GIS certification applications to go online

Geographic information system specialists looking to gain professional certification will be able to access the necessary application package Jan. 1.

The GIS Certification Institute will launch the application feature on its Web site, www.gisci.org, at the start of 2004. GIS professionals can then download the materials necessary to submit their qualifications to gain recognition as certified GIS professionals.

Wendy Francis, chief executive officer and director of marketing and member services for the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, said she expects the majority of applicants to come from the government sector. She also anticipates that a large number of private consultants will apply for certification.

Applicants must meet requirements in three areas: educational achievement, professional experience and contributions to the profession. They must document experiences such as educational programs, a minimum of four years of GIS work, and membership and participation in GIS associations or conferences.

The institute's Web site currently offers information for potential applicants and will soon feature a slide-show presentation to assist them with the application process.

The GISCI Review Team and administrative staff will review submissions and notify successful applicants. Once they have been notified, recipients must sign a GIS Code of Ethics to earn the credential of certified professional.

The first class of GIS professionals was recognized during this year's URISA Annual Conference. Twenty-nine participants in a pilot program were recognized as certified GIS professionals.

"For many of us, the certification is not needed to get a job," said Art Kalinski, GIS manager for the Atlanta Regional Commission. "What the certification does is underscore our experience and permit us to speak with greater credibility regarding GIS issues."

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