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Geographical Information Systems/GIS

Associate of Arts (AA) EmphasisECC GIS students in classroom

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is one of the top emerging careers, according to the Association of Career and Technical Educators; it can be used in almost any industry to maximize efficiency and profitability. GIS involves the use of advanced hardware and software to assist in the collection, analysis and visualization of data and then representing that data in a geographical view, such as on charts and maps. GIS professionals help interpret and visualize data that reveals patterns and trends, which then can be used to make more informed decisions and map data geospatially. Examples of GIS projects include mapping and predicting of flood plains or forest fires, or charting demographic trends within a given population.

GIS training includes advanced mathematics and statistics, problem-solving, and a high level of computer skills, including use of the latest computer-generated imaging software; students interested in GIS should have an aptitude or interest in all of these areas. ECC’s GIS students learn to use this advanced hardware and software to collect, analyze and visualize data in geographical views with charts and maps.

ECC’s GIS program is a two-year Associate of Arts (AA) transfer degree that prepares graduates for employment directly after graduation or for transferring their ECC credits to complete a baccalaureate/bachelor’s degree at a university. This program includes a paid on-the-job training internship that has proven to be invaluable to our students for professional networking, building their resumes, and getting their foot in the door to make a great impression on a local employer.


GIS professionals are employed in the agriculture, public safety, real estate, conservation, transportation, sales, and logistics industries. Recent advancements in mapping technology have led to new uses for maps and an increased need for more of the data used to build maps. As a result, GIS professionals are expected to have more work.


ECC’s two-year Associate of Arts (AA) transfer degree is designed to meet the requirements of colleges and universities to which students may wish to transfer for completion of baccalaureate (BA or BS) degrees. In many instances, transfer colleges accept this degree as equivalent to their own general education requirements.

Because the requirements for an AA transfer degree change periodically, students should check with their academic advisor or the ECC Admissions Office to confirm that they have the most current information. Students are responsible for knowing the requirements for the degree they hope to obtain and for planning their schedule accordingly.

The majority of ECC’s GIS majors transfer to Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Iowa, Northwest Missouri State University and South Dakota State University.

Admissions Partnership Program with Iowa State, UNI and Iowa

ECC participates in the Admissions Partnership Program with Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa and the University of Iowa to enable ECC students to transfer credits seamlessly to any of the state universities. Participants are dual-enrolled at ECC and the university with access to academic advising and student services at both institutions. The universities guarantee admission into the desired degree program, provided all requirements are met. Ask the ECC Admissions Office for more information!


  • ECC is one of only two Iowa community colleges that offers a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) program.
  • ECC currently has the 17th highest student success rate in the entire nation, and our graduates have one of the lowest average student debt loads of any college in Iowa.
  • The College offers generous scholarships and financial aid packages … there are many agriculture scholarships available, including the Bob & Arlene Hamilton Excellence in Agriculture Scholarships, which cover nearly a full year’s tuition and fees!
  • What students appreciate about ECC is our smaller class sizes, which results in more one-on-one attention from the instructor and greater classroom success.
  • Professor Kevin Butt has been teaching agriculture at ECC since 2004. He has been recognized nationally as one of four Outstanding Postsecondary Agriculture Education Teachers in the United States.


Kevin Butt

Kevin Butt

Kevin grew up on a farm just outside of Iowa Falls and still helps with the family farm operations. He graduated from Ellsworth in 1990 with...

Kevin grew up on a farm just outside of Iowa Falls and still helps with the family farm operations. He graduated from Ellsworth in 1990 with an Associate’s degree in Ag Science, then transferred to Iowa State University, where he graduated with bachelor’s degrees in Ag Education and Animal Science. Kevin spent several years working...

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