GIS: Tool or Science at McGill?

The ongoing debate of whether GIS is a science or a tool is an interesting one that plays out both in the academic world and in our own university. Students have been pushing for a GIS diploma, something similar to what many colleges offer and recognized by employers. Offering a diploma suggests that it is a tool; something to put on a CV: Proficiency in STATA, HTML and ArcGIS. That the university currently lacks such a diploma, and instead groups it within the Geography degree, suggests that administration is more supportive of the science side of the debate. GIS as a tool can be learned in lower courses, but courses like this one that promote GIS as a science are the capstone of our degree.

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