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Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is the third of the three "core" occupational fields within the overall Geospatial Technology industry.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is the technology that uses specialized computer systems to work with, interrelate, and analyze virtually all forms of spatial data. Typically, a GIS consists of three major components:

  • a database of geospatial and thematic data;
  • a capacity to spatially model or analyze the data; and
  • a graphical display capability.

GIS analysts turn geographic data into maps and decision-making tools. They create large databases of geographic information and use them to solve problems. GIS analysts often specialize in one of three major activities:

  • making maps;
  • combining mapmaking with specialized analysis; or
  • developing GIS software.

In addition to their computer applications and databases, GIS analysts use other specialized tools in their work, including multi-dimensional graphic display devices and equipment.

GIS analysts - like other Geospatial Technology professionals - can be found working in various local, state, and federal government agencies, as well as in a wide-range of related scientific and technical fields, such as agriculture and soils; archeology; biology; cartography; ecology; environmental sciences; forestry and range; geodesy; geography; geology; hydrology and water resources; land appraisal and real estate; medicine; transportation; urban planning and development, and more.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS).

Key Links

The following Web sites offer a sampling of the broad range of job and career possibilities within the Geospatial Technology industry, including those for Geographic Information Specialists:

Education and Training in Geospatial Technology

Apprenticeship Certifications Community Colleges 4-year Colleges Other Options
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