Summary Report for:
15-1199.05 - Geographic Information Systems Technicians
Assist scientists, technologists, or related professionals in building, maintaining, modifying, or using geographic information systems (GIS) databases. May also perform some custom application development or provide user support.
Sample of reported job titles: Cartographer, Geographic Information Systems Analyst (GIS Analyst), Geographic Information Systems Coordinator (GIS Coordinator), Geographic Information Systems Specialist (GIS Specialist), Geographic Information Systems Technician (GIS Technician), Technical Support Specialist
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings
- Design or prepare graphic representations of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data, using GIS hardware or software applications.
- Analyze Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data to identify spatial relationships or display results of analyses, using maps, graphs, or tabular data.
- Maintain or modify existing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) databases.
- Enter data into Geographic Information Systems (GIS) databases, using techniques such as coordinate geometry, keyboard entry of tabular data, manual digitizing of maps, scanning or automatic conversion to vectors, or conversion of other sources of digital data.
- Review existing or incoming data for currency, accuracy, usefulness, quality, or completeness of documentation.
- Perform geospatial data building, modeling, or analysis, using advanced spatial analysis, data manipulation, or cartography software.
- Design or coordinate the development of integrated Geographic Information Systems (GIS) spatial or non-spatial databases.
- Select cartographic elements needed for effective presentation of information.
- Provide technical support to users or clients regarding the maintenance, development, or operation of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) databases, equipment, or applications.
- Interpret aerial or ortho photographs.
- Recommend procedures or equipment or software upgrades to increase data accessibility or ease of use.
- Read current literature, talk with colleagues, continue education, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology, equipment, or systems.
- Confer with users to analyze, configure, or troubleshoot applications.
- Transfer or rescale information from original photographs onto maps or other photographs.
- Analyze Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data for use in urban planning applications that promote better land use or reduce environmental impacts of development.
- Analyze Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data to determine the best locations for renewable energy sites, including solar or wind energy installations.
- Apply Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data in transportation routing settings to determine the best routing to reduce pollution or energy consumption.
- Confer with biologists or other researchers in the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data to define wildlife areas or corridors for land use planning.
- Participate in projects that map changes in carbon emissions levels across different geographic locations, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Desktop computers
- Digital cameras
- Global positioning system GPS receiver — Global positioning system GPS receivers
- Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines
- Laser printers — Computer laser printers
- Mainframe computers
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Photocopiers — Photocopying equipment
- Plotter printers — Large-format plotters; Plotters
- Portable data input terminals — Portable data collectors
- Scanners — Computer data input scanners; Digitizers
- Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems
Technology used in this occupation:
- Analytical or scientific software — Coordinate geometry COGO software; ESRI ArcGIS Geostatistical Analyst; ESRI ArcGIS Spatial Analyst; Landmark Graphics GeoGraphix software
- Application server software — ESRI ArcSDE
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software; Autodesk Land Desktop; Bentley Microstation; Computer aided design and drafting CADD software
- Data base management system software — Microsoft SQL Server; Relational database management system RDMS
- Data base reporting software — SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports
- Data base user interface and query software — Autodesk Topobase; ESRI ArcEditor; Microsoft Access; Structured query language SQL (see all 6 examples)
- Development environment software — C; List processing language LISP; Microsoft .NET Framework; Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications VBA (see all 5 examples)
- Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat; Microsoft Office SharePoint Server MOSS
- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP software
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software; Microsoft Visio
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Map creation software — ESRI ArcGIS software; ESRI ArcView; GIS software; Trimble Pathfinder Office (see all 6 examples)
- Mobile location based services software — Global positioning system GPS software
- Object or component oriented development software — Microsoft Visual C#; Microsoft Visual C++; Practical extraction and reporting language Perl; Python (see all 5 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Geography — Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
Detailed Work Activities
- Analyze data to identify trends or relationships among variables.
- Prepare graphics or other visual representations of information.
- Create databases to store electronic data.
- Provide technical support for software maintenance or use.
- Apply information technology to solve business or other applied problems.
- Evaluate data quality.
- Collaborate with others to resolve information technology issues.
- Update computer database information.
- Develop scientific or mathematical models.
- Update knowledge about emerging industry or technology trends.
- Troubleshoot issues with computer applications or systems.
- Recommend changes to improve computer or information systems.
- Analyze Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data for use in green applications.
- Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 84% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 77% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 74% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Telephone — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 51% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 32% responded “Very important.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 17% responded “Very important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 41% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 47% responded “Some freedom.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 38% responded “Very important.”
- Contact With Others — 36% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 17% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Time Pressure — 51% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 38% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Deal With External Customers — 39% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 48% responded “Important results.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|Not available||Bachelor's degree|
|Not available||Master's degree|
|Not available||High school diploma or equivalent|
Interest code: IRC
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wages data collected from Computer Occupations, All Other.
Employment data collected from Computer Occupations, All Other.
Industry data collected from Computer Occupations, All Other.
|Median wages (2014)||$40.10 hourly, $83,410 annual|
|Employment (2012)||206,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Slower than average (3% to 7%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||40,200|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.