Spatial Information Science and Engineering

The expanding use of mobile, spatial, and context-aware technologies, the building of interoperable coordinated information infrastructures and pervasive sensor-networks, the use of location as the foundation for many current and future business and scientific information systems, and the widespread enablement of individuals to gather their own spatial data, report it to others and generate their own spatial resources are changing the way we live and communicate.

Degrees offered include the Master of Science in Spatial Information Science and Engineering and PhD in Spatial Information Science and Engineering. These graduate degree programs focus on the design of information systems for the management and analysis of information that has a spatial component. Students are exposed to the latest concepts and technologies and we provide a solid foundation of knowledge and inquiry upon which to build sustainable careers.

By the time you graduate, you will have acquired:

  • In-depth skills in problem solving
  • Computer processing
  • Research methods
  • Information systems design
  • Multimedia communications

The Master of Science degree requires at least 24 graduate course credits and 6 thesis credits or a 6-credit graduate project. Students interested in completing the non-thesis program may complete the GRE Waiver Request form and return to graduate coordinator for review and approval.

The PhD degree requires a total of at least 42 graduate course credits (which may include up to 24 transfer credits), a dissertation proposal defense, and dissertation (12 credits of thesis).

Graduate students work hand in hand with faculty on a range of research topics:

• Information integration and visualization
• Intelligent spatial information retrieval
• Spatio-temporal reasoning, representation and information systems
• Geosensor networks
• Geospatial semantic web
• Multimodal spatial cognition and interface design
• Distributed spatial computing
• Integration of perception models
• Spatial reasoning and uncertainty
• Spatial learning and navigation
• Information and location privacy
• Emergent legal, economic and policy models for spatial data and services
• Ethics driven IS design

Students have access to state-of-the-art software. The department maintains a range of database, GIS, statistical and programming software for teaching and research support. The School of Computing and Information Science has educational site licenses for Oracle Spatial, and a wide variety of state of the art GIS software, as well as a suite of open source web server and web application software. Compilers and software development environments for the common programming languages include C++, Java and the School promotes the use of open source software such as Linux and Eclipse, and MySQL.

Degrees offered: PhD, MS

Program Format: On Campus

Application deadline: January 15 recommended, then rolling if space is available.

Test Required: GRE

Contact: Harlan Onsrud

Contact Email:

Program Website: Spatial Information Science and Engineering

Accelerated Program Information for UMaine Undergraduates

Major Pathways: Any Undergraduate Degree

Accelerated Program Deadline:

Middle of the first semester of junior year