Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City

Academic Advisor


Donna Pergrem
Academic Advisor
(405) 945-3215


STEM Scholarship Application



Ryan K. Hightower, PLS
Department Head, Surveying Technologies
(405) 945-8615


GIS Analyst

Surveyors who use geographic information systems, or GIS, use sophisticated software that maps data relative to a physical location. Developing a map or visual representation of data helps people solve problems and make decisions. For example, city planners may use a GIS study to determine where a new roadway should be built. This field is growing quickly, mostly due to high-tech computer software and hardware that stores, displays, analyzes, and maps information. Large companies and commercial developers also use GIS studies.


GIS involves layering data about a particular site. In a GIS study, the land survey is the first layer, creating the framework for additional layers that give more detail, such as the exact positions of street signs, traffic lights, telephone poles, and fire hydrants in a city. City planners use this type of GIS study.


Another example where GIS can be helpful is in tracking the extent of the existing and potential damage after an area of hazardous waste is discovered. A GIS analyst will layer sets of data about the area where the hazardous waste is located. Surveyors provide the data that describes and defines the limits of the polluted site. The data layers could be the slope of the land, the groundwater and surface water sources, vegetation, location of cities and roadways. By layering these data sets on one map, a GIS analyst can provide information to those responsible for cleaning up the pollution.