Skip to main content

Sign into the Catawba College community portal:

Login to CatLink

Future Students

Apply online or check the status of your Admissions application:

Admission Portal

REMAIN AT CATAWBA  |  Take the Pledge  |  Ask a Question

GIS & Technology (GIST)

Minor in Geographic Information
Systems & Technology

Minor in GIS & Technology (GIST)


One of the most valuable skills one can have in today’s scientific, business, and professional realms is first-hand experience with Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  Our rapidly-expanding GIS program, based in the Department of Environment & Sustainability, incorporates three step-wise courses in GIS, Remote Sensing, and their broad spectrum of applications, as well as several electives ranging from a Drones and UAVs course (including FAA licensure) to Programming to Field Skills.  With this particularly special set of tools in a graduate’s toolkit, the next steps in a Catawba ENV graduate’s career are even more promising.

Why should students minor in GIST?

The breadth and depth of what you can do with GIS and remote sensing is incredible - from predicting famines or holiday sales of big box retailers, daily deforestation alerts anywhere on the planet, agricultural yield mapping, identifying wilderness areas, or managing utilities. The number and types of ‘eyes’ on the planet is increasing relentlessly and, combined with increasing computer processing power, only serves to magnify the power of GIS and remote sensing. But it’s not just ‘top-down’ from space that is changing the game, integrating smart phones with GPS has revolutionized data collection and enabled ‘big data,’ as well as added a spatial component to almost anything.

Geographic Information Systems is not just for geographers (or cartographers!) anymore. GIS is being increasingly used to support a wide variety of jobs and disciplines. This minor will broaden your job perspectives; it will give you a leg up in applying to jobs you didn’t even know existed.

Related Bachelor Degree Programs





GIS & Technology minors from Catawba College are equipped to work in a variety of fields:

    • Academic
    • Agriculture and Soils
    • Conservation
    • Emergency and Public Safety
    • Environment and Natural Resources
    • Environmental Planning
    • Government (e.g. Urban planning, Public Works etc.)
    • Health and Epidemiology
    • Military Intelligence
    • Surveying
    • Transportation and navigation
    • Utilities


Catawba College alumni have gone on to earn graduate degrees at the following schools:

    • Duke University
    • George Mason University
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
    • Arizona State University
    • University of Redlands
    • Johns Hopkins University
    • University of Minnesota
    • University of Wisconsin Madison
    • SUNY - College of Environment Science and Forestry




“No matter what your academic interest, the use of GIS provides a means for you to communicate information in a new and different way - spatially - often leading to better understanding of patterns within data and the results of analysis.”

Kathryn Clifton '97
GIS Analyst and Developer for Davidson County

GIS & Technology Faculty

Dr. Andrew Jacobson, GIS Professor at Catawba College

Dr. Andrew Jacobson

Dr. Andrew Jacobson, Assistant Professor of GIS & Conservation and coordinator of the GIST minor at Catawba College, is a conservation biologist who uses geographic information systems (GIS) to research the location and distribution of special species and places on planet Earth. Jacobson previously worked as a Science and Geospatial Advisor to the National Geographic Society, helping identify and prioritize protection of wild places throughout the world. His interests include GIS, drones, conservation biology, carnivores, and land & species conservation.


Required Courses for Minor
Required Courses for Minor

ONE of the following:

- ENV 1401 Water: Management & Ecology

- ENV 1402 Land: Management & Ecology

- ENV 1403 Air: Energy & Climate Change


ENV 2300 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems


ENV 3300 Intermediate GIS


ENV 3320 Field GPS and mobile data collection


Departmentally Approved Electives




Course Descriptions
Course Descriptions

1401 Water: Management and Ecology (3 hours)
A study of broad issues of environmental science and the interaction of humans and the environment through the lens of the sustainable use of water resources.

1402 Land: Management and Ecology (3 hours)
A study of broad issues of environmental science and the interaction of humans and the environment through the lens of the sustainable use of land resources.

1403 Air: Energy and Climate Change (3 hours)
A study of broad issues of environmental science and the interaction of humans and the environment with a focus on atmosphere, climate change, and sustainable use of energy resources.

2300 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3 hours)
This course will illuminate the increasing integration of spatial data and maps into our modern lives. The course will introduce the fundamentals of geographic information systems (GIS) & global positioning systems (GPS), and cover a variety of uses for geographic data.

3300 Intermediate GIS  (4 hours)
In-depth study of ArcGIS PRO featuring the use of geospatial analysis techniques for problem-solving and decision- making. Lecture & lab. Prerequisite: ENV 2300.

3320 Field GPS and Mobile Data Collection (2 hours)
A study of global positioning systems (GPS) to include how these systems work, how to collect GPS data, and how to integrate the data into geographic information systems (GIS). The course will use GPS devices as well as mobile applications in smartphones and tables to collect data. Prerequisite: ENV 2300.