The NCGIA Core Curriculum

During the 1988-89 school year, with the assistance of 35 GIS educators in the US, Canada and the UK, the NCGIA developed a comprehensive set of lecture notes intended to identify and describe a core set of knowledge about GIS that should be taught to beginning GIS professionals. During the following year over 100 institutions around the world used the materials in their GIS courses and provided thorough evaluation of the contents and structure. Based on this detailed review, the materials were extensively revised and the final version was ready for distribution in August 1990. More information on the development of the Curriculum can be found in the references listed at the end of this document.

The NCGIA Core Curriculum in GIS is a 1000+ page document organized into three volumes -- Introduction to GIS, Technical Issues in GIS and Application Issues in GIS. Each volume includes sufficient material for a one-term length course and contains 25 units of lecture notes with accompanying handouts, overheads, 35mm slides and suggested discussion and examination questions. While the Curriculum was designed primarily for use as an instructional development tool, the materials have also been used as class notes for distribution to students and as a self-study guide.

Distribution of the Curriculum

Between August 1990 and January 1995, over 1300 copies of the Curriculum have been distributed by the NCGIA to over 70 countries. The US accounts for just slightly more than half of the copies distributed. Educational institutions also have received half, with the remaining copies going to government and commercial organizations, bookstores and to private individuals.

In addition to the copies distributed directly by the NCGIA, several hundred more have been distributed by designated National Distribution Sites. The National Distribution Program was instituted to assist in the dissemination of the Curriculum in developing countries, as well as in countries where translation is necessary. As of January 1995, national distribution sites have been granted in Brazil, Canada (forthe French translation only), China, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Russia and Saudi Arabia. As a result, the Curriculum is now also available in Portugese, Chinese, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian and French.

More Information

Kemp, K.K. and M.F. Goodchild (1991). Developing a curriculum in Geographic Information Systems: The National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis Core Curriculum project. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 15(2):121-132.

Kemp, K.K. and F.M. Goodchild (1992). Evaluating a major innovation in higher education: the NCGIA Core Curriculum in GIS. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 16(1):21-35.


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