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Graduate School

    The University of Maine
   
 
  Sep 24, 2017
 
 
    
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog

Spatial Information Science and Engineering



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The graduate program in Spatial Information Science and Engineering focuses on advancing knowledge about spatial information particularly with respect to concepts needed in next-generation information systems. Emphasis is placed on developing novel concepts and methods in the broad field of geographic information science for sensing, storing, accessing, analyzing, and managing spatial data as well as modeling, extracting, integrating, visualizing, and communicating spatial information.

 

Students build on a solid foundation in computer science, mathematics, physics, geography, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, engineering and related fields to study spatio-temporal phenomena and design intelligent spatial information systems. In addition to these concepts, the design of spatial information technologies requires a comprehensive understanding of the social, legal, economic, and institutional issues affecting such systems, a commitment to human users and ethical uses of such systems, dedication to the ethics of broad access to information, and commitment to quality of information.

The research interests of our faculty are currently predominantly in the area of Spatial Computing, including spatial cognition, spatio-temporal reasoning, geospatial ontologies, data streams, geosensor networks, spatial data science, and location privacy.

Degrees offered include the Master of Science in Spatial Information Science and Engineering, the Ph.D. in Spatial

Information Science and Engineering, Master of Science in Spatial Informatics (distance only) and the Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems.

Objectives of these programs include:

The core objectives of the graduate programs include interdisciplinary study of the nature and function of spatial information systems, and the technical study of the design and evaluation of methods and processes to capture, represent and analyze spatial information.

Graduate courses cover formal representations of spatial phenomena, database systems, geographic information systems, human-centered design and information policy. Research topics may be selected from any of the principal areas ranging from geographic information science, spatial and spatio-temporal reasoning, spatial cognition and spatial interface design, spatial database systems, geosensor networks, to legal and managerial aspects of spatial information systems. Many research topics require an interdisciplinary approach and, therefore, courses taught in other departments complement the program offered.

Master of Science in Spatial Information Science and Engineering  

The School of Computing and Information Science offers both a thesis and project option in the Master of Science in

Spatial Information Science and Engineering. All work for a master’s degree must be completed within six years. The timing starts with the first semester of registration after admission to the Master of Science in Spatial Information

Science and Engineering.

The thesis option is the scientific track, typically requiring a strong engineering, computer science, human-computer interaction, or mathematics undergraduate background. Prospective master’s students with other disciplinary backgrounds are expected to make up the requisite math and engineering courses that would allow them to succeed in an engineering graduate curriculum. The thesis option includes a substantial piece of individual research as a basis for a master’s thesis.

The project option is aimed at students who wish to focus primarily on course work rather than research at the master’s level. The formal coursework is complemented by a one-semester project in which the student must demonstrate that he or she can apply the acquired knowledge for implementing a particular solution.

Degree Requirements

Master (Project Option)

Minimum of 30 graduate course credits (i.e., 400 level or above) on a program of study approved by advisors that includes:

  • At least 12 graduate course credits at 500 level or above
  • At least 18 graduate course credits in SIE
  • No more than 6 credits of independent study courses (598, 698, or equivalent independent study courses in other graduate programs)
  • SIE 589 Graduate Project
  • SIE 507 Information System Programming
  • INT 601 Responsible Conduct of Research
  • At least 3 graduate faculty on the advisory committee
  • At least 2 must be SIE tenured or tenure-track faculty
  • Breadth Requirement: at least one 3-credit graduate course from 4 out of the 5 groupings:
    • Formal Representations of Spatial Phenomena
    • Spatial Cognition and Computing
    • Database Systems
    • Geographic Information Systems
    • Information Policy

Early Admission of UMaine Undergraduate Students to Four Plus One Program: Undergraduate students from any degree program at the University of Maine with a 3.25 GPA or better may apply as early as the summer before their junior year for admission to the MS SIE (Project Option) graduate degree program. Applications for “early admission” should be received by the middle of the first semester of the junior year and are not accepted after the senior year has commenced. If interested, please contact the Graduate Coordinator.

