IPA is engaged in a wide array of research areas, including water-resources management, to transportation, comprehensive planning, economic development, and educational outreach. One common thread that ties these diverse fields together is the use of geographic information systems (GIS). GIS entails the use of computers to analyze digital data from a spatial perspective. This concept—called geospatial analysis—can add a great deal of power to a student or faculty member’s research. Often novel trends and patterns emerge that had previously been undetected.
IPA has a strong tradition in the application of geospatial analysis in various areas of research. Students at IPA have ample opportunity to learn and grow in this field, which is rapidly increasing, as technology, “intelligent” systems, modeling, and other digital techniques become more prevalent in the planning and public policy arena.
“Many employers are specifically looking for some level of proficiency with or exposure to GIS and related technologies. Experience gained in classes and project work at IPA can give a graduating student an added edge with potential employers.”
—Andrew Homsey, GIS services coordinator
GIS has cross-disciplinary appeal and can be applied in simple mapping analyses, complex modeling problems, future-scenario prediction, planning, and logistics. IPA supports educational development of GIS at all levels—graduate, undergraduate, and even K-12. IPA’s GIS personnel have taught and worked with students from a diverse set of backgrounds, including natural-resource management, public policy and planning, urban affairs, civil and environmental engineering, geography, and geology, among others. IPA always encourages students and faculty to employ these technologies in their research and provides project support for this.
For the student, exposure to GIS can provide valuable, real-world experience with a technology that is increasingly in demand among employers. Students with some level of proficiency in GIS upon graduation, leave IPA and fill important positions in state, local, and federal governments, nonprofits and non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.
For more information contact Andrew Homsey (302-831-4932).