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GIS Analyst Job Description

GIS analysts use geographic information system methods to identify variables and trends in different locations. Their work involves collaborating with computer-aided design (CAD) technicians, developing web apps and tools, and integrating GIS with other technologies. GIS analysts usually work regular business hours, although occasional weekend work is sometimes necessary when important deadlines are approaching. People in this role may also be required to travel for field work. This job is well suited to analytical thinkers who enjoy statistics and numerical data, have good communication skills, and work well as part of a team.


GIS Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

The organization a GIS analyst works for will determine the exact responsibilities they take on. Based on job listings we analyzed, a GIS analyst’s duties typically involve:

Convert Paper Maps to GIS Data Sets

GIS analysts use data capture, also known as digitizing, to convert paper maps to GIS data sets that can be used to identify where locations have been developed. For example, they can detail where telecom cables or water pipelines have been added compared to original maps.

Manipulate Data for Reports

This job involves manipulating and analyzing geographical information to be presented in reports or presentations. GIS analysts accomplish this by creating programs that convert GIS information from one format to another. They also develop tools for loading or transferring data between different systems.

Maintain Geographical Library

GIS analysts maintain a geographical library with a range of different maps and prepared information. These resources are utilized in accordance with the latest trends and newest information. This duty may also include noting the methods required for the supply of path information.

Examine Mathematical Styles to Deduce Trends

GIS analysts study the mathematical styles that have been used in successful GIS plans, programs, and commodities, so that they can be applied or improved upon in other applications. They use tools to join different GIS data sets together to create new information or to spot patterns.

Develop Applications

GIS analysts develop internet apps and tools to present GIS data on corporate websites for clients. This involves improving the stream of information and studies to help develop simulations and reports.


GIS Analyst Skills and Qualifications

GIS analysts take an analytical approach to tasks. They have strong IT skills, can manipulate complex databases, and are highly detail oriented. Typically, employers require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, geography, or a similar field, as well as the following abilities:

  • Analytical thinking – GIS analysts analyze data based on certain criteria and use that knowledge to generate reports for use in other projects
  • Computer knowledge – GIS analysts use databases and computer programs on a regular basis, so good computer skills are a must
  • Writing – this job requires the ability to create well written and detailed reports, so it’s important that applicants for this job have strong writing skills
  • Problem-solving skills – GIS analysts solve technical problems and use statistical knowledge to spot trends and find errors, so troubleshooting and problem-solving are key parts of this job
  • Mathematics – a large proportion of this job is analyzing data, statistics, and patterns in numerical information, so GIS analysts must be good with numbers


GIS Analyst Education and Training

The minimum requirement to become a GIS analyst is a bachelor’s degree in computer science, engineering, or geography. Applicants with prior GIS experience and knowledge are likely to experience more success in the job market. It’s also advantageous to have certifications that demonstrate a level of professional expertise, such as the GIS Professional (GISP) designation that can be obtained through the GIS Certification Institute. For applicants looking to further their opportunities, further education (such as a master’s degree) may be beneficial.


GIS Analyst Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for GIS analysts is nearly $52,000, according to PayScale. GIS analysts in the 10th percentile earn around $40,000 annually, while the highest paid earn over $73,000 a year. Some companies offer packages that can reach over $5,000 in bonuses and $4,000 in profit-sharing opportunities. Many employers offer dental plans and medical insurance as part of their benefits package. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that this sector will grow 7 percent through 2026.


Helpful Resources

We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn about becoming a GIS analyst:

“GIS 101: Learn About GIS” – for those new to GIS, this page is a great reference that covers everything from GIS basics to career advice

GIS, Mapping, and Geo Technology Professionals – created for professionals working with GIS, mapping, and geo technologies, this LinkedIn group has over 52,000 members. It’s a great way to learn about the latest features of GIS, geospatial technologies, and industry news

The ESRI Guide to GIS Analysis – this book demonstrates how GIS can be used to identify geographic patterns and trends using examples from different industries. It covers key geographic analysis tasks, including mapping where things are, mapping density, finding what’s nearby, and more

Practical GIS – an easy-to-follow guide, this book helps readers manage and analyze geographic data easily. It also explores publishing data online and using geoinformatics to solve problems


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