Spring 2010

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair
Conference Planning 
Salary Survey Results

MN Compass
TB Monitoring in Deer
Stimulus Map Phase 2

MN Geospatial Commons Planned

New Arrowhead Imagery
Metro Address Point Specs

GIS in Sewer Inspections - New Brighton

New Generation Topos
Topo Anniversary
The National Map Update
Crop Productivity Index
Crop Data Layer
Census Participation Maps
Occupations Website

GeoMoose New Version
ESRI Grant Program
Guide to Nonprofit GIS and Online Mapping

Other Places
SC Data Policy Development Guide
Map Quizzes



2009 GIS Profession and Salary Survey Results
By Jennifer Wittkopf, Prior Lake GIS Coordinator

The Consortium conducted its third GIS salary/skills survey in Fall 2009, as part of its mission to develop and support the GIS professional in Minnesota for the benefit of our state and its citizens. Previous surveys were conducted in 1998-99 and 2002. The most recent survey was simplified from previous versions, focusing more directly on salary, job type, and education. This is the first report to base its results on medians, so historical comparisons and trend analysis were not possible.

The survey was conducted on-line in September 2009 and received responses from 242 Consortium members (approximately 15% of email addresses on file with the Consortium).


Consortium volunteers Jennifer Wittkopf, Will Craig, and Ben Verbick analyzed the results and produced a final report. Below is the salary distribution of the respondents, just one of the 15 questions that were asked:

The overall median salary of people in this survey was $55,000. However, there is interest in seeing more than average salary, such as what characteristics are related to higher or lower salaries. Following are some details based on other survey questions and responses:

 Median Salary based on location
 Metro County (58%)  $62,000
 Outstate (42%)  $49,000

 Median Salary based on level of education
 Less than bachelor degree (13%)  $47,000
 BA/BS (47%)     $52,000
 Master degree or above (40%)  $63,000

 Median Salary based on major program of degree(s)
 Computer Science, math, stats, etc. (19%)  $72,000
 Sciences: bio, env, natural, etc (32%)   $55,000
 Geography, Planning, Landscape Arch (42%) $57,000
 GIS (11%)      $53,000
 Other (7%)      $48,000

 Median salary based on years of GIS experience
 Under 3 years (11%)   $40,000
 3-5 years (12%)   $42,000
 5-10 years (26%)   $50,000
 More than 10 years (51%)  $65,000

Nearly all GIS professionals in Minnesota have some post-secondary education; most hold a bachelor or master degree. For analysis we combined similar majors, like Geography, Planning and Landscape Architecture. Whether combined with another degree or as a single major, one-third of respondents have a degree in GIS. Over two-thirds of professionals had at least 12 credits of formal GIS education, while nearly one-quarter have a GIS certificate from an accredited educational institution. Finally, only 14% of respondents have a professional GIS certification (GISP) from the GISCI.

Government entities are the largest employer of GIS professionals in the state (65%), particularly at the county level (27%). The vast majority of all jobs fall into four categories of GIS positions:  Manager (13%), Coordinator (21%), Specialist (26%) or Technician (13%). Just over half of the respondents (58%) work in the seven county Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Nearly two-thirds of GIS professionals have over ten years experience working with GIS, while only 11% have been in the field less than three years. Well more than half (63%) earn between $40,000 and $70,000 annually. Additionally, half of the GIS professionals are programming or developing custom applications as part of their job (50%), and about one-third are supervising other GIS staff (35%). Finally, most GIS professionals (71%) are spending more than half their workday using GIS products and procedures. In fact, nearly half of respondents (49%) spend over 75% of their time using GIS.

Full Report and More Information

To see the full report on this and previous surveys, visit the Consortium website here. For more information, contact Jennifer Wittkopf, Prior Lake GIS Coordinator, at or 952-447-9833.