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.
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