GISCI Considers Updates to GIS Professional Certification – Could include a test

Looks like we are already seeing the impact of the new core compentency model. The GISCI is looking to use it as a possible basis to help tighten the requirements for the GISP certification. One can most likely assume this would be a test. Below is the official press release from the GISCI.

From the GISCI:

The GIS Certification Institute’s Board of Directors today charged a committee of certified GIS Professionals (GISPs) to propose revisions to GISP certification requirements. Observing that “the geospatial industry, and the GIS profession within it, has matured considerably” since GISCI was founded in 2004, Board members unanimously endorsed a GISP Certification Update Initiative.

According to GISCI President David DiBiase, “the purpose of GISP certification is to advance the GIS profession by promoting competent and ethical professional practice. Portfolio-based certification made sense in 2004, when no authoritative specification of geospatial competencies yet existed. The Department of Labor’s recently issued Geospatial Technology Competency Model helps fill that gap, and sets the stage for serious consideration of competency-based GISP certification.”

In addition to a “new competency-based examination requirement for some or all applicants,” the Board also asked GISCI’s Certification Committee to consider other changes that “increase rigor, streamline, eliminate ambiguities, or otherwise update and improve existing certification criteria and procedures.”

 GISCI’s Certification Committee will deliver to the Board a proposed GISP Certification Update plan before the end of the 2010 calendar year. Following a month-long public comment period in early 2011, the Board will decide whether to adopt, revise, or table the plan. If approved by the GISCI Board, any new certification requirements are expected to take effect three years from the date of approval.

 “GISCI has certified over 4,500 GISPs,” says Executive Director Sheila Wilson. “Successful applicants submit portfolios that document substantial achievements in education, professional experience, and contributions to the profession. Many GISPs believe that an even more rigorous certification process will further enhance their standing in the geospatial field. ”

 For more information about GISCI and GISP certification, visit

Leave a comment


  1. James

     /  July 9, 2010

    I wonder how this will affect people that have just entered the field? Do we start over, or will we have to enroll in college courses to pass the test? Seems like it will create a gap for a few years while people ramp up to the new criteria.

    • Good questions. Wish I knew the answers. If they follow what other professions have done in the past all those currently certified will be grandfathered. Only those newly seeking certification will have to meet the new intial certification requirements. If they also revise the recertification requirements, then anyone recertifing will have to meet those when their time to recertify comes up.

      That is how the Land Surveyors did it when they first started licensing and testing for their profession. I guess we will find out for sure in 2011.


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