GIS is an integral part of teaching and research within the Environmental Science (ES) curriculum and beyond. Students at Allegheny have many opportunities to learn about GIS and gain direct hands-on experience. These include the ENVSC 215: Introduction to Environmental Mapping and ENVSC 315: Advanced Environmental Mapping courses. Other courses that regularly make use of GIS include Environmental Research Methods, Forest Ecosystems and Management, Process Geomorphology, Stream Ecology, and World Regional Geography. Likewise, many students incorporate aspects of geospatial technologies (GIS, GPS, and remote sensing) into their senior thesis, internship, and independent study projects. Whether students continue on to graduate school or seek employment, these experiences provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in areas where spatial analysis is a critical component of research or work.
GIS is also being used to support a number of faculty research projects in a diverse range of applications. These include biomonitoring in the French Creek watershed, bedrock and surficial geologic mapping of NW Pennsylvania, and modeling the risk to Lyme disease in northern California. These projects also provide great learning experiences for students as faculty often rely heavily on them for data collection, spatial analysis, and presentation of results. This work is made possible by the use of a state-of-the-art GIS facility in Carr Hall. The GIS lab boasts 25 computer workstations running the latest versions of ArcGIS Desktop, ERDAS Imagine, and Trimble Pathfinder Office, ArcGIS Server for building and deploying web mapping services and applications, 20 GPS receivers for field data collection, a SMART board, wide-format scanners and plotters, as well as a host of other tools and resources. Finally, a full-time GIS Manager is available to assist students and faculty with all their GIS needs.