Arguments for GIS Certification

The URISA (Urban and Regional Information Systems Association) GIS Certification Com­mittee, in the year 2000, while in the process of coming up with the guidelines to setting up of the Geographic Information Systems Certification Institute (GISCI)  came up with a number of important reasons why GIS certification is needed:

  • To provide a means for attaining recognition by one’s colleagues and peers that the GIS professional has demonstrated professional competence and integrity in the field;
  • To encourage long-term professional development that will help existing professionals maintain currency in GIS technology and methods;
  • To ensure ethical behaviour by members of the profession and provide a basis for judging the validity of allegations or complaints against GIS practitioners;
  • To assist prospective employers to assess and hire GIS professionals;
  • To ensure that those who produce geographic information have a core competency of knowledge;
  • To define and protect professional bodies of knowledge;
  • To assist aspiring GIS professionals and professionals outside the GIS profession choose their educational opportunities wisely;
  • To contribute to the development of geographic information science;
  • Develop standard GIS job descriptions; and
  • To establish and maintain links to GIS education bodies

The committee came up with the GIS Professional Certification Program and the GIS Professional Code of Ethics which contain guidelines for GIS professionals to use when making professional career and ethical choices. The purpose of both programs is to provide professionals who work in the field of geographic information systems with a formal process that will allow them to be recognized by their colleagues and employers as having demonstrated professional competence and integrity in the field by maintaining high stan­dards of professional practice and ethical conduct.


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