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GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam for the GISP Certification

The new GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam for GISP Certification is coming!

Des Plaines, IL (August 27, 2015) The Exam date will be announced in the next few weeks and a signup procedure will be provided on the GISCI web site (www.gisci.org)

Exam Foundations

The GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam® is based on a complete job analysis, guided by the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM), and informed by the GIS & T Body of Knowledge.

The GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam® is open to all individuals interested in attaining the GIS Professional certification.  GISCI will offer the Exam to individuals independent of the application for the portfolio review process.   This means that GISP applicants can start the certification process by completing an application and taking the examination any time prior to attaining the professional experience required for the professional portfolio.

Exam content will cover the following knowledge areas

  • Conceptual Foundations
  • Cartography and Visualization
  • GIS Design Aspects and Data Modeling
  • GIS Analytical Methods
  • Data Manipulation
  • Geospatial Data

The exam will be administered by an exam delivery company providing test locations around the US.   The Inaugural Exam will be offered by the end of 2015 and test preparation materials will be available on the GISCI web site several weeks prior to the initial examination date.

 About GISCI The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization, established in 2004, to manage and operate the most overarching professional certification program for the GIS Profession and to promote ethical conduct among GISPs. GISCI offers participants from the first years on the job until retirement, a positive method of developing value for professionals and employers in the GIS profession.  GISCI has certified over 7,000 GISPs, worldwide, and the GISP is increasingly viewed as a preferred certification in job descriptions.

Media Contact:  Bill Hodge GISP, Executive Director GISCI

bhodge@gisci.org


the Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP)

Over the past few years the term GISP (geographic information systems professional) has become pretty popular as more and more geospatial professionals look for a way to demonstrate that they have become more established in their geomatics careers. We originally published this article after applying for GISP certification ( after several years of putting it off and procrastinating) so we could document the process involved as a way to help others who have considered but not yet applied for certification.

Since then I have received my GISP certificate and there has been some major changes made to the GISP certification process by the GIS Certification Institute, so we have included details about the changes below the original article.

[We are always interested to hear from those that have applied for GISP so if you want to share anything about it then let us know. It is always a debatable topic in GIS themed social networking groups].GISP

A GISP is a certification status awarded to a geographic information systems (GIS) professional who has met the minimum standards for ethical conduct and professional practice as established by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI). Thousands of professionals in GIS & Geomatics (mostly in the US) have obtained certification and are currently making the most of it to help achieve career aspirations.

There are many benefits to obtaining a GISP

Employers have started recognizing GISP certification and some are starting to prefer (and sometimes require) professionals with GISP certification when they have a GIS position that needs to be filed. A recent survey done showed that employees who have certification on the average earn more than their counterparts who do not. Still, the geomatics sector needs to emphasis the importance of GIS certification much more before the real value of having a GISP becomes recognized by the geospatial community.

It is not just in the area of earnings and wages that having a GISP certification is beneficial. A GISP is a certification status awarded to a geographic information systems (GIS) professional Many certified professionals say that the process of getting themselves certified was extremely helpful. Some have even said that the certification helped them to not only advance their careers but to redefine it as well. They are rightfully proud of their accomplishment and feel that the certification will only continue to become more valuable as time goes by, as it is the most recognized certification for a person in the GIS field.

To qualify for the GISP certification, you must meet certain benchmarks in your education and professional experience set forth by the GISCI, as well as various contributions to the profession.

The application itself is point-based; you will be given points for different and specific activities in the three categories under consideration. After you have gotten to the minimum point requirement and you have worked for at least four years in the GIS industry, you can then submit you application and start on the process to become a certified GIS Professional.

At first glance the Application may seem Intimidating

The first thing to do is download the application form from the GISCI website. my GISP ApplicationYour first glance at the application may be intimidating (as the GISCI application process can be rather lengthy and often confusing), however if you have any problems along the way, the GISCI are willing to help. Downloading the form is the simple part. You can either fill it electronically (with PDF version) or you can print it out and fill it out.  I imported the application into a word document and typed all my information into it so that it looked more professional when it came time to print it.

Next, read through the GISCI Code of Ethics & Rules of Conduct Acknowledgment Form, a document that explains the organization (and you as its certified professional) code of ethics and rules of conduct. It is mandatory to sign an acknowledgement form and include it with your application.

GISP certificate and GISP pinThe GISCI Procedures Manual should be your next stop, it takes you through the preparation for the application process systematically. There are great tips on the first couple of pages that will benefit you throughout the process. The rest of the document takes you through each component of the application. It is advisable to have your application on hand at the same time so that you can review both documents.

The bulk of the work involved in filling out your application is gathering the necessary data. You will need to not just be able to answer, in detail, questions about your education, professional experience, and professional contributions but also to provide documentation that supports the information you included in the application. This was a challenging task for myself as I moved several times over my career and lost documents along the way.

I would recommend that people start scanning and saving copies of certificates, receipts, badge tags, etc. that can be used in the application as you get them and not wait till it comes time to apply. After sending in the application, we received digital confirmation that the application was received, and then about 4 to 5 months latter a GISP certificate and pin arrived in the mail.

