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Mapping Your Career

GIS Management Resources:

Job Postings

Degree and Certificate Programs

GIS Certification

Whether you came to GIS through a roundabout journey or followed a specified path, we're glad you're part of the community!

When URISA was first organized, there wasn't a 'GIS' field, there weren't geospatial science degrees in colleges and universities and 'GIS' jobs were not known as such. Now there is an abundance of certificate and degree programs, including post-graduate studies; GIS professionals can earn certifications; and geospatial technologies is a high-growth field.

There are now resources specifically geared to GIS management and leadership development (URISA's GIS Leadership Academy) and access to organizational assessments through URISA's GIS Management Institute.

There is even an annual global GIS Day!

We now live in a world where geospatial information and analysis is readily available. From location-based information on our smart phones and tablets (think of the mapping application on your phone that you use to locate a restaurant or retail store) to accessibility was unheard of previously.  When GIS was originally developed, 50+ years ago, the thought of the proliferation of spatial data was unheard of.

(The first known use of the term "Geographic Information System" was by Roger Tomlinson in the year 1968 in his paper "A Geographic Information System for Regional Planning".[4]Tomlinson is also acknowledged as the "father of GIS".)

Growing Outlook

Not only are the career opportunities numerous, but the field is predicted to grow considerably. US Bureau of Labor Statistics:  Employment of surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and surveying and mapping technicians is expected to grow 19 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Increasing demand for fast, accurate, and complete geographic information will be the main source of job growth.

US Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration:   DOLETA's High Growth Job Training Initiative identified 14 sectors (one of which was Geospatial Technology) that fit within the following criteria:   

  • They are projected to add substantial numbers of new jobs to the economy or affect the growth of other industries; or
  • They are existing or emerging businesses being transformed by technology and innovation requiring new skills sets for workers.

In June of 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor released the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM).  The GTCM outlined a broad range of services, technical and manufacturing professions, and products within the fields of geography, surveying and mapping, computer science, information science and other specialized areas of application that comprise geospatial technology.  Competency models are used to guide individual professional development, to help people move up or over in an organization or industry, to help educators and trainers develop curricula that address workforce needs, to inform development of interview protocols, as requirements for professional certification, and as criteria for academic program accreditation and articulation.

URISA took the GTCM and focused on the GIS Management component (Tier-9) of the model. Following a year-long effort by a task force of 18 contributors and a public review process that attracted 100 comment, URISA put forward a draft Geospatial Management Competency Model (GMCM) which was accepted by the U.S. Department of Labor. Of the 20 industries that have published competency models, the Geospatial industry is the first to have specified management competencies.and released for public comment in order to determine what are the 74 competencies and 18 competency areas that characterize the work of  successful GIS managers within an organization.

As GIS becomes more ingrained into business processes, the demand for skilled workers and also for formal and professional education will continue to increase.




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