A geographic information system (GIS) analyst is often regarded as a mapmaker who employs technology, such as mapping software, to create digital maps. His or her work involves the application of spatial and geographical information to develop a database, too. Before, GIS analysts mainly helped cartographers and geographers with their work. Today, GIS analysts work for various industries, such as agriculture, astronomy, archeology, law enforcement, disaster management, and engineering.
GIS analysts also often work with computer-aided design (CAD) technicians to develop digital tools, such as mobile maps, that can guide end-users to their desired destinations.
Other interesting terms…
Read More about a “GIS Analyst”
The success of a GIS analyst depends on the growing demand for application programming interfaces (APIs) like Google Maps and the popularity of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Given that, we expect continued demand for GIS analysts in the future.
Based on a study conducted by P&S Market Research, the market for GIS analysts will hit the US$17.5-billion mark by 2023. That means increased demand for GIS analysts by at least 19% from 2014 to 2024 based on the projections of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). If you want to take advantage of this, read on.
What do GIS Analysts Do?
The tasks expected of GIS analysts include:
- Digitizing paper maps to convert them to GIS datasets
- Analyzing geographical information to create reports in different formats
- Maintaining a geographical library to ensure it remains up-to-date and accessible for public consumption
- Examining mathematical applications to identify trends for application improvement and pattern identification
- Developing applications and tools to show GIS data for the use of clients and end-users
What Skills and Qualifications Should GIS Analysts Have?
A GIS analyst should have a bachelor’s degree in geography, computer science, geoscience, engineering, surveying, or any related field of study. For an entry-level position, no experience may be necessary, as one can get training during his or her internship. However, some more senior positions may require at least five years of relevant work experience. Getting certifications like the GIS Professional (GISP) from the GIS Certification Institute can help advance one’s career.
Since a GIS analyst’s job deals mostly with analysis, excellent problem-solving skills and an analytical mindset would help. Good written and verbal communication and interpersonal skills are also good to have. Expertise in database management, cartography, spatial analysis, and remote sensing would also be ideal.
How Much does a GIS Analyst Earn on Average?
A GIS analyst’s salary depends on his or her experience. According to PayScale, a U.S.-based entry-level GIS analyst can receive at least US$45,000 a year. Those with mid-level experience can earn US$59,000, while those with extensive experience spanning more than 20 years can expect to get at least US$74,000 a year.
Aspiring GIS analysts should be passionate about numbers and doing statistical analyses as these would make up most of their workload.