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Center for GIS

GISP Certification

Whatís so Special about GISP?

Most of the GIS Specialists who work for CGIS are now certified as GIS Professionals. They earned the right to put GISP after their names through a rigorous qualifying process developed by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI). Because GISP status is recognition of a certain level of achievement in the GIS professions, as well as commitment to a high ethical standard, thatís special for Marylandís GIS resource base, Towson University, and our clients.

Qualifying for GISP Status

Through a portfolio that includes a 32-page points-based application plus submission of supporting documents, successful GISP applicants prove that they meet GISCI standards for ethical conduct and professional practice, educational achievement, professional experience, and the manner in which they contribute back to the profession. Certification is based on the following benchmarks.

  • Education: A combination of formal university GIS-related coursework and informal GIS-related training/educational conference experience.
  • Experience: Four years in GIS application and/or data development (or equivalent).
  • Contributions: Modest involvement with publications, professional associations, conference participation, workshop instruction, awards, etc.
  • Code of Ethics: Appropriate and ethical guidelines for professional practice and conduct.
  • Recertification: A five-year certification cycle requires further earned credit in the benchmark areas to ensure proficiency.

GISP Code of Ethics

The GISP Code of Ethics includes the same ethical standards that many other professional societies regard as essential. Guidelines unique to the GIS profession include the encouragement to:

  • make data and findings widely available;
  • document data and products;
  • be actively involved in data retention and security;
  • show respect for copyright and other intellectual property rights; and
  • display concern for the sensitive data about individuals discovered through geospatial or database manipulations.

The Value of GISP Certification

The number of GIS professionals who have earned GISP status is growing, but widespread recognition of the GISP value has not yet been fully achieved. The GIS Committee of the National Association of Counties (NACo) is helping to spread the word by publicly endorsing and commending the GISP certification program for promoting good business practice and for strengthening the professions within the GIS industry.

The rewards and value of GISP certification are both personal and universal. Here are a few thoughts from the CGIS GISPs.

Itís great being a part of a professional group that is focused on the specific challenges in the GIS field.

The requirements for GISP include not only education and experience, but community outreach, contributions to the field, and willingness to learn new things.

Obtaining a GISP Certification provides a consistent foundation and guidelines for practitioners to follow.

Itís gratifying that our accomplishments in the classroom, experience in the field, and contributions to GIS in our state are recognized and valued by other members of the GIS industry.

Obtaining the GISP certification acknowledges to the industry and public that we value, support, and will abide by all standards and guidelines established.

Division of Innovation & Applied Research
Center for GIS
Office Location: 7400 York Road, Towson, MD 21204

Phone: 410-704-3887
Fax: 410-704-3888


Read the blog post about CGIS' staff that are certified GIS Professionals.




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