After your certification as a GISP, you are required to re-certify every five years. All you need for the re-certification is too prove that you continued working in or participating in the field of GIS. The components are also similar to the original certification application component. They are; Course and Conference (the educational), Contributions to the Profession and Work Experience. Renewing your certification should be a walk in the park provided you have remained active in the geomatics industry.

GISP certification now requires a Technical Exam

Apply for your GISPAs of July 1, 2015, people applying for the GISP certification will be required to take and pass a GISCI Geospatial Core Technical Knowledge Exam, as well as meet all the current standards for certification via a portfolio based review based on ethics agreement, education, experience, and professional contributions.

The new GISP certification process will incur a $ 100 application fee, $ 250 exam fee, and a $ 100 portfolio review fee and individuals will be certified for a 3 year period instead of 5 years. Annual renewal fees of $ 95 will be due on the anniversary of an individuals initial certification and be required to be paid in full prior to re-certification. All professionals that were GISP certified or recertified before July 1, 2015 will remain certified under the current 5 year policy and then begin the new 3-year renewal process after that. See GISCI.org for exact details on fees and procedures.

There are 342 registered GISPs in Canada

According to the GISP Registry on the GISCI website there are now 8110 people who have qualified for GISP certification and 94% of those are from the USA.  In Canada there are 342 GISPs registered (119 Ontario, 111 Alberta, 78 British Columbia, 9 Saskatchewan, 7 Manitoba, 7 Nova Scotia, 4 Quebec, 4 New Brunswick, 1 Newfoundland, 1 PEI & 1 Nunavut).


[A GISP is not the only recognized certification program in the GIS industry, the Canadian Institute of Geomatics & Esri both have certification programs as well].

ESRI Technical Certification Program

ESRI launched its Technical Certification Program this month, to help certify expertise for those using ESRI software programs.
The new ESRI certification program recognizes people skilled with ESRI desktop software, developer, and the enterprise programs.

logo Esri Canada

Earning an ESRI certification will allow GIS users to recognize attainment of a high level of expertise with a particular program. The ESRI Technical Certification Program has been designed to complement the geographic information system professional (GISP) certification available in the United States through the GIS Certification Institute, and recognizes specific skills and expertise in using ESRI software.

The new certification program is designed to:

  • Create a community of professionals with proficiency using ESRI, who can design, implement, and administer a GIS.
  • Help users make better use of their investments in ESRI products by employing a workforce certified in GIS best practices.
  • Create professional development opportunities for ESRI software users.Esri certification program
  • Give ESRI software users, GIS consultants and instructors, and Esri partners the opportunity to distinguish themselves and their organizations with their unique qualifications.
  • Help Geomatics companies, government agencies, and other organizations appraise the GIS skills and abilities of job candidates.
  • Certifications are offered at the Associate and Professional levels. Generally, Associate users are familiar with all aspects of an ESRI application, while Professional users have a more advanced understanding of the concepts and processes defined for the Associate level. Descriptions of the Associate/Professional certifications currently offered and their experience requirements can be found at the ESRI website.

The first certifications to be offered starting this month (January 2011) are ArcGIS Desktop Associate, ArcGIS Desktop Professional, Web Application Developer Associate, Enterprise Geodatabase Management Associate, and Enterprise Administration Associate. Eight more certifications will be added to the program later in the year and into 2012. The table below lists the ESRI certifications currently offered or under development.

Certification examinations will include 90-95 multiple-choice questions and exam-takers will be given 2.25 hours to complete the test. Examinations will be available at 5,000 locations in 165 countries, and will be offered in English only.

The ESRI certification exam is designed to test the GIS professional on all aspects of the Esri software package and its capabilities. Certification applicants are therefore encouraged to become familiar with aspects of the software (i.e., tools and functions, etc.) that they do not normally use and which are outside their specific area of expertise.

ESRI Certifications Offered / Under Development
Software Package Certification Associate Professional
Desktop ArcGIS Desktop Yes Yes
Developer ArcGIS Desktop Developer Yes* Yes*
Web Application Developer Yes Yes*
Mobile Developer Yes* Yes*
Enterprise Enterprise Geodatabase Management Yes Yes*
Enterprise System Design Yes* Yes*
Enterprise Administration Yes N/A

Note: Certifications denoted with an asterisk (*) are currently under development.

Certification candidates can choose to take a preparatory training course prior to taking an ESRI certification examination. Several in-person and online exam-preparation training options are available. Course overviews, outlines, prerequisites, and prices can be found at the Esri website.

[For those new to GIS …. ] ESRI is a software development company that specializes in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geodatabase management applications. According to Wikipedia, in 2009, Esri had approximately a 30 percent share of the GIS software market worldwide, and about seventy percent of current GIS users make use of Esri products.

References
Corbin, Tripp. (March 31, 2011). ESRI Technical Certification: Tips to Prepare. Retrieved from: http://www.egisassociates.com/index.php/newsreader/items/Esri_cert_tips.html

Esri Inc. (December 7, 2010). Earn the New Esri Technical Certification. Retrieved from: http://www.esri.com/news/releases/10_4qtr/technical-cert.html

Esri Inc. Technical Certification Overview website. Retrieved from: http://training.esri.com/certification/

Wickipedia. Article on Esri, Inc. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esri.