Point of Beginning - April 2010 - (Page 44)
surveyinggis | BY MICHAEL L. BINGE, LS, GISP
What is a GISP?
It’s hard to believe my second career as a “GIS evangelist” is now going into its 10th year. But as the Romans used to say, tempus fugit.*
Initially, my approach was to provide a window into the “mysteries” of geographic information systems for surveyors who were not familiar with this elephant that lumbered onto our landscape. More recently, I have been focusing my efforts on assuring the survey community that the door to success with GIS is still wide open. But, as I was told many years ago, “Be mindful of ticks, especially politics.” Ever since GIS stampeded into our lives, a nagging question has vexed the survey community: What is a GIS professional? We can’t understand it. We can’t get our arms around it. We all understand the formula for becoming a professional surveyor: Get a license. But what makes a GIS professional a GISP? tion, which is primarily because there is nothing “state specific” in the makeup of most GIS work. Following is the GISCI policy statement regarding licensure: Licensure is the granting of a license to practice a profession after meeting minimum competency requirements. Licensure is used to guard against incompetence or when consumers value a reduction in downside risk more than the benefits of a positive outcome. GISCI feel the downside risks of negligent and unethical GIS practice do not warrant the intense regulation and restriction brought on by mandatory licensure. GISPs are expected to work within jurisdictional law and the GISCI Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct.
A Points-Based System
In lieu of a formal written examination, the URISA Certification Committee eventually developed a tiered point system. The committee spent four years obtaining information and opinions from its membership and related organizations. The result was a pointsbased self-documented certification process. There are three component parts (tiers) to GISCI certification: • Educational achievements (minimum score 30) • Professional experience (minimum score 60) • Contributions to the profession (minimum score 8) The total minimum number of points required is 150 in any combination. The educational achievement component can be satisfied with degrees, certificates and coursework in any combination; no specific GIS degree is needed. The only requirement is that “subject matter must relate directly to geospatial science or related technology, and applications.” Yes, that would include a degree in surveying. And documentation is required. Prior to Dec. 31, 2008, there was a grandfathering provision that allowed GIS users with many years of experience to waive the education achievement in whole or in part. Now, however, anyone seeking to become certified must fulfill the education requirements. The professional experience component is a bit trickier. The requirement is for four years of “GIS application or data development. (Or equivalent).” The key * time flies
The Role of the GISCI
There is no licensing procedure to become a GISP. Instead, there is the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI), a body created for the purpose of defining and certifying those elements that meet the standards for professionalism in the field of GIS. The need to certify professionals working in the new and rapidly exploding field of GIS was recognized very early on. Several ideas were floated in the early and mid-1990s when the question of who was going to own the GIS was a source of considerable controversy. Several state licensing boards looked into the issue, but all of them rejected the idea for a variety of reasons. So it fell to the largest GIS-user organization, the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), to devise a plan for certification. In 2004, URISA formed GISCI as a separate organization. Originally managed by URISA, the institute is now operated by four member organizations: URISA, Association of American Geographers (AAG), the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC), and the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS).
Michael L. Binge is a private GIS consultant, certified GIS professional and licensed land surveyor in Arizona, California and Colorado.
No Exam Required
The GISCI differs from licensing bodies in several ways. One part of the GISCI approach that generates some controversy is the absence of a written examina-
APRIL 2010 | Point of Beginning | www.pobonline.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Point of Beginning - April 2010
Point of Beginning - April 2010
A Grand Re-Entrance
A Model Community
Tough Work in a Tight Spot
Show Me the Data
BIM in a Box
Traversing the Law
New & Notable
Point of Beginning - April 2010