Concordia University

Summer GIS Certificate

The Department of Geography, Planning and Environment (GPE) offers a one-week program of intensive training in geographic information systems (GIS) during the summer. Building on the strong expertise GPE has developed over the years in geospatial technologies, this intensive program will be delivered using experiential and active learning strategies. The training is designed for individuals who would like to acquire basic skills in GIS, get support for developing their own GIS project, or learn how GIS could be relevant for their professional activities. No previous GIS training is required, although a good knowledge of the Windows environment is necessary.

The certificate is designed to be flexible. Depending on participants’ availability and on the type of project they want to develop, two-day, three-day, four-day or five-day certificates can be completed.

During this program, participants will be exposed to the basic concepts of GIS and to techniques such as GPS data collection, spatial analysis, cartographic representation and communication on the web. They will also gain experience with a Free Open Source GIS software (QGIS). Faculty from the department with a wide range of GIS-related expertise will provide input via guest lectures.

GIS can play a powerful role in assisting scientists, business specialists and community organizations validate hypotheses and communicate information and research from many domains:

  1. Biology and environmental health specialists, for example, may want to map the distribution of the Zika vector (mosquitoes) habitat worldwide. Will increasing temperatures push the boundaries of those habitats?
  2. An urban planner may want to map green spaces in the city to evaluate the need for increased green areas.
  3. A high school teacher may want to teach history classes using GIS storytelling: attaching dates to places and photos; all on Google Earth for example.
  4. An NGO may want to collect information from aboriginal communities to map the most important lands, according to them (participatory GIS).
  5. A transport company may want to know if their existing routes are actually covering the needs of the consumers. Where would new services be needed?

After this training participants will be able to answer questions like:

  • How are food banks distributed in Montreal, are some areas under serviced or not?
  • Which neighbourhoods need more green space?
  • Where are highest concentrations of pollution industries? How far are they from residential areas?
  • Where can we find certain natural resources? Has the distribution of these resources changed over the last 10 years?
  • Where are most bike accidents happening?
  • What is the area of influence of a specific commercial activity (e.g. mining), and what is the impact on the surrounding wildlife and vegetation?
  • Where are most crimes happening? What are the socio-demographic characteristics of those neighbourhoods? What can be done to better serve these areas? How many police stations are located within the hot-spot crime areas?
  • Where are most Asthma hospitalizations happening? Where is the highest concentration? Are these concentrations close to highways, toxic sites? What are the socio-demographic characteristics of those neighbourhoods?
  • How did the forest area change? Was there intense deforestation? How did agricultural land change between 2005 and 2010?
  • Is urban sprawl occurring in this city? How did the urban area changed between 1990 and 2015?

For more details on the program, please contact the program director

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