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Students gain access to growing industry through new UNI/Kirkwood bridge program

April 29, 2014

Patrick Pease, head, UNI Department of Geography, 319-273-7117,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Due to the rising popularity of location-based technology such as smartphone apps and in-car GPS systems, opportunities in the field of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are on the rise. Students can join this rapidly growing industry more easily, thanks to a new bridge program between the University of Northern Iowa and Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. The program gives Kirkwood students the opportunity to network with UNI students and faculty before joining UNI's Graphic Information Science program.

"The range of careers in GIS is very diverse because we've reached a point where almost everyone is using some form of geospatial data," said Patrick Pease, head of UNI's Department of Geography. "People often don't make the connection between things like location-based apps on their phone, in-car GPS systems, interactive Web maps and Google Earth as all being connected to a geospatial industry, but those only scratch the surface of how and where this technology is being used."

The new bridge program gives students access to these opportunities while strengthening UNI's program. "Our program is stronger because of the quality of students that transfer from Kirkwood," said Pease. "They are among our best. They are very well prepared, enthusiastic and able to enter midway through our program seamlessly."

Graduates of UNI's GIS program have found careers at businesses and public agencies including Garmin International in Kansas City, the City of Dubuque, Alliant Energy, John Deere and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

For more information, contact Pease at 319-273-7117 or