By Sarah McLane Bryan, GIS Educational Specialist, UHMC


First of all I wanted to say Mahalo to all of you in our local GIS community who have been supporting our efforts to build our program here at UHMC and across the state. Many of you have contributed resources, curriculum, data, fieldtrip sites, presentations and your time in helping us make our courses unique and relevant for our students. It has been a wonderful experience to reconnect with many of you and your input has been crucial in the success of our program.

Secondly, I would like to say that we are just getting started. We graduated our first cohort of 17 students with a Certificate of Competence in GIS in Ecosystem Management in December, representing Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Kauai. This semester, due to rising demand, we added an additional section for the Maui course and doubled our enrollment on Kauai.

Finally, we will be updating our program to include the newest and greatest technology and opportunities for our students. This summer, we have plans to integrate the ESRI ArcGIS Pro into our courses, moving to file geodatabases and incorporating new technology like UAVs and more 3D GIS into our classes. We will be creating a programming module to teach our students basic GIS programming skills that may put them on a longer path towards a computer science degree. We are also working on the longer-term sustainability of our program. This includes going after funding to pursue the development of a GIS center here at UHMC which would provide support, resources and training for all UH campuses; integrating GIS into other disciplines at the college, and building alumnae and GIS professional networking opportunities that can help promote good, living wage jobs across the state.

Many of you who know me also know that I have had my hands in lots of projects over the years – land and marine conservation, sustainability and yes, GIS. But I am happy to be getting back to my roots in GIS and I look forward to using my other background and local knowledge to make these courses fun, rewarding and more than just a piece of paper. I love working with our local GIS community here in Hawaii – we stick together and support each other and that is sadly a rare phenomenon. We may literally be separated by oceans, but as Truman Capote said, “Love, having no geography, knows no boundaries.” Thank you for helping us push through the boundaries of what we think is possible!

From one GIS geek to another,


Sarah McLane Bryan

PS – I got married in 2014 to a wonderful sailboat captain named Timothy Bryan, so you will start to see me using my new last name! Cheers!