Welcome to Geographic Information Systems in Soil and Water Science. I’m Susan Curry, your instructor. My background is in ag engineering and I received my masters in Environmental Engineering from UF. I’ve worked in many different areas, from producing cow chow at Ralston Purina to manure and nutrient management and conversion simulations in bioenergy. Today I’m a lecturer in the Soil and Water Sciences Department here at UF and teach classes in environmental management and soil and water conservation. Geographic Information Systems, or GIS as it’s more commonly referred to, is a software management tool that has evolved over the last 20 years. When it first arrived on the scene, it was a large, cumbersome program which would only run on $30,000 computers with a dedicated programming staff to code and create the maps. The innovations in computer technology, both computers and Global Positioning Systems, or GPS, has moved the software from your laboratory to your home computer and even your phone. Many of you have used Google Earth or even MapQuest. These are GIS-type programs that combine the “what” that you’re looking for with the “where,” or the location on the earth that it can be found. In this course you’re going to learn how to create meaningful maps and interactive maps, which will relay important information to the public. As they say, a picture, or a map, is worth a thousand words. I hope you enjoy the class, and contact me with any questions or concerns that you have.