GIS is a suite of multidisciplinary tools that can be used to turn geographic data into actionable intelligence, which can be used to solve real-world problems. There are several applications of GIS, such as deciding on an optimal location for a new grocery store to eliminate food deserts, or measuring the impacts of climate change by predicting and visualizing flood levels. The School of Geography and Earth Sciences is a Centre of Excellence by Esri Canada (ECCE) (there are only 10 in Canada), which means McMaster is one of the best places in the country to learn about GIS. We move beyond the standard analysis taught at most schools, to the more innovative aspects of GIS technology, including web, mobile and 3D components of GIS software. Our aim is to help students develop skills in spatial data management, analysis, software customization and app development. To that end, our students have the opportunity to compete annually in national and international app challenges, and they have been quite successful to date, winning several of these challenges.
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