Geographic Information Systems Specialists


Employment Prospects


GIS specialists are employed by companies that provides GIS services to companies and organizations in many industries (such as health care, defense, engineering, business, emergency services). They are also employed directly by museums, colleges and universities, and government agencies (such as the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Geodetic Survey, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers, and Bureau of Reclamation). GIS software developers who sell big GIS software packages need research and development professionals to create new packages, write manuals, and do other development work; sales and marketing workers; and administrative workers.

Starting Out

Look in GIS trade magazines for job opportunities or check with the career services department of your community college, college, or university. Search the Internet for sites that specialize exclusively in GIS employment opportunities. Those interested in focusing on GIS science most likely will find opportunities with research institutes, colleges, and universities.

Advancement Prospects

Advancement depends on the specific field and employer. Those working for a GIS company might rise from an analyst or software engineering position to manager, or move over to sales and marketing. Where GIS is applied as part of a professional discipline such as engineering, advanced knowledge of GIS may help a job candidate stand out from the crowd and move ahead in his or her field.

Tips for Entry

Visit the following Web sites for job listings:


Read Directions Magazine ( and Cartography and Geographic Information Science ( to learn more about the field.

Join the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Association of American Geographers, Cartography and Geographic Information Society, and URISA to take advantage of networking events, continuing education, certification, and other resources.