Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment (GISDE)

Applying GIS Technologies to Crucial Social, Economic, and Environmental Issues

The program in Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment (GISDE) prepares professionals for careers where they apply the world's most advanced computer mapping technologies and spatial analysis to address crucial issues concerning socioeconomic development and environmental science.

As a joint program with IDCE and Clark's School of Geography, the GISDE program is unique. It specializes in applications of geospatial technologies to problems of sustainable development and the environment, such as:

Public Health
Environmental Justice
Global Change and Earth System Monitoring
Land Use Change

GISDE is designed for people with an interest in the use of applications of geospatial technologies (GIS, remote sensing) to environmental and social change issues. GISDE students are interested in learning not only the tools of spatial analysis, but also learning how to apply these tools to real life problems in the course of seeking solutions. The course of study is designed to accommodate both GIS novices and people with previous GIS experience.

Clark University produces the GIS software, Idrisi Selva, which is used by researchers and educators in over 180 countries. Clark is the only academic institution in the world with a successful 22-year history of GIS and remote sensing software development. Therefore, GISDE students have a singular opportunity to learn the analytical power of raster GIS while using Idrisi and often learning from its creators.

Numerous opportunities exist for students to conduct collaborative research with IDCE faculty as they pursue research on issues such as land use and global climate change, human health, and water quality around the world. Many GISDE students have co-published research findings with faculty members in respected journals in the field. GISDE students have extraordinary success in winning awards for their research papers from prestigious organizations such as the Association of American Geographers and The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.

Most GISDE students finance their education through a combination of savings, loans, scholarships, and grants. IDCE supplies information concerning ways to finance your education through funding. We have also compiled a Scholarships and Resources for GIS Students sheet for GISDE-only students that you may find helpful. Some applicants find it useful to apply to the GISDE program, then use the letter of acceptance in their applications to funding agencies.

Sample courses include:

Advanced Raster GIS
Advanced Vector GIS
Computer Programming for GIS
Web Mapping and Open Source GIS
Environmental Application of GIS
Social Applications of GIS
Wildlife Conservation GIS
GIS and Accuracy Assessment
GIS for International Development
Advanced Topics in Spatial Analysis
Quantitative Environmental Modeling
Landscape Ecology
Introduction to Remote Sensing
Advanced Remote Sensing
Remote Sensing of Global  Environmental Change

The Idrisi and Clark Labs Advantage

Clark Labs for Cartographic Technology and Geographic Systems (www.clarklabs.org) produces the GIS software, Idrisi, which is used in over 180 countries worldwide. It is the only academic institution in the world with a successful 20+ year history of GIS and remote sensing software development. Therefore, GISDE students have a unique opportunity to learn the analytical power of raster GIS using Idrisi in their course work and research. GISDE students may have an opportunity to work at Clark Labs as software testers, programmers or researchers, depending on each student’s qualifications and the needs of Clark Labs.

The GISDE Experience

Numerous opportunities exist for students to conduct collaborative research with IDCE faculty as they pursue their research on issues such as water quality, land use change, and global climate change the world over. Many GISDE students have co-published findings of their research with faculty members in respected journals in the field.

We have had recent success with GISDE students winning monetary awards for their research papers. To learn about future opportunities, visit the Association of American Geographers and The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.

Quotes From Our Alumni

GISDE alumni pursue their passions concerning sustainable development and environmental protection in meaningful careers where they apply hi-tech skills that they learned in the GISDE program.

“The GISDE program at Clark University gave me practical geospatial expertise and applications knowledge, in addition to professional skills valued by the industry. The reason I was hired at Cabrera Services, Inc. as a GIS professional was because of my degree and experience from my education during the GISDE program at Clark University. The hiring manager told me that it is well known that this is ‘the best program for remote sensing and GIS’.”
Boriana Pangelova (GISDE/M.A.)

“If you are working in the GIS industry, an M.A. from Clark will open a lot of doors for you. It gives you a competitive edge necessary to survive in a highly competitive industry. Moreover, you will have an opportunity to think beyond how to maintain data and use software. You will have the chance to address real world problems.”
Sarah Elliott (GISDE/M.A.)

“My education at IDCE positioned me to get a job where I could apply GIS technology to development issues. I had worked in GIS and remote sensing production, but to do GIS analysis, I needed a graduate degree. Clark was a perfect fit. It had an emphasis on GIS analysis rather than GIS production, and I could find professors with the expertise in my interests: land-use change in the context of international development and natural resource management.”
Louis Paladino (GISDE/ M.A.); Peace Corps, Paraguay; GIS Research Engineer, I Sciences, LLC

“What I liked most about Clark’s program was the quality of the teaching. Clark does an excellent job of stressing GIS concepts rather than merely teaching how to use software. I also found that having the Idrisi Clark Labs organization nearby was another big advantage, both for employment opportunities and for the chance to observe cutting-edge developments in GIS software.”
David Benz (GISDE/M.A.); Peace Corps, Central African Republic;
Remote Sensing Research Assistant, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium

“I was drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of the GISDE program which allowed me the flexibility to pursue unique and innovative research. In addition, the advice and support of IDCE faculty, staff and fellow students played a major role in my Fulbright fellowship award, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”
Miguel Castrence (GISDE/M.A.); Fulbright Fellow.

 

[ Spotlight Profile ]

Jerome Chia-Rung Yang (GISDE '12)

worked as a research assistant for the National Children's Study with Prof. Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger. His off-campus internship experiences include: GIS technician at The Maine Department of Marine Resources , where he developed a web-mapping application and assisted in the ground truth work for sea grass mapping; part-time GIS analyst at the Center for Geographic Analyst, Harvard University, providing technical supports and processing data for the WorldMap web mapping platform.

Working with Hong Xia (GISDE '12), Jerome researched spatial statistical methods for epidemiology. The work won first prize of the student paper competition at the 2011 New England - Saint Lawrence Valley Geographical Society (NESTVAL). An extended project also won the 2011 Gellers Research Award from Marsh Institute (USD 2,250).

Jerome has presented at numerous conferences, including the Spatial Analysis and Modeling Specialty Group Student Paper Competition at The Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting in New York. After graduation, he will be working as a summer intern at Esri Inc. on the development of ArcGIS.com and ArcGIS JavaScript API.

 

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Late Applications:
Contact the Graduate Admissions Office at 508-793-7373
or gradadmissions@clarku.edu