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Geospatial Science

Essential skills for a changing world.
Geospatial science is a rapidly growing discipline with applications in government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations.

Majors and Minors

Geographic Information Science

Geographic Information Science


Compete for more than $350,000 in the Carthage Math/Science Scholarship Competition.

Courses and field work in the Carthage Geospatial Science Department emphasize critical thinking and problem solving, preparing graduates with essential skills for analyzing today’s global challenges: environmental change, water resources, energy supplies and shortages, population growth and shifts, hunger, disease, and regional conflicts.

Programs Offered


Geospatial scientists study the world we live in and on. The discipline focuses on spatial analysis — studying the processes that determine where and how people interact with their environment. At Carthage, the geoscience curriculum will prepare you to address global challenges ranging from climate change and sustainability to environmental hazards and biodiversity. In geoscience courses, you will learn how to collect and analyze data from the field, in the lab, and from online sources.

The foundation for understanding problems is a thorough knowledge of the Earth’s structure, landforms, hydrology, and patterns of climates, vegetation, and soils. You will develop the analytical and statistical skills to interpret data and construct models and maps. We encourage our students to combine classroom study with internships, community service, and independent research.

Geographic Information Science

In Geographic Information Science (GIS), you will learn to use software, web-based geospatial applications, and database management systems, developing skills for cartographic representation, spatial analysis, and geovisualization. GIS students use many tools, including mapping and statistical software, remote sensing, and global positioning systems. In addition to weekly hand-on labs, students in higher level GIS classes routinely engage in service learning projects partnered with local, regional, and national organizations, government agencies, and businesses.

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Internships and Professional Development

The Geospatial Science Department has a network of alumni and faculty contacts, and we will help you find internships, jobs, and educational development opportunities that will give you real world experience and enhance your skills. In the summer of 2016, current students engaged in:

  • An NSF-funded study of energy transfers in thunderstorms.
  • A SeaGrant internship.
  • Two students working full-time on a NASA-funded remote sensing and forestry project.
  • A GIS internship with the Kenosha Water Utility.
  • Educating hikers on the Appalachian Trail in New England.

Capstone Experience

All Carthage students must complete a senior thesis to graduate. As part of this capstone experience, students develop and conduct original or applied research in their junior and senior years. Some projects have been presented at national venues such as Posters on the Hill, the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, and the annual conference of Association of American Geographers, as well as on campus at the College’s annual Celebration of Scholars event.


J-Term is a month-long period of intense study, with opportunities to take courses on campus and to travel. The Geospatial Science Department offers courses every J-Term. Recent on-campus offerings include The Science of Global Climate Change and The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource: Water. Recent off-campus study tours include study tours to China, Japan, the Himalayas, Nicaragua, Hawaii, Belize, Iceland, and the Grand Canyon.

“As a transfer student who came into Carthage as a junior, I found the Geospatial Science faculty to be very welcoming. They were always available to meet to answer questions or give advice. Additionally, the curriculum provided me with an excellent learning experience through a variety of challenging courses. The GIS minor specifically prepared me well to begin my career right out of school.”
— Kevin Steltzriede ’15

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