Master (Thesis Option)

Minimum of 30 graduate course credits (i.e., 400 level or above) on a program of study approved by advisors that includes:

  • At least 24 graduate course credits
  • At least 6 thesis credits - SIE 699
  • At least 12 graduate course credits at 500 level or above
  • At least 18 graduate course credits in SIE
  • No more than 6 credits of independent study courses (598, 698 or equivalent independent study courses in other graduate programs)
  • SIE 501 Introduction to Graduate Research
  • SIE 502 Research Methods
  • SIE 503 Principles of Experimental Design
  • SIE 507 Information System Programming
  • INT 601 Responsible Conduct of Research
  • SIE 693 Graduate Seminar
  • Breadth Requirement - at least one 3-credit graduate course from 3 out of the 5 groupings:
    • Formal Representations of Spatial Phenomena
    • Spatial Cognition and Computing
    • Database Systems
    • Geographic Information Systems
    • Information Policy
  • At least 3 graduate faculty on the advisory committee
  • At least 2 must be SIE tenured or tenure-track faculty
  • Master’s Thesis Defense

 

A maximum of six credit hours of graduate course work taken prior to enrollment in the master’s program, whether at this university or another, may be counted towards the master’s degree. If the course did not count towards a completed undergraduate degree and if the student’s graduate advisory committee formally approves acceptance of the courses on the student’s Program of Study, then the credit hours may be transferred toward the master’s degree.

In order to meet the residency requirement, at least 50 percent of the course work applied toward the degree must be taken through The University of Maine.

Doctor of Philosophy in Spatial Information Science and Engineering  

The Ph.D. degree is the highest of academic degrees. The Ph.D. in Spatial Information Science and Engineering is awarded to those demonstrating outstanding achievement in Spatial Information Science and Engineering scholarship and primarily for demonstrated ability for independent research in the field. The preparation and defense of a thesis embodying the results of an original investigation in a specialized area of Spatial Information Science and Engineering are essential features of the program.

All work for a doctoral degree must be completed within eight years. The timing starts with the first semester of registration after admission to the Ph.D. in Spatial Information Science and Engineering. Students must be admitted to candidacy within four years of registration for the first work presented for satisfaction of degree requirements; the dissertation must be completed within four years of admission to candidacy.

The program for the Ph.D. degree in Spatial Information Science and Engineering carries a minimum residency requirement of two academic years and a minimum of 42 credit hours in formal course work beyond the bachelor’s degree. Students normally are expected to hold a Masters degree, typically in engineering, computer science, cognitive science, mathematics, or geography with a strong technical and analytical background. Graduate students without a Masters degree may be considered for direct admission to the PhD program after consultation with an adviser.

A qualifying examination is taken after the student has completed the course requirements and developed a thesis proposal. The examination will be designed to test the student’s area of expertise by evaluating the student’s knowledge related to his or her thesis topic through oral and/or written examination. No foreign language requirement is included in the program. A full oral defense of the dissertation is required upon completion of the student’s work.

Degree Requirements  

  • Minimum of 42 graduate course credits (i.e., 400 level or above) on a program of study approved by advisors that includes:

  • Minimum of 12 thesis credits (SIE 699)
  • Minor of 9 graduate course credits as detailed below
  • Up to 24 transfer credits of graduate course work
  • No more than 9 credits of independent study courses (598, 698 or equivalent independent study courses in other graduate programs)
  • SIE 501 Introduction to Graduate Research
  • SIE 502 Research Methods
  • SIE 503 Principles of Experimental Design
  • SIE 507 Information System Programming
  • INT 601 Responsible Conduct of Research
  • SIE 693 Graduate Seminar
  • Breadth Requirements: at least one 3-credit graduate course from 4 out of the 5 groupings:
    • Formal Representations of Spatial Phenomena
    • Spatial Cognition and Computing
    • Database Systems
    • Geographic Information Systems
    • Information Policy
  • At least 5 graduate faculty on the advisory committee
  • At least 3 must be SIE tenured or tenure-track faculty
  • Dissertation Proposal Defense

Details concerning these requirements are contained in the current edition of the Graduate Student Guide available from the School.

 

A maximum of 24 credit hours of graduate course work taken prior to enrollment in the PhD program, whether at this university or another, may be counted towards the PhD degree. If the course did not count towards a completed undergraduate degree and if the student’s graduate advisory committee formally approves acceptance of the course on the student’s Program of Study, then the credit hours may be transferred toward the doctoral degree.

