Written by: Dr. Kerry Stewart Ph.D. Professor of Political Science


What is GIS and what can it do for you, the student of political science? The acronym GIS stands for Geospatial Information Systems. It is a research methodology like SPSS that allows us to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial or geographic data that includes remote sensing and information technology. GIS provides us with an accurate data assessment process to better study the world. It is a visual system using maps to present information in just about any discipline you can imagine. Most people are visual learners, GIS mapping is visual. Hundreds of thousands of organizations in virtually every field use GIS to make maps that communicate, perform analysis, share information, and solve complex problems around the world. If you are doing research on voting, political campaigns, districting, history, medical availability in states or even counties in states, and much more, you can map it.


The U.S. government predicts Geographic Information System will be in high demand over the next decade, with annual salaries of $70,000.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts growth of 35% a year, with a shortage of trained people to fill the jobs. Currently the geo services industry is valued at $270 billion and employs over 500,000 people.


I would like to recommend that students take the introduction to GIS, GISC2011K, offered here at UNG as a substitute for statistics in area D. This research methodology is cutting edge and offered by the Institute of Environmental Spatial Analysis. It is available on several campuses here at UNG. If you need additional information please feel free to contact the following faculty advisors:


Dr. Jamie Mitchem (678)717-3927 or email him at jamie.mitchem@ung.edu

Dr. Jeff Turk (678)717-3768 or e-mail him at jeff.turk@ung.edu

Dr. Turk is the director of IESA

Dr. John O’Sullivan (678)717-3795 or email him at john.osullivan@ung.edu

Dr. Katayoun Mobasher (678)717-3862 or e-mail her at katayoun.mobasher@ung.edu


These are all faculty for the Lewis F. Rodgers Institute of Environmental Spatial Analysis located on the Oakwood Campus of University of North Georgia-Gainesville.