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KSC Launches Geographic Information Systems Certificate

KEENE, N.H. 8/7/03 - Cro-Magnon hunters charted animal migration patterns on cave walls by drawing pictures of animals and tracks and making tallies of species seen. Today, animal migration routes are tracked by satellites and mapped in phenomenal detail, precision, and three-dimensionality using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to merge graphics, databases of statistics, and cartographic detail.

GIS is used to show whether oil development interferes with polar bear migration, to design noise buffer zones around airports, and to profile bank customers by branch location. The possibilities are almost infinite.

The Keene State College Continuing Education Office, in cooperation with the Department of Geography, now offers a one-year certificate program in GIS. At the Keene State GIS/Remote Sensing Lab, students have used GIS technology to:

  • show that higher rates of pollution in the Ashuelot River correlate with lower riverfront property values based on analysis of data from the City of Keene and the Department of Environmental Services.

  • create a map of all the Rails-to-Trails pathways in Cheshire County, illustrating the condition of each trail, the nearest available parking, and trail access routes.

  • pinpoint where cell phone reception is clearest throughout New Hampshire, by mapping cell tower locations using data from the Federal Communications Commission.

  • create a land-use map of the Keene area using satellite imagery.

The GIS/Remote Sensing Lab will continue to provide analysis and findings on projects at the local, regional, and state levels. GIS is becoming fundamental to business success and accountability and provides citizens information to become active participants in the decision-making process.

The 15- to 16-credit GIS certificate program is designed for any currently enrolled student who wants to acquire this immediately applicable skill and for professionals in environmental resource management, urban and regional planning, local government, facilities management, and other areas.

Those earning the certificate will be well-versed in general GIS theory and have knowledge and practical exposure to the hardware and software used in GIS. They will know how to plan and construct spatial databases, GIS analyses, and representation of data in both mapped and tabular form. Those wishing to enroll need at least three credits of college geography and a basic understanding of maps and cartography (or the permission of the GIS program advisor).

One four-credit geography course is offered this fall that can be applied to this certificate: GEOG 326, GIS: IDRISI, meets from 1:30 to 3:50 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursdays from Aug. 26 to Dec. 11. This course is an introduction to the raster-based GIS IDRISI system. Data input, modeling, and analyses of remotely sensed imagery are emphasized.

For further information about the GIS Certificate or to register, contact the Keene State Continuing Education Office by phone at 603-358-2290 or 800-KSC-1909, by e-mail at, or on the web at

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435