AMES, Iowa -- Eleven planners and public officials from across the state received training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) geospatial technology at a two-day short course offered by Iowa State University Extension Community and Economic Development on July 12 and 13.
The short course, titled Basics of ArcGIS 9.2, is designed for community planners and other public officials who use GIS computer software. Participants, most of whom have no experience with GIS, learn to create maps, conduct beginning spatial analysis, and incorporate GIS mapping and analysis into their work.
Alan Jensen, ISU Extension geospatial technology specialist, and Neha Mohrotra, ISU lecturer in Community and Regional Planning, taught the course in the GIS outreach laboratory in the College of Design building on the ISU campus. Participants included planners and public officials from the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the East Central Intergovernmental Association (ECIA), Chariton Valley Planning and Development, four county governments (Sioux, Clayton, Appanoose and Humboldt) and the private sector.
Participant evaluations of the GIS short course were positive overall. When asked what they liked best about the course, many participants noted the hands-on training, small class size and knowledgeable instructors. Others found the price ($500) reasonable and indicated an interest in further instruction in GIS.
Jim Gonyier, co-director of transportation and planning at ECIA, found the course “good for beginners” and the written materials helpful. “I can go back to [the binder] later and find my way again,” he said.
Gonyier will use the skills he learned at the short course primarily to edit existing GIS maps to incorporate changes by planning and zoning commissions. Editing the maps himself eliminates the need for him to communicate the changes to a technician and will streamline the planning process.
The next GIS short course will be held in September. For course offerings and registration information, contact Alan Jensen at (515) 294-2073, firstname.lastname@example.org.