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New COCC degree in geospatial studies plots path to OSU program

Students of COCC's GIS program utilize a drone for data collection
Students of COCC's GIS program utilize a drone for data collection

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Charting new territory in its geographical information systems (GIS) program, Central Oregon Community College will this fall begin offering a new associate degree in the emerging field of geospatial science, designed to connect with the similarly focused online baccalaureate program at Oregon State University.

The degree, which concentrates on the collection and analysis of real-time spatial data, modeling and cartography, emphasizes the intersection of geographic data with environmental- and human-related applications.

“Although GIS can be applied to any type of mapping, this new degree will specialize in how mapping and spatial data science applies to topics like environmental sustainability and social justice,” explained Pat Kennelly, director of COCC’s GIS program. “It combines state-of-the-art spatial technology with solving problems at the forefront of our society and the environment.”

OSU’s well-established geography and geospatial science Bachelor of Science degree, Kennelly said, has in recent years become attainable through an online learning option, providing a convenient and clear path to a bachelor’s degree for Central Oregonians, which helped solidify COCC’s new academic offering.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the field of cartography and photogrammetry are expected to grow by 4 percent between 2019 and 2029.

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  1. This all sounds pretty nebulous to me. What’s the practical application here? And 4% growth over a 10-year time span leaves me wondering where the job opportunities will come from. Can anyone enlighten me a bit?

    1. According to COCC’s website, “Graduates can pursue baccalaureate degrees in geography, geospatial science, GIS, and related areas and move to careers in environmental studies, natural resources, federal/state/local governments, planning, utilities, real estate, education, retail, businesses, banking, insurance, and web mapping. Careers typically include positions such as GIS technician, analyst, project manager, computer programmer, database administrator, systems administrator, cartographer, applications developer, and related managerial and administrative roles.”

      While the national growth rate is 4% according to the BLS, another source states that GIS technicians growth rate is faster than average (5% to 7%).

        1. It’s not a sales pitch or marketing copy. It’s a neutral description of the degree (not a class) from the college catalog. It states that students can get a four-year degree after getting the associate degree, and it states the types of careers they can get, the “practical application.” It completely answers his question “in real life.”

  2. Wow! Amazing opportunities await. Don’t let those who do not understand geospatial engineering dissuade you. Great career opportunities await for those who enjoy geology, geographic information, and understand how mapping and data are critical to our future. Way to go Bend!

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