Geographic Information Systems Professional By Alan Laumeyer, GISP, GIS Office, Goodhue County
The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) is an independent, non-profit organization that provides a complete certification program for established GIS practitioners in order to develop value for professionals and employers in the GIS field. Established GIS professionals who meet GISCI’s minimum standards for ethical conduct and professional practice are certified as GIS Professionals (GISPs).
The purpose of the GISP certification is to:
Allow professionals to be recognized by their colleagues and peers for demonstrating exemplary professional practice and integrity in the field.
Establish and maintain high standards of both professional practice and ethical conduct.
Encourage aspiring GIS professionals to work towards certification for the purpose of professional development and advancement.
Encourage established GIS professionals to continue to hone their professional skills and ethical performance as GIS technology changes.
Started on January 1, 2004, GISCI's non-examination, portfolio-based certification program is based on the following benchmarks:
Education: A combination of formal university GIS-related coursework and informal GIS-related training/educational conference experience.
Experience: 4-years in GIS application and/or data development (or equivalent).
Contributions: Modest involvement with publications, professional associations, conference participation, workshop instruction, awards, etc.
Code of Ethics: Appropriate and ethical guidelines for professional practice and conduct.
Recertification: 5-year certification cycle that requires further earned credit in the benchmark areas to ensure continued proficiency.
All activities in three achievement categories (education, experience, and contributions) are worth points. Minimum numbers of points in each category, as well as an overall minimum, must be submitted to GISCI coupled with appropriate documentation. The portfolio is then reviewed and a final determination is made of the applicant's status. Successful applicants are called Certified Geographic Information Systems Professionals.
GISPs work in a variety of organizations: 36% consultant/vendor, 17% county, 17% municipal, 7% state, 5% federal, 4% regional, 4% college/university, 3% utility, 7% other. As of October 2010, there were 4,716 GISPs, with 66 in Minnesota.
GISCI, headquartered in Des Plains, IL, is a joint effort of a consortium of GIS-related member associations: AAG, NSGIC, UCGIS, URISA, and GITA. The member organizations appoint individuals to serve on the GISCI Board of Directors. The Board of Directors oversees the operation and management of the organization and is the governing arm of GISCI.