In addition, Dr. McElroy says that virtual games play a valuable role in designing future buildings, roads, cities and parks.

“3D environments that simulate the real world help us to understand and plan sustainable environments,” he adds.

For example, the amount of shade that would be created by a building can be modeled to determine the impact on the adjacent landscape. Such modeling efforts help to identify facts that affect both the existing population in an area as well as future impacts.

A number of industries such as urban planners and architects have benefited most from GIS modeling and gaming simulations and now the gamification of GIS offers tremendous growth potential for geospatial professionals.

“For those professionals interested in programming, software development and customization, the gamification of GIS offers a relatively new career path,” says Dr. McElroy.

The gamification of GIS can lead to more practical hands-on training scenarios that can assist first responders in times of crisis for fire, police and hazards personnel to enhance their spatial thinking abilities when dealing with common emergency response situations.

“Improvement to real-world situational awareness could lead to better decision making in times of crisis,” adds Dr. McElroy.

Organizations around the world use GIS and the demand for people with GIS skills are increasing.  Earning a GIS degree online will prepare professionals to break into this rapidly growing field.

Learn more about American Sentinel University’s geospatial degree programs at

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