UTSA to offer new Master of Science degree in geoinformatics

UTSA to offer new Master of Science degree in geoinformatics

(Sept. 20, 2016) -- In Fall 2017, students at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) will be able to enroll and begin earning a Master of Science degree in geoinformatics. The new top-tier program will be a cross-disciplinary effort across five UTSA colleges, allowing students to develop a valuable set of skills that are becoming increasingly high in-demand.

“Expertise in geoinformatics is an increasingly valuable skill set,” said George Perry, dean of the UTSA College of Sciences and Semmes Foundation Distinguished University Chair in Neurobiology. “I’m proud of this dedicated collaboration among our faculty to create innovative, top-tier researchers.”

The UTSA Department of Geological Sciences will oversee the program, but faculty will also be contributed from the Departments of Civil Engineering, Urban and Regional Planning, Demography, and Political Science and Geography as well as the UTSA Center for Archaeological Research and the Environmental Sciences program.

Because the field of geoinformatics is deeply focused on processing large amount of geographic data and satellite-collected remote sensing data, it also has very wide applications and allows for the creation of an interdisciplinary program that supports UTSA’s efforts in cloud computing and big data research.

“This new program will make our students highly valuable to a vast number of industries,” said Lance L. Lambert, chair of the Department of Geological Sciences and professor of paleontology. “This is a great example of the collaborative, innovative efforts that UTSA is known for.”

The wide application of geoinformatics has made expertise in the field a lucrative commodity in the modern job market. The processing of geographic data and remote sensing data is used in civil engineering for the mapping of pipelines and sewers and in political science for the drawing of voting districts. Archaeologists use global satellite data to locate ruins in remote locations, while urban planners use similar information sets to map out new subdivisions. Earth scientists also used it to study water resources and polar ice sheets.

The skill set can even be used in disaster situations to measure the scope of the damage and how to best direct relief efforts. In the intelligence sector, geoinformatics can be useful in triangulating cyber attacks, or even in tracking down terrorists by mapping background locations in released videos.

“This specialized training will allow our students to succeed in a wide array of disciplines,” said Hongjie Xie, professor of geological sciences and the new program’s director. “It’s very inspiring to see such enthusiastic collaboration among our colleges to make this degree a reality.”

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Learn more about the UTSA Department of Geological Sciences.

Learn more about the UTSA Department of Civil Engineering.

Learn more about the UTSA Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

Learn more about the UTSA Center for Archaeological Research.

Learn more about the UTSA Department of Demography.

Learn more about the UTSA Department of Political Science and Geography.

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