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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology is used to manage and utilize geographic and is widely recognized as an essential tool in such diverse fields as forest management, urban planning, engineering, municipal management, business, and environmental studies.

Program delivery mode: online

  • This program will be delivered online for the coming semester.

Your education is our priority and we will continue to deliver the applied instruction, collaborative experience, and industry connections that you expect from BCIT.

The Advanced Diploma program in Geographic Information Systems is designed for students with a background in a related discipline or technology. The part-time program is available entirely through online learning and can be completed in 2 – 4 years. The part-time program can also be completed through a combination of campus-based courses with online learning courses.

The curriculum combines theory and practice and covers GIS principles, training in GIS software, technical issues, remote sensing, digital mapping and management issues. Students must also successfully complete a supervised work experience before graduation. This may be either an industry project or an industry practicum.

The GIS Department has compiled a list of frequently asked questions [PDF] to help you decide which BCIT GIS option is best for you.

NOTE: BCIT also offers a Bachelor of Technology Degree in GIS. Students enrolled in the Advanced Diploma can change to the Bachelor of Technology program early in the Fall semester if required. Once the student has committed to the Advanced Diploma and has graduated, they cannot take subsequent courses and apply for the Bachelor of Technology.

Missed an info session?

If you’ve missed a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) information session, the full video is now available. Note: This information session was held May 21, 2020 and topics discussed in this session are subject to change without notice.

Entrance Requirements

Costs & Supplies


Whether you are a professional seeking upgrading, or a student interested in GIS as a career, you can explore GIS through our part-time studies (PTS) courses. Whether it is GIS software, remote sensing, databases, programming, or just a general introduction to GIS, we probably have something of value and interest to you.

You can work from home or your office on one of our e-learning courses, or take a course in a conventional classroom setting. Classroom courses are offered evenings and weekends, and in some week long sessions, at the Burnaby campus.

Most PTS courses are creditable towards the full-time Advanced Diploma or Bachelor of Technology in GIS. Our GIS FAQ [PDF] has examples of part-time course schedules.

You do not need to be registered into a program in order to take a part-time course, and you can register online, by FAX or by telephone. You may register for courses prior to applying to the program, with the understanding that taking these courses in advance of acceptance does not guarantee your acceptance into the program.


Students are responsible for ensuring they meet formal GIS course prerequisites or have the necessary skills and knowledge to complete a course successfully. Successful completion of a course without the formal prerequisite does not imply successful completion or credit for the prerequisite course. Students who intend to complete one of the GIS programs must formally satisfy all course prerequisites through transfer/exemption credit or Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition.

Late registration

Students must be registered the day before the course starts. Departmental approval is required for late registration. Contact the GIS Program Assistant to request late registration.

Withdrawal and refunds

Information on part-time course withdrawal and refunds is available from Admissions and Registration.

GIS NET courses

General information on online learning can be found at the BCIT distance and learning web site. Read the PDF [13KB] document ‘Is online learning for me?’

Invigilation information for GIS NET courses

GIS NET Courses require the student to complete a final exam that must be invigilated. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange for final exam invigilation. The student is responsible for any associated costs. Invigilation may be done at recognized test centres. Additional information will be provided for registered students.

Access to GIS NET courses

BCIT uses the Desire2Learn (D2L) learning management system. Access to course material for registered students is available at the Desire2Learn login page on the start day of the course. You login using your myBCIT ID and password.

Computer requirements

Students will require a computer with Internet access capable of working with BCIT’s LMS. Prospective students can perform a system check at the D2L login page. Students must also have standard MS-Office compatible software for writing assignments. Adobe Acrobat reader, Flash and Shockwave browser plug-ins; a media player, and the ability to ZIP and UNZIP files.

GIS NET courses that utilize GIS software may require setup and configuration to work with the software server. Additional details will be provided to registered students.


You can find textbook information for online courses at the BCIT Distance & Online Learning bookstore.

Program Details

Graduating & Jobs

Job opportunities

The majority of GIS graduates are working for either private industry (forestry, GIS vendors, natural resource exploration, computer systems) consulting companies (environmental, engineering, forestry, mapping, scanning, and software) or government agencies (municipal, provincial, federal). The graduates are developing GIS databases, using GIS to analyze data and predict the result of planned changes, managing GIS projects, planning the acquisition of GIS technology, developing GIS custom systems and training GIS users.

Faculty, Advisors & Staff

Carmen Heaver, Part-time Studies Coordinator

Advisory committee

  • N. Ali, CBRE Canada
  • P. Bates, District of West Vancouver
  • O. Blasig, GE Energy
  • J. Clark, Spatial Vision Group
  • M. Doherty, ESRI Canada Ltd.
  • K. Hayne, City of Vancouver
  • C. Huntington, City of Burnaby
  • W. Johnstone, Spatial Vision Group Inc. (Chair)
  • H. Lee, RCMP
  • C. Lim, Acuere Consulting
  • S. Mak, BC Centre for Disease Control
  • J. Paillard, Stornoway Diamond Corp.
  • G. Singh, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources
  • M. Stoakes, SAFE Software
  • R. Taylor, Kerr Wood Leidal

GIS Online

The BCIT GIS Bachelor of Technology degree (BTech) or Advanced Diploma Program (ADP) can be completed entirely via online learning. The BCIT GIS Advanced Certificate is only offered via online learning.

Apply to the BCIT GIS AdvCertGIS ADP or GIS BTech program as a part-time student. You can apply anytime. You are a part-time student as you will not attend BCIT campus, and you will take at least two years to complete all the online AdvCert or ADP courses, or the online technical courses component of the B.Tech. Note: you can only complete these courses in one year if you are a full-time BCIT campus student.

Contact Carmen Heaver to setup your online course schedule after you have submitted your application.

Register for each of your required courses following your course schedule. You may register for introductory level courses before your application is approved. You will be permitted to register into advanced courses with approval from our program assistant, who will check that you are accepted into the program and have completed any prerequisite courses.

Tuition fees are per course. You may be able to reduce the cost by applying for transfer credit if you have already completed a course at another post-secondary institution that has equivalent learning outcomes to a BCIT GIS program course and if that course was not used as part of your GIS AdvCert, ADP or GIS B.Tech. application credit requirements. You might also have an income from a part-time job while studying and may also receive some tuition support from an employer. Note that tuition fees usually increase each year by approximately 2%.

Access Online Learning through the Learning Hub log-in page (formally D2L). Each online course is organized in a similar manner: you can use your computer to listen to lectures, connect to the BCIT computer servers, use GIS software, complete GIS software assignments just as you would in a BCIT campus computer lab, discuss questions with other class members, connect with your instructor in virtual office hours when the instructor can help with problems and demonstrate software or access your computer to help you. You do not install GIS software on your home computer, so can use a MAC, Windows or UNIX operating system machine. You complete computer lab assignments by connecting to AppsAnywhere and using BCIT GIS or other BCIT software.

You probably want to study online because you do not live near the BCIT Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada campus and do not want to relocate, or you have a job and want to study part-time. You like to have flexible study hours.

Please check our Frequently Asked Questions [PDF] for more information.

Any additional questions about completing the GIS program online, please contact Carmen Heaver or call 604-432-8378.

Contact Us

Please see FAQs [PDF] for more details or contact Program Advising if you have questions about:

  • Application process
  • Entrance requirements
  • Applying for transfer credit and advanced placement
  • Program costs
  • Job placement and graduate outcomes  |  604-434-1610

Dee Morita
Program Assistant
Tel: 604-451-7001

Questions or comments?


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