degree.
We are able to accept international applicants who are not currently registered in a graduate degree program at the University of Calgary.