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Geographic Information Systems Technician

Get equipped with the skills required to be work-ready as a GIS Technician.

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Start Date:
Typical Length:
1 Year

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Throughout this hands-on program, you use your curiosity, creativity and computer skills to solve real world geospatial problems. This program has a strong emphasis on collecting, managing, processing and presenting geospatial data using industry-leading software and tools:

  • Desktop, mobile, open source and web GIS
  • Computer-aided drafting (CAD)
  • Global positioning systems (GPS)
  • Remote sensing
  • Models and scripts
  • Databases

Choose NSCC

  • NSCC's Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) provides a focused approach to geomatics training. COGS has earned a strong reputation among employers and geomatics professionals for the quality of the programs, hands-on training and practical learning provided to students.
  • You learn in an environment that is dedicated to geomatics training, working alongside other students studying related disciplines.
  • Small class sizes provide you with lots of opportunities for one-on-one interaction and support.
  • You use the most up-to-date equipment and software and get the hands-on training that makes COGS grads the preferred choice of employers.

Other info

  • Important abilities and skills – Coursework or experience in geographic science, as well as good computer skills (computer terminology, file management, internet and office applications), are recommended to be successful in this program.
  • Safety training – This program places a high importance on providing you with skills and knowledge to work safely in industry. You participate in a number of introductory safety awareness courses to prepare for employment.
  • Many employers in this industry require a current, official Criminal Record check as part of the hiring process. A conviction on your criminal record may impact your ability to secure employment.

2021-22 programs

Program delivery may be subject to change based on Public Health guidelines.

September 2021

Campus Location Full time/part time Delivery Availability
COGS Lawrencetown Full time In-class Seats available

Admission requirements

  • High School Graduation Diploma or equivalent.
    • International students – High school diploma equivalency and English language requirements vary by country. View details


Tuition is valid for the 2020-21 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for college services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Graduates are prepared to enter a rapidly growing industry. Job titles include:
    • GIS Technician
    • Mapping Technician
    • Computer-assisted Drafting (CAD) Technician
    • Geomatics Technician
    • GIS Technologist
    • Remote Sensing Technician
    • Cartographic Technician

Future study options

  • Continue your studies at university. This program includes courses that count towards a university degree. Find out more

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

COMM 2008 - Communication and Portfolio Development
This course introduces students to communications techniques including writing for technical purposes, presentation techniques, and interpretive reading. Office productivity software is highlighted as tools for project documentation, presentation, and other communication products. Students develop a portfolio to lay the groundwork for job readiness.

COMP 1030 - Introduction to Computer Applications and Databases
This course exposes students to a variety of supportive software applications and an introduction to relational databases. This includes working with file management tools, utilities, using office software with particular emphasis on spreadsheets and databases. Emphasis is placed on the implementation of these tools to create and manipulate spatial and non-spatial data at an introductory level.

GIST 1000 - GIS I
This course introduces students to concepts related to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial data. The course provides students with the skills required to acquire, assemble, prepare and manage GIS data using modern, industry standard software packages. Geographic related questions are answered, and results presented using a variety of methods.

GIST 1006 - Geodesy and Data Acquisition
This course exposes students to basic concepts of geodesy and global navigation satellite systems. Students are introduced to map projections, ellipsoids, datums, and datum transformations. In addition, students explore the theory required to plan, acquire, and process GNSS acquired data for applications such as land use mapping, civic addressing and asset mapping. Students also investigate the issues associated with handling the data.

GIST 1007 - Terrain Analysis
This course draws upon a natural history approach to explore the environment. It provides both a general overview of landforms and topics related to the local environment, and a framework in which natural resources can be understood, managed and interpreted. It also introduces a basic environmental engineering perspective to assist students in evaluating terrain with respect to development suitability. As students study ecology and the basic elements of our environment such as geology, soils, climate, vegetation and hydrology they are introduced to a range of contemporary environmental issues.

GIST 1008 - Introduction to Remote Sensing
This introductory course provides fundamental theory and skills of Earth Observation Systems. Students explore the principles of image acquisition from airborne and space-borne sensors. Topics include the characteristics of the electromagnetic spectrum, interpretation and applications of remotely sensed data. Fundamental photogrammetry concepts are also introduced.

GIST 1009 - Introduction to Mapping
This course covers basic topics in use, interpretation, analysis and cartographic design concepts of maps. Before learners can create meaningful maps they must have a grasp of the fundamentals of map components, use, and analysis. These include issues related to interpretation, types of data and their impacts. Hands on activities provide students with vital experience in basic map interpretation. The relationship between qualitative and quantitative data types, layouts, typography and use of appropriate map symbology is explored.

GIST 1010 - Web GIS
This course is designed to provide students with hands-on experiences in the use of Web based Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Students explore how to use Web GIS Services to geoprocess, manage and present web-based data. Students use these tools to share results online.

GIST 2000 - GIS II
Building on the concepts learned in GEOS 1000 (Geographic Information Systems (GIS) I), students construct an information system using various data types in modern, industry standard software. Major components of a GIS, the functionality of these components, and the interrelationship between GIS and other sciences and technologies are explored. Spatial analysis is performed to answer basic geographic related questions and present results in a meaningful way.

GIST 2001 - Open Source GIS
This course provides students with an opportunity to investigate a range of free, open-source technologies for desktop and web-based mapping and data analysis. The course examines open-source mapping technology, interoperability and open standards as well as issues associated with open-source geospatial software solutions.

GIST 2002 - Mobile GIS
This course exposes students to the process of developing mobile Geographic Information Systems (GIS) projects. It examines all the steps involved from the planning phase right through to the project deployment. Students gain practical experience at modifying existing data, maps, and GIS workflows to the mobile environment.

GIST 2005 - Geoprocessing and Problem Solving
This course introduces students to a scripting language and shows how scripting can be used to access and automate geoprocessing functionality within a Geographic Information System (GIS). Students are exposed to scripting syntax, write simple scripts to automate geoprocessing operations, and learn how to incorporate scripts to solve real world problems.

GIST 2006 - Environmental Analysis Studio
The course provides a foundation for evaluating environmental factors using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) skills. Students participate in a team-oriented planning study of a local watershed. Environmental issues and concepts are presented, but the course is primarily practical in nature, as students prepare new maps and present them for discussion and analysis in a seminar. Emphasis is placed on the balance between social, environmental, and economic considerations as sustainable development is pursued within the context of community values.

GIST 2007 - Introduction to CAD
Students become familiar with the tools of computer-aided drafting (CAD) software to create accurate and spatially correct vector data. Scale and output to plotting/printing devices are covered.

GIST 2020 - Applied Learning
GIST 2020 (Applied Learning) is the first of the campus-based applied learning experiences which may consist of work experience, directed studies, industry projects or applied research and will take place in the final five (5) weeks of the first academic year.

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