Geographic Information Systems – Applications Specialist

  • Take a virtual tour of the GIS wing. The tour was created as a GIS Collaborative Project by a team of three GIS students.

September 2023

Accepting Applications
Ontario College Graduate Certificate ( 3 semesters )
Classes begin:
September 05, 2023
Offered at:
Frost Campus
Program code:
Sem 1 Delivery:
In Person
Tuition & Ancillary Fees:
$2,508.65 per semester*
$8,651.70 per semester*
*Tuition amounts are from the 2022-2023 academic year and are subject to change.
Complete tuition detail below

The Geographic Information Systems Application Specialist is the "wizard" who provides technical expertise to produce effective and useful plans and project reports through the applied use of technology.

Please note: this program is being offered online for the 2021-22 academic year, and program delivery is synchronous.

Program Highlights

GIS Specialists help manage the world we live in by better understanding it. Through data integration, modeling, analysis and visually communicating ideas, GIS is used to help make informed decisions that affects every aspect of our planet and the life on it.

The program provides a comprehensive understanding of the most used software tools, analysis techniques and data management from cloud and enterprise databases, workflow automation and how to best display your findings. As well, the program focuses on:

  • GIS database development and combining data from file, web and open data sources
  • Spatial analysis to understand and explore complex problems using all types of data
  • GIS data management that focuses on other non-Esri data sources
  • Efficiency of tasks through the automation of repetitive workflows using Python and JavaScript libraries
  • Creating interactive web-based programs, printed maps and infographics allowing anyone to understand and explore your findings

In addition to acquiring a hands-on foundation using GIS technology tools, you will have many opportunities for team building, project management, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Since employers are seeking these broad-based transferrable skills, this experience working in technology teams will give you an edge in the workplace

This three-semester program starts in September with a 15-week semester ending in December, continues in January with another 15-week semester ending in April, and concludes with a seven-week semester starting in May and ending in June.

Not Sure Which GIS Program is Right For You?

The common first semester in the GIS - Application Specialist and GIS - Cartographic Specialist programs gives an overview and understanding of the technologies and diverse skills particular to careers in these fields at the same time as providing a solid foundation in GIS knowledge and skills. The programs share 80% of their curriculum and, subject to enrolment capacity, you can change between Cartographic and Application Specialist programs for semester two.

Why Choose Fleming

With a well-established reputation in industry for producing high-quality graduates, we are constantly evolving to use the latest software and technology to meet current and future demands of the field. An emphasis on applied and real-world learning, along with best-in-class learning environments and faculty that are well-connected to employers, ensures our graduates find good jobs and rewarding careers.

Work Experience

You'll spend a significant part of your time in the program doing experiential work - putting theory into practice. A co-operative GIS project in the final semester involves cross-disciplinary teams from the GIS Applications Specialist and Cartographic Specialist programs working together on a project for a business, government, or industry client.

Is this You?

Knowing your way around a computer, hardware and software, is definitely high on the list of skills you need to succeed in this field. You should also possess the following:

  • interest in ongoing education and upgrading
  • creativity
  • perseverance (there are many challenges)
  • willingness to work hard (a 40 - 60 hour work week in the program)
  • energy and persistence
  • analytical skills
  • problem solving ability

Career Opportunities

Canadian Businessrecently published an article on "Canada’s Best Jobs." The article states:

"The explosion of big data and the growing need for location-aware hardware and software has led to a boom in the field of mapping," concluding that this field is "…poised for growth, with the highest projected demand among the top 20 jobs."

Read the article

As a graduate, the future looks bright with your expertise in big data. There's a consistently high placement rate within six to 12 months of graduating from the GIS - Applications Specialist program, and opportunities for advancement. On graduation, when combined with your previous education/work experience, you could work in positions as diverse as GIS programmer/analyst, applications specialist/consultant, ecosystem IT manager, utilities manager, database manager, GIS systems operator, and land information manager. The options for career change are strong. You can go back to your previous profession and apply your GIS studies there, or make a move into a new career.

Interested in this program, but not sure about taking it on as a full-time student? Learn about our part-time option here.

Trent University

You can obtain a Trent University Honours Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts Degree in either Geography or Environmental Science/Studies and a Geographical Information Systems Ontario College Graduate Certificate in four years, with the third year spent studying at Fleming College. In other words, get both qualifications in four years - instead of five. For details, see Trent/Fleming Joint Degree, Geographical Information Systems Special Emphasis.

Other computer related programs that might be of interest to you include GIS - Cartographic Specialist.

Additional Costs

Plan on spending $1000 for books and supplies.

Minimum Admission Requirements

Students applying to Geographic Information Systems – Applications Specialist must meet the following requirements:

  • Undergraduate degree or Ontario College diploma in a related field or equivalent

Applicants who do not meet the requirements listed above who possess a combination of education and relevant experience may be considered on an individual basis.

Recommended (but not required for admission)

  • Since GIS is a field of study that makes extensive use of computer hardware and software technology, students entering the GIS-Applications Specialist program must be familiar with computers. While not required, advantageous skills include: introductory level statistics, or finite mathematics, database and computer programming experience.

Technology Requirements

Latest version of windows running on hardware that meets or exceeds the recommended specifications by ESRI for ArcGIS Pro. The latest recommended and optimal configuration can be found on the ArcGIS Pro system requirements page.

Tuition and Fees Detail

Tuition and ancillary fees are subject to change without notice. The fees presented below reflect Fall start programs only for the current academic year. For details about the fee differences for other program start dates please refer to the below.

Transfer Agreements

You may be able to use credits obtained at Fleming College to continue your postsecondary education in pursuit of a degree. The articulation and credit transfer agreements with our partner institutions are summarized below.

Vancouver Island University

  • Minimum B cumulative program average.
  • Bachelor's degree in any discipline.
  • Review the articulation agreement for further details.
  • The program is offered as a blended face-to-face or entirely online.
Transfer Credit
  • Entry into 2nd-year studies of a 2-year program.
  • Refer to the articulation agreement for further details.

To apply please see the EducationPlannerBC website.

For more information
Visit the Vancouver Island University website for further articulation and program information.

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