Geographic Information Systems

Seneca College Certificate


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used to automate the gathering, storage, analysis and communication of geospatial data in a variety of contexts, and for many specialized purposes by corporations and governments. Computer Assisted Drawing (CAD), Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Remote Sensing Devices that produce aerial earth imagery, are integrated with specialized software to develop maps that are clear, readable and useful.

Seneca College's GIS Certificate Program is designed to provide students with a strong general foundation in GIS applications, in order that the skills learned can be applied in any discipline in both public and private sectors. Graduates of this program are prepared for entry level positions in the fields of urban planning, civil and transportation engineering, natural resources and business.

Career Opportunities

GIS professionals are employed in many exciting occupations with private companies and municipal, regional, provincial and federal governments and agencies, including:

  • Map and database publishers, helping people find restaurants, avoid traffic delays or check for severe weather
  • Marketing and sales companies to accurately pinpoint target markets, and help retailers with locational decision making
  • Resource exploration companies, surveying land for potential mining or oil and gas opportunities
  • Real Estate companies
  • Travel companies
  • Railroads, Airlines and Trucking companies, improving traffic and transit flows
  • Utilities, determining where infrastructure is or should be located
  • Security and law enforcement, assisting governments with better policy decisions
  • Health agencies, tracking the spread of disease
  • Weather services, doing environmental monitoring and natural disaster tracking
  • Local government, maintaining property records and planning for parks and recreational activities

Some job titles include:

  • Aerial survey technicians
  • Remote sensing technicians
  • GIS technicians
  • Geomatics technicians
  • Map editors
  • Mapping technicians

For more information on GIS careers, please see the following sites:

Entry Requirements

Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), or equivalent, OR 19 years of age or older.

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Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

An overview of the fundamental concepts and terminology and the role of GIS in business, government, surveying and natural resources. The course will cover the collection, management, analysis and presentation of spatial data. Additional topics will include concepts of database systems, data modeling and digital mapping.

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GIS Software - ArcView


GIS100-Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

At the end of this course, the student should be able to create data in ArcView, to query and manipulate data and geocode addresses, perform spatial analysis, produce map outputs and charts. Included with the book is a fully functioning 180 day trial version of ArcGIS software that can be downloaded from the internet and a CD of data for the book's exercises. Students will require Windows OS to install the software.

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Remote Sensing


GIS100-Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

This course is designed to teach principles and applications of remote sensing at the introductory level. Remote sensing looks at the Earth from above, and is increasingly used by many professions in including planning, environmental science, real estate, agriculture and many others. At the end of the course, the student should understand the basic principles of remote sensing, how to use the software to manipulate image data and perform preliminary interpretation of data.

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Internet Mapping


GIS100-Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

This course examines various types of internet mapping. Topics include managing data for your internet map project, geographic markup language, web map service standards, open-source and commercial solutions to serving geographical data and common tasks, and issues involved in creating maps.

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Design Management/Implementation of GIS


GIS100-Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

In this course students develop a foundation for designing and maintaining a geographic information system and become familiar with existing databases, standards and industry practices for data management.
Required software: MS Access.

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Global Positioning Systems (GPS)


GIS100-Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

This course will start with an overview of GPS history and applications. With an emphasis on the principles of GPS and how they work, students will learn about satellites and the information and signals they transmit, types of receivers and what GPS can be used for. Topics covered include accuracy and positioning, errors associated with using GPS, absolute and differential techniques, types of signals, data collection considerations, undertaking mission planning. An introduction to other global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), GPS modernization, augmented GPS and future trends are also discussed. The use of a GPS receiver is NOT required for this course.

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Access Core

Learn to use MS Access for Windows, including pull-down menus, toolbars and dialog boxes. Access is a computerized database that allows you to manipulate, link, chart, query and report your data to customize the information you need. Access creates a system of relational database management in a user-friendly environment.

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Access Expert



Learn to use the advanced features of MS Access for Windows. Upon completion you will enhance tables by creating lookups, create various types of advanced queries, create advanced forms, create relationships between tables to ensure data accuracy, work with form controls, understand macro concepts, create, run and test Access macros, create and use switchboard forms, set Access defaults and apply Startup options.

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Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this program graduates will be able to:

  • Apply basic geographic concepts to GIS and its components
  • Acquire and develop spatial and attribute data utilized in a GIS
  • Maintain and update data utilized in a GIS
  • Apply the principles of map design and production
  • Design and develop finished products such as maps, posters and reports for external review
  • Incorporate GIS with remotely sensed data
  • Design and develop GIS databases
  • Design, manage and complete GIS projects

Credit for Prior Learning

Prior Learning Assessment

Earn college credits for what you already know!
Prior Learning Assessment is a method of assessing and recognizing learning that is equal to college level learning, but has been gained outside a traditional classroom (through work experience, volunteering, outside study, etc.). If you can prove that the knowledge you have gained meets the outcomes of a Seneca course, then credit will be awarded.

How does the PLA process work?
Prior Learning is demonstrated through a "challenge" process. The process measures learning through a variety of methods which may include tests, portfolio assessment, interviews, demonstrations, essays, and work samples. The method used will be determined in consultation with a Program Coordinator.
For more information and to determine if you are eligible for PLA, please call the Program Coordinator.

The process may take from 6 to 8 weeks.

Note: Not all courses can be challenged. For more information go to PLA website or contact your Program Coordinator.

Transfer Credit

Many students who enter Seneca College will have earned academic credits in post-secondary educational institutions which they may be able to apply toward completion of a Seneca College program.

Requests for Transfer Credit must be for a specific course and must be accompanied by an official transcript and course outline. A minimum grade of "C" (60 percent) is generally required for a course to be considered for Transfer Credit.

Download a Transfer Credit Request form. An official copy of your transcript and applicable detailed course outlines should be attached and submitted. Please note it may take 4 to 6 weeks for a Transfer Credit decision.

More Information

Please visit the Degree and Credit Transfer Office.


When you meet all program requirements and become eligible for a certificate, diploma, or degree, you must inform the Registrar by completing a Graduation Application form and paying the graduation and alumni fee. Certificates, diplomas, and applied degrees are issued twice a year in the Fall (October) and Spring (June).

For further information including deadlines and fees, please visit the  Convocation website or contact the Convocation Office at 416-491-5050 ext. 77461.

Minimum Performance for Graduation

Students will only be eligible to graduate with a Seneca College certificate or diploma if they have maintained an overall good standing in their current program of study. Students in degree programs will be eligible to graduate when they have obtained an average of C (2.5 GPA) in courses in the main field of study, and an average of C (2.0 GPA) in all other courses.

Residency Requirements

A Faculty of Seneca College may recommended a student for a certificate, diploma or degree only after the student has earned a minimum of twenty-five percent of the credit for that program at Seneca.

Program Contacts

Contact us via this form or using the phone number(s) below it.

Ramya Kottapalli
Program Assistant

416-491-5050 ext.22663

Tina Kotsiomitis
Academic Program Manager

416-491-5050 ext.22515