Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are tools that combine cartography, statistical analysis, and database technologies for use in informing decisions.  The field of GIS involves learning software, computer hardware, dataset applications, and data collection.  The result is a broad-scale ability to conduct research and answer questions using geospatial data.  Satellite remote sensing (RS) is the continually growing field of geospatial observation that utilizes electromagnetic sensors on satellites and aircrafts to analyze phenomena on land, in the oceans, and in the atmosphere.  GIS and remote sensing are used in combination to address a virtually unlimited number of applications.

Areas where GIS & RS are applied in Earth System Science include disaster response, public health and disease mapping, geology, archaeology, ecological forecasting, forestry, green energy, coastal issues, biodiversity, weather, hydrology, climate change, and many others.  Because GIS and remote sensing are tools and not just a topical focus, graduates in this track can go on to pursue careers in a wide range of fields where they can apply the technology they have learned to many different research, decision-making, or public policy-related issues.  Earth System Science graduates who choose to specialize in GIS and Remote Sensing are in high demand, and pursue careers in State and Federal Government, the private sector, academia, and non-governmental organizations.

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