Since 2003, Emily Griffith Technical College (EGTC) has introduced the fascinating science of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to interested learners. The program integrates computerized geographic information, satellite images, digital maps, and global positioning systems in decision support systems.
EGTC will be participating in the City and County of Denver’s observation of National GIS Day on Wednesday November 16, 2016 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. GIS students of EGTC will showcase some of their real-world projects showcasing a variety of software technologies. Gregg Van De Mark, who began his GIS studies in August, will present a unique study to the attendees and intends to “outshine” the other presenters who being their “lightning talks” at 12:30pm.
Van De Mark, 53 and father of 3 children, formerly practiced law, focusing on debt-collection and workers’ compensation issues. He believes, “Law hasn’t caught up with GIS, a booming field with new applications being developed all the time.” By adding GIS skills to his portfolio, he will increase his marketability and create a unique niche for his law practice. “GIS has applications in social, political, economic, cultural realms and the amount of information that can be extrapolated in its studies is vast.”
Students studying GIS at the College have a range of backgrounds and interests and EGTC is adding a part-time evening hybrid course in 2017 with classes starting in January, February and March.
For a class assignment, Van De Mark embarked on an explanation of the diminishing amounts of Spanish moss in central Texas, where he grew up. Looking at maps provided on the Texas National Resources website, his eye turned to a gap in running river waters which he immediately recognized as being in his hometown of Austin. His studies then focused on the result of significant urbanization that has occurred and the gap in regulatory authority. His presentation, Flooding Through the Edwards Aquifer Regulatory Gap, will illustrate the findings that show surface runoff flood hazards in unregulated urban areas. Flood hazards in regulated urban areas seem confined to creeks that existed prior to urbanization and/or regulation. The issues of development and protection of the aquifer resources have been and continue to be, the subject of constant discussion in central Texas.
“Creeks are now at risk for significant damage, as are some of the metropolitan park spaces in that area. This could result in toxic surroundings of a growing residential area.” With this acquired analytic skill, Van De Mark is eager to focus on the legal field with a focus on such things as land use, commercial development, environmental regulation and litigation.
The City and County of Denver’s GIS Day, “Connecting Communities Through Data” celebration is a free event and open to the public at the Wellington Webb Municipal Building at 201 W. Colfax. This year’s event will showcase a wide range of GIS products, tools and applications from Denver’s GIS community. There will be live music, free lunch, cake prizes and map displays that will be exhibited from 11/14 through 11/18 in honor of Geography Awareness Week.
GIS job growth is projected to increase 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Increasing use of maps for national security and local government planning should fuel employment growth. For this reason, job prospects are likely to be excellent for GIS.