What is a GIS Analyst?

In other posts I’ve talked about the many aspects of GIS, particularly the technology, issues with data, and the way GIS technology is used. In this post I want to talk about the people who pull a GIS project together – GIS analysts. Ideally a GIS analyst is someone who has an intimate knowledge of the problem that is being mapped as well as a good understanding of GIS. However, they could just-as-easily be someone with only a basic understanding of both GIS and a problem domain, but have very good communication skills combined with an eye for the important questions that need to be asked.

What does a GIS analyst do?

A GIS analyst’s job description will vary from workplace-to-workplace. Their duties may include some or all of the following…

  • Documenting a problem and flowcharting its solution using GIS
  • Creating databases and maintaining databases.
  • Carrying out spatial analysis
  • Developing computer software
  • Preparing maps and writing supporting documentation.
  • Coordinating and sharing geographic information with people within their organization and industry.

Where does a GIS analyst work?

GIS analysts are in a range of industries and organizations like:

  • Governmental departments at all levels
  • Surveying companies
  • Mapping and GIS firms
  • Colleges and universities
  • Information Technology (IT) industry
  • Environmental and engineering consultancies

Skills To Become A GIS Analyst

A GIS analyst needs to be equipped with very specific knowledge. Ideally they will have…

  • Problem solving and analytical abilities
  • Programming skills
  • Training in GIS
  • Information Technology expertise
  • Training in the problem domain
  • An understanding of the map scale issues as they apply to the problem domain
  • An ability to harness problem domain knowledge from end-users.


There are few courses out there for GIS analysts because the required skillsets vary from workplace-to-workplace. Those most likely to have success are those with either a solid understanding of a problem domain combined with a working understanding of GIS, or a solid understanding of GIS with a working understanding of the problem domain.

If you’d like to fast-track your path to being a GIS Analyst, head over to the GIS Home Study Course which offers a complete education in 7 days at https://gis-university.com/home-study-gis-course-01/