minor.jpgMinor in Geospatial Sciences (GSS) 19-20 Credits

Geospatial Sciences is used in a wide range of disciplines as a research tool, a decision-making tool, data analysis tool, and/or as a planning tool. One of the major components used in these analyses is Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software.

The Minor in Geospatial Sciences is a flexible undergraduate minor that allows students drawn from a broad spectrum of backgrounds to acquire the necessary training in geospatial analysis to complement their area of study. Students will receive training in the use of Geographical Information System software and may choose from several electives to broaden their experience in geospatial sciences.  

Please click here for the requirements for the Minor in Geospatial Sciences (GSS):      
No more than two courses that are used to satisfy your major can be applied to this minor. 

  • No more than one three-credit course in the minor may be taken under the Pass/No Credit option.
  • All courses used toward the minor must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. Completion of the minor requires 19 - 20 credits.

Please Note: A maximum of three credits of GSS 487 Geospatial Science Research and/or GSS 488 Geospatial Science Internship may be applied to the minor and a maximum of three credits of GEO 347, GSS 355 or MAR 334 may be applied toward the minor.

Please click here to view the Checklist for the GSS Minor

Declaration of the Minor

Students should declare the Geospatial Sciences minor no later than the middle of their sophomore year, at which time they should consult with the minor Faculty Director to plan their course of study for fulfillment of the requirements.

Undergraduate Course Descriptions (Last updated on 10/20/15)

GSS 105 - F: Introduction to Maps and Mapping : An introduction to the study and design of map formats, symbology, coordinate systems, and how maps record the historical patterns of human behavior. The course will also examine maps as a tool to analyze human activity and societal development, and include important aspects of map data collection, processing, the Global Positioning System (GPS), quantitative mapping, and GIS-based mapmaking techniques. 3 credits.

GSS 309: GIS and Cartography: Cartography is the knowledge associated with the art, science, and technology of maps. Digital computer cartography still follows the same fundamental principles and still requires a broad understanding of graphicacy as a language (as well as numeracy and literacy). This course will provide an introduction to cartographic principles, concepts, software and hardware necessary to produce good maps, especially in the context (and limitations) of geographic information systems (GIS). Prerequisite: SBC 113, 3 credits.

GSS 313: GIS Design and Application I: Provides the basic concepts underlying modern geographic information science and technology. Emphasis is placed on the principles of GIS for characterizing environmental systems and computer-based techniques for processing and analyzing spatial data. The course is three credit hours of lecture. This lecture course must be taken in the same semester as the associated one credit laboratory course GSS 314. Not for credit in addition to GSS 317. Prerequisite: MAT 125 or MAT 131, 3 credits.

GSS 314: GIS Laboratory: Practice using the GIS techniques and tools learned in the lecture (GSS 313), work on exercises, and process and analyze the spatial data for the course project. This laboratory course must be taken in the same semester as GSS 313. Co-requisite: GSS 313, 1 credit.

GSS 317: Geospatial Narratives: Deep Mapping for Humanities and Social Sciences: Building on formal methods in qualitative reasoning, spatial and temporal representation and geospatial science, this course will explore state-of-the-art methods for humanities and social sciences students to visualize and drill down data. Hands-on exercises of deep mapping will cover how to collect, analyze and visualize quantitative and qualitative data, spatial data, images, video, audio, and other representations of places and artifacts in humanities and social sciences. This course will also discuss models of reasoning about events, actions and changes that are spatially contextualized. Not for credit in addition to GSS 313.  Prerequisite: WRT 102, Advisory Prerequisite: some working knowledge of spreadsheets, 3 credits.

GSS 323: GIS Database and Design: Concepts of geodatabase design and management in geographic information systems (GIS), SQL statements, geographic data types and functions, data entry, techniques of geographic information structure applications. This is a Windows based computer class with the majority of students work involving GIS computer software. Prerequisite: GSS 313, 3 credits. 

GSS 325: GIS Design & Applications II: The course builds upon the topics covered in GIS Design and Application I. It emphasizes the applications of GIS in solving real-world problems. Students are expected to gain an understanding of GIS theory, methodology and most importantly application. Students are also expected to demonstrate abilities of spatial thinking, spatial analysis, and be able to solve practical spatial problems utilizing a GIS. Because GIS is both a tool for analysis and the visual communication of these data, students will be required to develop a GIS presentation, much as would be expected in a professional setting. This independent project will constitute a substantial portion of the final grade. This is a Windows based computer class with the majority of students work involving GIS computer software. Prerequisite: GSS 313 or equivalent, 3 credits.

GSS 326: GIS Project Management: The course addresses issues unique to a GIS operation such as implementation issues, decision making procedures, strategies for success, legal issues, involvement of management, marking within an organization, strategic planning, and industry outlook. Prerequisite: GSS 313, 3 credits.