All students must complete a minor program consisting of at least nine credit hours of course work taken outside of Spatial Information Science and Engineering.

Only courses at the 400 level or above and listed in the Graduate Catalog (or equivalent courses transferred from another university) can be counted toward the minor requirement. Independent study courses do not qualify for a minor. This minor must consist of courses relevant to the student’s thesis and must have a common core that typically comes from a single department. The minor program must be approved by the advisory committee.

The minimum residency requirement for Ph.D. programs is met by registering for courses or thesis research at The University of Maine for four semesters beyond the baccalaureate degree. Students entering doctoral programs with a master’s degree from The University of Maine must register for at least two semesters of course work or thesis research.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the University of Maine Spatial Information Science and Engineering graduate programs is competitive. In its admission process, the graduate faculty considers the potential of applicants to complete the program successfully and achieve positions of leadership in the private or public sectors. For all of our graduate programs we are generally seeking students that score at the mean or above on the verbal, quantitative and analytical segments of the GRE exam and in the 50th percentile or above on the exam overall. We generally seek an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or above. Exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis.

At a minimum an applicant must have a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, or a four-year international equivalent. Within their curriculum, all applicants should have completed a university course in Algebra as a minimum math prerequisite for admission. Previous programming courses or experience are recommended but not required. The review committee considers both the curriculum completed and the institution attended in its assessment.

All students apply through the Graduate School and typically the entire application packet including transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation must be received before a formal acceptance will be issued. To be considered for Fall admission, completed applications should be received 8 weeks prior to the beginning of the term.

Note: Students applying for Graduate Certificate programs are not required to submit GRE scores. Students that successfully complete a graduate certificate program in Information Systems or Geographic Information Systems (both offered on-campus and by distance) that includes the foundation courses of SIE 505, 507, 515, 525 and 550 in their certificate programs and receive a B or better in all of these courses are not required to submit a GRE score for admission to the full non-thesis MS programs in Information Systems (offered on-campus and by distance), Spatial Informatics (offered by distance only) and Spatial Information Science and Engineering - Project Option (offered on campus only). The 5 foundation courses automatically count toward the 10 courses required for the full MS degree.

Financial Assistance  

In addition to University fellowships and scholarships listed elsewhere in this Catalog, the School of Computing and

Information Science offers graduate research assistantships to qualified students on externally funded research projects.

We encourage all applicants to submit, in addition to the complete application package, a video of approximately 10 minutes, in which they describe their research interests, their background and experience in doing independent research, and their future goals. This movie can be a digital video submitted as a URL to a YouTube presentation or a QuickTime file (do not e-mail the entire digital movie) or mailed on a CD (same format) together with your application. This instruction is particularly important for prospective graduate students who seek funding through graduate research assistantships.

Graduate Faculty

M. Kate Beard-Tisdale, Ph.D. (Wisconsin, 1988), Professor and Director of NCGIA-Maine. Geographic information systems, map generalization, data quality and its visualization, geographic information retrieval, spatio-temporal phenomena and information integration.

Max J. Egenhofer, Ph.D. (Maine, 1989), Professor and Director of School of Computing and Information Science. Spatio-temporal reasoning, user interfaces for geographic information systems, design of spatial database systems, and mobile spatial information appliances.

Nicholas A. Giudice, Ph.D. (Minnesota, 2004), Associate Professor and Director of VEMI Lab. Human computer interaction in real and virtual reality environments, indoor navigation, multimodal spatial cognition, information-access technology and multimodal spatial displays.

Torsten  Hahmann, PhD (Toronto, 2013), Assistant Professor. Spatial informatics, spatial ontologies as test bed for research about formal ontologies and their development, knowledge representation, artificial intelligence, and logic.

Silvia Nittel, Ph.D. (Zurich, 1994), Associate Professor and Director of Geosensor Networks Lab. Stationary and mobile sensor networks, decentralized in-network data collection algorithms for geosensor networks, management of distributed sensor data streams in real-time.

Harlan J. Onsrud, J.D. (Wisconsin, 1982), Professor and Graduate Coordinator. Legal, ethical, and institutional issues affecting creation and use of databases, ethics driven information systems design, assessment of social and societal impacts of spatial technologies.

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