Western Nevada Community College is offering a newly-approved geographic information systems associate degree.
There is also a new full-time instructor to direct the program.
The University and Community College System of Nevada Board of Regents approved WNCC's two-year associate of applied science in geographic information systems degree, along with a one-year Certificate of Achievement in GIS. And WNCC has hired its first full-time GIS instructor, Chris Ryan, who has eight years of experience working for the National Geographic Society in teacher education programs.
Ryan holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno in geography/GIS and climatology. He's also taught for the University of Nevada and California college systems for nine years.
As with the new graphic design program approved by regents, there is a strong demand for those who can master these new technical fields.
"The applications for GIS are virtually limitless," Ryan said.
"Probably the most common application is land use planning. GIS can be used in real estate development, water management and timber management. GIS is also becoming more common in social sciences such as census, tax assessments and geographic data in general."
Both the GIS and a new graphic design program are taught at the High Tech Center adjacent to Carson High School in classrooms specifically designed to meet the demands of the powerful new computer programs.
Two GIS courses are offered fall semester which begins Monday. GIS 103 CO1, Fundamentals of GIS, call 30109, is offered Tuesday evenings, and GIS 110 CO1 Principles of Cartography, call 30132, is offered on Wednesday evenings. Both courses are three-credit university transfer courses.