University of Maine at Machias to offer new Degree in Environmental Geographic Information Science

University of Maine at Machias to offer new Degree in Environmental Geographic Information Science

Machias, Maine — Beginning in fall 2020, the University of Maine at Machias will be the only public university in Maine to offer a four-year degree program in geographic information systems (GIS).

The bachelor’s degree in environmental geographic information science replaces UMM’s major in environmental studies.

University of Maine -environmental GIS
Tora Johnson (right) with students in UMM’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab. The new four-year program in environmental GIS can be completed on campus or online.

The curriculum will point students toward more specific career paths within the field of environmental GIS, says program director Tora Johnson. Three concentrations will allow students to focus on a specific sector of the geospatial workforce, where employment opportunities range from conservation and community planning to land surveying and data analysis.

Two of those concentrations will be offered as fully online degree pathways: community applications, which will incorporate community studies and social sciences; and spatial data sciences, which will incorporate quantitative analysis and programming skills.

A third concentration in ecological applications, incorporating field-based courses in biology and ecology, will require on-campus attendance for a minimum of three semesters.

As part of a 4+1 program partnership with the University of Maine, environmental GIS students also will have the opportunity to take graduate-level coursework online and complete a master’s degree in spatial informatics in one year.

Johnson has directed UMM’s GIS Laboratory and Service Center since 2004, teaching courses for a GIS minor and certificate program. Her students have completed a number of service-oriented mapping projects, including assessments of flood resilience and climate vulnerability for Washington County.

“Our GIS program is already widely known for hands-on, practical training and linking students to internship and job opportunities,” she says. “We’re thrilled to expand this program for our students, and to address a growing need for qualified workers in the field.”

For more information about the new program, visit

About the University of Maine at Machias: The University of Maine at Machias, a regional campus of the University of Maine, awards baccalaureate and associate degrees, and certificates. It is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education as part of the University of Maine. Established in 1909, UMM is the easternmost university campus in the United States. The area’s bountiful natural resources, and rich environmental, recreational, cultural, and education traditions inform the campus.

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