New fast-track certificate program offers hi-tech training

Maui College
Posted: Jul 14, 2014

Sarah McLane, GIS Educational Specialist and instructor for UH Maui College.
Sarah McLane, GIS Educational Specialist and instructor for UH Maui College.

Kahului, HI— Starting this August, UH Maui College, Hawai‘i Community College and Kaua‘i Community College will offer two accelerated, eight-week credit courses in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) leading to a Certificate of Competence in GIS. Instruction will be delivered through online classes and in-person labs.

GIS allows users to visualize, question, analyze, interpret, and understand data to reveal relationships, patterns, and trends. Using specialized software systems and techniques, students will apply hands-on skills to solve real world problems while learning to think geographically. The versatility of GIS technology makes the certificate applicable for higher skill, higher wage jobs.

“[GIS is] no longer used solely by geographers. GIS concepts are used by real estate professionals, the Visitor’s Bureau, local government, environmental groups and many more businesses in our community,” says Carol Kennedy, GIS administrator for the Maui Electric Company. “With the wide variety of industries that now depend on GIS information and analysis, providing training locally only makes sense.”

Jill LaBram, Natural Resource/GIS Technician for the West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership, uses GIS to help protect forested watersheds. “GIS allows us to document and map priority invasive weeds that may need treatment, take a location of a rare species that we need to find again in order to monitor its status, or show a potential route for a fence line to prevent ungulates from damaging the native forest,” says LaBram. “[It] gives conservation and natural resource managers the ability to look at data on a spatial scale to guide management direction and make effective decisions.”

The certificate is part of a FAST TRACK curriculum, which can be completed in one semester. GIS 150 and GIS 180 will be offered consecutively August 27th - December 18th 2014. Students must enroll at UH Maui College, Hawai‘i Community College or Kaua‘i Community College and sign up for the courses before the August 1st submission deadline. It’s recommended to apply before the early admission deadline (July 15th) to ensure all paperwork is approved.  

For more information on the courses visit

The Geographic Information Systems program is partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in the amount of $402,434. Funding does not pay for student costs to participate. The GIS program is an equal opportunity employer/program.  Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.