In 2011 the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) developed a survey to measure the use of GIS on college campuses. According to the Directions Magazine article “GIS Adoption and Use on College Campuses: An End-of-the Year-Review and Look Ahead to 2012,” UCGIS was specifically interested in understanding, “how GIS is being used to foster research, teaching, service and community building across departments, schools and the broader communities within which our institutions are situated.” The results of the survey are interesting.
Although the standard academic fields that have made GIS a staple in their respective curricula such as cartography, computer and information science, cognitive and behavioral science, engineering, geography, landscape architecture, statistics, surveying, and urban planning showed extensive and increased use in GIS technologies, new fields such as the humanities, criminology, public health, and university administrative and educational departments have also adopted GIS tools and technologies.
According to the article, “The preliminary findings of the survey suggest that GIS has a central role to play in establishing university-community partnerships, especially in areas such as community mapping, emergency preparedness and serving as stewards for community-generated data and information.” The survey both served as a tool for measurement and as a guide for improvement for the future use and expansion in use of GIS tools and technologies on college campuses throughout the country.
UCGIS is hosting a conference in May 2012 to further discuss and develop on the results found in this survey in order to continue promoting GIS as a relevant and useful educational tool.
Nicola Mammes, VERTICES Research Assistant
Community Mapping Coordinator
Center for Community Mapping