Universities and colleges all across the world are beginning to offer courses in remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This is great news for all of us in the GIS industry, more research means more innovation, and more courses leads to an expanded understanding of our field. Michigan State University (MSU) was one of the first universities to delve into remote sensing related to land use and has offered related courses since the early 1970s.
A QuickBird 60-cm natural color imagery of the campus of MSU in East Lansing, Michigan. Michigan State offers students a wide variety of geospatial courses along with a Master’s Degree program in GIScience. (Image Courtesy: DigitalGlobe)
Today, MSU offers an undergraduate degree in GIS along with a wide variety of GIS and remote sensing courses and outreach services. They also offer a Master’s of Science Degree in GIScience that emphasizes analytical techniques and is well suited for professionals. Finally, MSU provides one-day or two-day technical workshops that teach an introduction to ArcGIS, GIS projects and geodatabases.
MSU’s GIS outreach service makes GIS and remote sensing data available to the State and the public at no cost. They have an aerial imagery archive that contains imagery of Michigan from the 1920’s to the present. The archive also includes county, state and federal digital orthoimagery and GIS datasets. The department has partnered with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to create the Water Well Viewer, which assists well drillers and those that use water well records.
Many other departments at MSU incorporate remote sensing and GIS into their research, including the Department of Plant Biology, the Institute of Water Research and the Department of Forestry. GIS and remote sensing are integral to Michigan State University and their outreach services help spread this knowledge to the public and private sector.