Geographic Information Systems

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A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a combination of hardware, software, data, people, and protocols, and is primarily used for the acquisition, maintenance, and analysis of geospatial data and information. GIS was founded in the art and science of geography, and more specifically was born from forestry and its associated applications (i.e., natural resources). Its main purpose is to serve as a tool for analyzing geospatial phenomena, via various data overlay operations, to provide information in the form of visualizations (i.e., maps), which ultimately provide greater insight into such phenomena from the perspective of geospatial patterns and real-world feature relationships. The end goal of a GIS is to provide meaningful analysis results to better understand real-world situations and help end-users of such information make better decisions regarding how best to handle geospatial phenomena

Program Overview

As a GIS student you will:

  • Study the history of GIS, learn what it is and how it is used, and discover the foundational concepts that allow it to be a successful system
  • Develop skills in using hardware and software applications, in conjunction with relevant data and information, to learn how to approach and help solve potential real-world geospatial phenomena
  • Acquire critical thinking skills that will allow you to view and analyze geospatial patterns and feature relationships from a scientific perspective
  • Gain knowledge in the dissemination of geospatial information to web-based data and information delivery environments, as well as exposure to ancillary geospatial technologies such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Remote Sensing, and Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) data and their respective applications


Curriculum covers the foundation of three core components of GIS:

  • Desktop GIS- history of GIS, the foundation of what a GIS is and how it works, geospatial data (i.e., structures, models, acquisition, creation, editing, storage, and retrieval), basic geospatial data overlay analyses, and data and information display (i.e., maps, figures, charts, graphs, tables).
  • Online GIS- like Desktop GIS and will cover the foundation of disseminating GIS through a web-based environment.
  • Mobile GIS-involves a basic understanding of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and field data collection using concepts surrounding latest trends in mobile GIS applications, via hardware, software, and protocol perspectives.

Program Highlights

Lassen Community College offers its Geographic Information Systems certificate as  an entirely online program of study. No physical classroom involvement is required. Courses may be offered via traditional face-to-face or hybrid instructional modalities as well The Geographic Information Systems certificate can be completed in just two semesters The Geographic Information Systems certificate is well suited to provide individuals with the education necessary to enter the workforce as an entry-level GIS Technician, or add to an existing or future bachelor’s degree education to help strengthen and solidify the technical nature of said degree. For example, a combination of a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology and a certificate in GIS can be a very valuable and powerful combination to potential employers

Certificate of Achievement

Certificate of achievement in Geographic Information Systems

Requirements of Program:

In order to participate in and successfully complete the Certificate of Achievement in GIS, students will need basic computer skills, such as familiarity with Windows operating systems, Windows File Explorer, and basic word processing and spreadsheet software applications; a strong and reliable high-speed Internet connection; and a Windows PC-based personal computer (i.e., desktop or laptop) that is sufficient for installing and running required GIS software associated with this educational program.  An Apple (Mac OS) personal computer may be used in lieu of a Windows-based system, but students who choose to do this will need to prepare their Apple system in such a way that allows the Windows OS to install and run on the Mac-based system, to allow for installation of the required GIS software. Additional information regarding specific computer requirements can be found here:  In addition, students will need a modern and functional Apple- or Android-based smartphone or tablet to complete one of the courses in the course series.

Two-Year Advising Plans

​​​Degree Type ​Degree Name
​Certificate of Achievement Geographic Information Services – CA

Employment Opportunities

GIS Technician for private entity or government agency

Supplemental GIS education to add to existing or future education in another field, which will help to strengthen overall knowledge from a technical standpoint

Degrees and Certificates

Total Units for the Certificate of Achievement: 16

GIS-1  Fundamentals of GIS4
GIS-2 GIS Data Concepts3
GIS-3 Cartography and Geovisualization3
GIS 4 Spatial Analysis3
GIS-5 Web/Mobile-based GIS3

Program Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the Certificate of Achievement in Geographical Information Systems student will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of what a GIS is, how it can be used, and how the technology has come to be.
2. Explain, in detail, the nature of geospatial data and associated systems – types, formats, structures, models, acquisition, maintenance, manipulation, and display.
3. Apply critical thinking skills to the approach of establishing a basic GIS and using said GIS to analyze pertinent data and information to derive results that can or may help to better understand a perceived real-world geospatial phenomenon.
4. Use the latest, basic GIS-based software technologies on the market with effective and efficient application.
5. Be academically prepared to obtain an entry-level position directly in GIS, or to greatly supplement and enhance another chosen career field that can benefit from the technical nature of GIS knowledge.

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