Geospatial Sciences


Mission Statement:

The Geospatial Center at Stony Brook will offer imaginative and unique Geographical Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing-related services for SBU students, faculty, and researchers, and the surrounding community. The Center will improve GIS educational opportunities, professionalism in research, and access to data resources. The Geospatial Center will also integrate existing Stony Brook expertise in GIS and Remote Sensing educational and research. The Center will enable our students and faculty to be more competitive in the job and research grant markets. The professional Geospatial related services offered through the Center will position Stony Brook University as the preeminent Geospatial resource on Long Island and in the academic community.


About GIS:

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) can integrate and relate any data with a spatial component (location), regardless of the source of the data. These systems integrate methodology capable of capturing, querying, analyzing, and displaying geographically referenced information; that is, data identified according to location.

The GIS software is a comprehensive set of tools that provide a way to integrate these data so that it can analyze in parts or as a whole and leveraged this information to make critical decisions in business, urban and regional planning, environmental management, health services, and many other applications in research and resource planning.

The local and national job markets for GIS professionals are very strong and are expected to grow substantially in the foreseeable future. GIS professionals work in a variety of settings, including the private sector (for example, logistics and market analysis), public sector at the local, state, and national levels, in academics and research, and in GIS software firms. Employers are seeking individuals with the skills and knowledge required to solve the increasingly complex problems faced by today’s businesses and government agencies.

About Remote Sensing:

Remote sensing is a group of techniques to collect information about an object or area of interest from a distance. The instruments used are collecting data from less than a meter to several thousands of kilometers away versus in-situ sensing where the instrument is in physical contact with the object being measured. Remote sensing instruments can collect and record data passively, such as photographic cameras, thermal infrared systems or mechanical scanners, were only naturally emanating energy is detected. Or, instruments can be active, were artificially produced energy is reflected off a target and recorded, such as with radar or sonar systems.

Stony Brook University has a long history of innovative remote sensing use and design. From deep Ocean or Earth sensing to collecting data on Mars and the Moon, Stony Brook researchers are there.

Minor in Geospatial Sciences

19-20 Credits

Geospatial Science 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 tools 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.  

 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 upper-division courses offered for the minor must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. Completion of the minor requires 19 - 20 credits.

 Contact the Faculty Director

 Required introductory courses: 7 credits

GSS 105 - Introduction to Maps and Mapping
GSS 313 - GIS Design and Applications I
GSS 314 - GIS Design and Applications Lab

Plus one course from either of the two spatial areas:

GSS 325 - Design and Applications II  or  Remote Sensing:

GEO 347 - Geological Applications of Remote Sensing or

MAR 334 - Remote Sensing of the Environment

Required three elective courses (9-10 credits)

ANT 420/GEO 420 - Environmental Analysis Using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems

BIO 319 - Landscape Ecology Laboratory

GSS 323 GIS Database and Design

GEO 347 - Geological Applications of Remote Sensing

GSS 325 - GIS Design and Applications II

GSS 326 GIS Project Management

GSS 487 Geospatial Science Research (see Note)

GSS 488 Geospatial Science Internship (see Note)

MAR 334 - Remote Sensing of the Environment

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.

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. 

 Instructor Maria Brown at the GSS computer classroom

gis lab

GSS Committee Faculty Members

Catherine Graham - Ecology and Evolution

Kamazima Lwiza – SoMAS (School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences)

Jaymie Meliker - Public Health/ Preventive Medicine

Martin Schoonen - Geosciences and Sustainability Studies

Michael Sperazza - Geosciences and Sustainability Studies

Elizabeth Stone - Anthropology


GIS otherOther GIS links:

gss major map
Sustainability Studies Program    W0511 Melville Library     Phone: (631) 632-9404

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