Geospatial Analyst Job Description

Geospatial analysts, also known as geospatial information scientists and geospatial information technologists, analyze aerial and overhead imagery to provide information about what is located on the ground. Military intelligence, urban planning, agriculture, and mining companies hire geospatial analysts to work full-time hours primarily in office environments, but military professionals may work out in the field in command center outpost settings where they are exposed to potentially dangerous environments. Geospatial analysts work collaboratively, sharing information and data with other staff members, and primarily report to a direct supervisor.

 

Geospatial Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

Day-to-day work tasks for geospatial analysts differ depending on the type of information they’re gathering, the type of industry they’re in, the quality of the images they’re analyzing, and the geographical region they’re studying. However, there are several core job duties associated with this career that are universally the same despite these variables.

Analyze Images

Geospatial analysts analyze fixed and moving images to determine data about what’s happening on the ground beneath aerial photographs and overhead images.

Identify Structures

Geospatial analysts use overhead and aerial imagery to identify the location of ground structures.

Assess Dimensional Details

Geospatial analysts assess the dimensional details of ground structures, such as size and height, as accurately as possible.

Create Maps

Geospatial analysts design maps and tables based on geospatial analysis.

Write Reports

Geospatial analysts write reports summarizing their findings of geospatial analysis.

 

Geospatial Analyst Skills and Qualifications

Geospatial analysts analyze image data to make determinations about what’s on the ground. They summarize these findings in detailed reports and visual maps showing estimates for ground structures, people, and topographical features. Employers that hire geospatial analysts look for professionals who have all the skills needed to perform the tasks associated with this career.

  • Analytical ability – geospatial analysts use analytical skills to study images and determine various types of ground features revealed by the images
  • Communication – geospatial analysts use written communication skills to write detailed reports based off image analysis findings
  • Computer skills – geospatial analysts use mapping and cartography programs to create maps based on visual images, which requires good computer skills
  • Mathematics – geospatial analysts use overhead images to determine the dimensions and proportions of structures on the ground, which requires some mathematical skills
  • Design skills – using visualization techniques and design skills, geospatial analysts create maps and detailed reports about the likely size and type of natural and manmade features found in a given geographic area

 

Geospatial Analyst Education and Training

Most employers look for geospatial analysts who have a master’s degree in geographic information systems or a similar field of study, but a bachelor’s degree is often accepted by many employers when geospatial analysts also have past work experience in cartography or drafting.

Training is not typically provided to geospatial analysts who work for privately-owned companies, as these professionals already have the education and training needed to perform geospatial analysis. Professionals who want to be military geospatial analysts, however, must undergo 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and 22 weeks of Advanced Individual Training before receiving work assignments.

 

Geospatial Analyst Salary and Outlook

Job data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that cartographers and photogrammetrists earned $30.76 hourly median income, or $63,990 yearly, in 2017. Cartographers and photogrammetrists occupied more than 12,000 jobs in 2016, a number the BLS projects will grow by 19 percent through 2026. This rate is much faster than the national job growth average. Cartographers and photogrammetrists typically have a bachelor’s degree and interpret geographic information to create updated maps and charts for multiple industries. The duties performed by cartographers and photogrammetrists are similar to those of geospatial analysts, who receive $58,001 median annual income, according to PayScale.

Geospatial analysts receive comprehensive benefits packages from both military and private employers. Typically, these packages include healthcare plans with dental, vision, and medical benefits. Retirement benefits and life insurance usually come standard with these packages. A majority of employers also provide geospatial analysts with paid holidays, sick leave, and vacation days.

 

Helpful Resources

Look for job openings, news updates, career advancement tools, and helpful techniques and strategies for geospatial analysts with these resources:

Geospatial Information & Technology Association – use this website designed for geospatial analysts and other geospatial professionals to search for jobs, find training tools, read news updates, and search for upcoming professional events.

Hands-On Geospatial Analysis with R and QGIS: A beginner’s guide to manipulate, analyse and visualize spatial data – read this book to learn how to use various geospatial analysis tools, create maps using map making programs, and find out more about other hands-on techniques used by geospatial analysts.

The Imaging & Geospatial Information Society – search for job openings and career opportunities, explore news updates and learning resources, find out more about certification programs, and read professional publications for geospatial analysts at this website dedicated to geospatial information and imaging.

Geospatial Analysis: A Comprehensive Guide – this comprehensive guide provides in-depth tips and techniques for using visualization and analytical techniques to perform geospatial analysis.

American Association of Geographers – stay up-to-date on news, useful content, upcoming programs, educational tools, job openings, and professional events at this website for geographers and related professionals like geospatial analysts.

Spatial Statistics and Geostatistics: Theory and Applications for Geographic Information Science and Technology (SAGE Advances in Geographic Information Science and Technology Series) – this book focuses on spatial statistics as a means of performing analysis. Along with text, this book provides useful illustrations and diagrams.

 

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