GIS and the FAST: Past, Present and Future

How GES and the Facility for Advanced Spatial Technology Are Moving CLAS into the Future

Tracy Kohm, Editor | Pinnacle Bimonthly Newsletter | February 25, 2015

Facility for Advanced Spatial Technology staffGeospatial thinking, the future of GIS, and interdisciplinary geographical pursuits at CU Denver
There are fields of study where methods have changed so drastically in the span of a single human lifetime that questions once thought impossible to solve are now easily within reach. Medicine, engineering, and aeronautics come to mind when we think of giant technological leaps of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but add Geographic Information Systems to that list. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based way of looking at various types of spatial or geographical data that are captured, stored, manipulated, analyzed, managed, and presented through technologies that were largely developed in the past fifty years. GIS creates levels of understanding about our world and its spaces that were never before thought possible by previous generations of geographers and cartographers. When John Wyckoff, now Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff Affairs, earned his PhD in 1980 the field of GIS was still new. Fourteen years later, when he was hired to Chair the Geography and Geology Department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, CLAS had only had one GIS course on the books—and Wyckoff can’t be certain it had ever actually been taught. At the time, geography was moving toward the bright future presented by new technological advances in the world of GIS and, more broadly, Geographic Information Science and Technology (GISc&T). One of Wyckoff’s prime directives was to launch a GIS program within the department. Today, GISc&T enables teaching and researching in ways that are far more advanced than could have been imagined when Wyckoff was a student himself.

In addition to exciting practical applications and exploration of our communities, education and training in GISc&T is also   Read More