Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Faculty Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight

Meet instructor Andy Richardson, College of Extended Learning Distinguished Faculty Award recipient.


Have you ever used an atlas to find information on a country? Read maps printed in newspapers and magazines? Used the Internet to find driving directions or the navigation system in a car? Then you have interacted with geospatial technology, in particular a geographic information system (GIS). A GIS is most often associated with maps, however, this is only one way you can work with geographic data in a GIS. A GIS is a comprehensive database tied to features on the earth's surface, with an integrated set of tools for querying, analyzing, and displaying geographic information. It is an "Information System for Geography," a "window into the database" to support queries, analysis, and editing of the information about the surface of the earth.

GISs are rapidly gaining recognition as the primary means of dealing with information stored on maps. GIS careers exist in every imaginable discipline, with many applications in resource and environmental management, commercial business and marketing, urban and regional planning, defense, map production, research, and beyond.

The GIS Program

SF State Extended Learning offers a professional development certificate program in geographic information systems and geospatial technology, providing instruction in practical geospatial techniques, technology, and analysis. Classes are developed and taught by geospatial experts, all of who have practical experience in the field. The program is accredited through San Francisco State University by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the official regional accrediting body for academic institutions in the western part of the country.