GSS 350: Applied Spatial Data Analysis: 
An introduction to geospatial statistical analysis that aims to provide students with the background necessary to investigate geographically represented data. The specific focus is on spatial data analysis, such as the analysis of autocorrelation, principles of geostatistics and analysis methods that are relevant in the fields of public health, environmental/earth science and social science. An important aspect of the course is to gain hands-on experience in applying these techniques with GIS and spatial analytical software, and essential methodological and practical issues that are involved in sophisticated spatial analyses. Prerequisite: AMS 102 or equivalent and GSS 313, 3 credits.

GSS 354: Geospatial Science for the Coastal Zone:  The use of spatial data is becoming increasingly critical in the decision management process and planning of the coastal zone. This course will use GIS and Remote sensing tools to collect and analyze data for integrating into the management, planning, and monitoring of the coastal geomorphology and ecosystems.  Prerequisite: GSS 313, 3 credits.

GSS 355: Remote Sensing GIS Data: Provides a basic overview of the technology by which aircraft and satellite images of the Earth are produced as well as hands on experience manipulating and interpreting. Students gain practical experience in environmental analysis using satellite imagery and commonly used sensors and analytical methods for the Earth sciences. Prerequisite: GSS 105 or MAR 104 or GEO 102, 3 credits.

GSS 390: Topics in Geospatial Science:  Course will present special interest topics or recent software enhancements in the rapidly developing field of Geospatial Science. The course will include a mixture of core geospatial techniques and recently released methodology. Course content will include a diversity of Geospatial topics and include discipline specific topics relevant to majors in physical sciences, social sciences, business and engineering. Repeatable as the topic changes to a maximum of 6 credits.  Prerequisite: U3 or U4 status or permission of the instructor, can be taken for 1-6 credits.

GSS 475: Undergraduate Teaching Practicum: Student will Work with a faculty member as assistant in a regularly scheduled course. The student must attend all classes and carry out all assignments; in addition the student will be assigned a specific role to assist in teaching the course. The student will meet with the instructor on a regular basis to discuss intellectual and pedagogical matters relating to the course. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor, 0-3 credits, S/U grading.

GSS 487: Geospatial Science Research: Qualified advanced undergraduates may carry out individual research projects under the direct supervision of a faculty member. Repeatable to a maximum of 3 credits. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor, 0-3 credits, S/U grading.

GSS 488: Geospatial Science Internship: The GSS Internship is designed to provide students experience in the real workplace. Interns are expected to function as a GIS/Remote Sensing professional and work within the existing host facility structure or on a free standing project. Interns will complete assigned tasks by hosting facility such as GIS data entry, data retrieval, remote sensing analysis, GPS field work, documentation, or general GIS facility duties. These activities will be monitored by both a representative of the host facility and the instructor. May be repeated to a limit of 12 credits. Prerequisites: GSS 313 and GSS 325, or instructor consent, 0-12 credits, S/U grading.

Other Undergraduate GIS and Remote Sensing Courses: Courses offered by other departments that receive credit toward the minor requirements

ANT 420/GEO 420: Environmental Analysis Using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems: The use of aerial and satellite imagery in environmental analysis and the manipulation of geographic data sets of all types using Geographic Information Systems. Concentrating on Long Island, each student designs and completes a research project on a particular section of the area, focusing on the habitats of local wildlife, the locations of archaeological sites, coastal regimes, etc. Students should expect to spend approximately 10 hours per week beyond regularly scheduled classes in a University computer laboratory. This course is offered as both ANT 420 and GEO 420. Prerequisite: Upper-division course in ANT or BIO or GEO or MAR 4 credits.

BIO 319: Landscape Ecology Laboratory:  A computer lab course focusing on spatial concepts, methods, and tools for addressing ecological and environmental problems. The course will be based on fundamental concepts in ecology and environmental science and extend that knowledge, as well as teaching technical skills, including the use of geographic information systems (GIS) software, image processing, spatially explicit modeling, and spatial statistics. The lab exercises will introduce a variety of spatial approaches addressing problems in environmental protection, ecotoxicology, natural resource management, conservation biology, and wildlife management. Pre- or Corequisite: BIO 201 and BIO 204 Advisory Prerequisite: AMS 110 or BIO 211; BIO 351

GEO 347: Remote Sensing:  An introduction to the fundamental principles of remote sensing, with emphasis on geological and environmental applications. Discussion of the physical basis for remote sensing techniques. Survey of commonly used sensors and image analysis methods in earth sciences. Use of remotely sensed data in geographic information systems. Participants gain practical experience in geologic analysis using satellite imagery. Prerequisite: GEO 102 or GEO 106 or GEO 122 3 credits.  

MAR 334- E: Remote Sensing of the Environment:  A study of the theory of remote sensing and its application in the fields of atmospheric science and oceanography. A discussion of the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with rough surfaces and the atmosphere is followed by a treatment of sensors and platforms. The remainder of the course is devoted to data processing techniques involved in remote sensing. Prerequisite: One of the following: ENS/PHY 119, PHY 127, PHY 132/134, or PHY 142 3 credits.


For more information on GSS, please visit : Geospatial Sciences at Stony Brook


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