Midland College offers geographic information system courses

Midland College offers geographic information system courses

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - With the City of Midland growing, the technology advances. Now, Midland College is helping the community by offering courses on Geographic Information Systems, also known as GIS. They are partnering with a company to use their software.

"I had a lot of interest from students who we've had from other courses about GIS training," said Director Curtis Helms of the Midland College's Petroleum Professional Development Center. "A lot of the tools we use, use GIS but a lot of people don't know that."

GIS is a computer-based system used to look at maps that store and analyze layers of data.

"It's kind of like Google Earth and Excel were merged into two different formats," said City of Midland's GIS Manager Ryan Farmer.

It's typically used in areas by oil and gas professionals, engineers and surveyors. But it's also used by other departments and it's more common than you think.

"We use GIS data to help us determine the location of our new Station 6 that we just opened up," said Interim-Fire Chief Chip Balzer with the Midland Fire Department. "It helped us to better locate it to where the trends were going. The growth of the city feeds into that."

The Midland Fire Department has used it from looking at areas that receive the most calls to analyzing response times at certain locations.

"We looked at Station 6, for example, using the drive time parameters and a layer in GIS," said Balzer. "We can layer in and factor in what a potential drive time to any particular drive time might be from any particular address around town."

All this becomes possible through the help of the city's GIS Department, they're constantly updating the city's interactive maps. They use the same software as Midland College called ESRI.

Professionals taking the courses can have more one-on-one interactions without having to travel far distances. As Midland College continues to expand GIS courses, the city could see even more growth.

"We'll have a lot of resources and power users," said Farmer. "Having them here in going to be a real benefit. They'll be able to stay local and stay closer to their normal work days but also stay on top of technologies."

The first class is called Python for ArcGIS - Writing Scripts to Manipulate GIS data. The class teaches students writing scripts, Python syntax, variables, loop constructs and conditional statements. The class will be offered from May 22 to May 24 at 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Another class is called Fundamentals for ArcGIS for Petroleum. It teaches students the data that ArcGIS supports and how to manipulate it. It will be offered from June 5 to June 6 at 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The GIS classes will take place at the MC Advanced Technology Center on 3200 W. Cuthbert Ave. in Midland.

There will be other classes under GIS that will be offered in the summer. For more information, you can contact the college enrollment coordinator at (432) 681-6301.

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