Geographic Information Systems Specialist

Public Sector
Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

As a Geographic Information Systems Specialist in the Public Sector industry, your job is all about creating and managing maps and geographic data. You'll use advanced software tools to analyze geographic data and help decision-makers in government make informed choices about resource allocation, planning, and public safety. 

Your main duties will include designing, developing, and implementing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications, systems, and databases. You'll be responsible for collecting, organizing, and analyzing a wide range of data related to geography, including topographical, demographic, and environmental information. 

You'll work closely with other professionals such as data analysts, planners, and environmental scientists to create interactive maps and apps, which provide real-time data to the public and government officials. You may also be required to perform fieldwork to collect data, update maps, and conduct quality control checks.

Overall, working as a Geographic Information Systems Specialist is a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in geography, technology, and data analysis. With a focus on innovation and problem-solving, this role is ideal for those who enjoy using advanced tools to create practical solutions. If you're interested in learning more about this exciting field, be sure to check out our Geographic Information Systems Specialist job description template today.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Collect and analyze geographic data from various sources, such as satellite images, GPS measurements, and maps.
  • Create maps and visualizations to display data and inform decision-making processes.
  • Develop and maintain spatial databases and related software tools.
  • Provide technical support and training on GIS technology to staff within the organization.
  • Ensure data accuracy and quality control to ensure compliance with relevant policies and regulations.
  • Collaborate with external stakeholders, such as government agencies, non-profits, and private sector organizations, to share and integrate GIS data.
  • Conduct fieldwork and site visits to collect data and verify information.
  • Develop and implement strategic plans to improve GIS operations and increase efficiency.
  • Stay up-to-date on new GIS technologies and trends through professional development and continuing education.
  • Work collaboratively within a team environment to achieve common goals and objectives.

Experience and Education Requirements

A Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist job in the Public Sector industry generally requires at least a bachelor's degree in geography, geology, computer science, or a related field. In addition, relevant experience with GIS software and data analysis is usually expected. Skills in data management, cartography, and spatial analysis are also necessary. Commonly, individuals with experience in surveying, engineering, or environmental science fields may also be suitable for the role. An ability to work well in a team and to communicate effectively is important when working in the Public Sector. A Master's degree may also be a preferred qualification for this job.

Salary Range

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialists play a crucial role in analyzing spatial data and creating interactive maps for the Public Sector industry. The salary range for GIS Specialists in the United States is between $40,000 to $95,000 per year, with the median salary being around $60,000 according to However, salaries can vary depending on the level of experience, education, and location. For example, professionals working in Washington DC, California, and Alaska, typically earn more than those working in other states.

In Canada, the salary range for GIS Specialists is C$46,000 to C$91,000 per year, with an average salary of C$63,000 according to In the United Kingdom, GIS Specialists earn an average salary of £35,000 per year.



Career Outlook

The career outlook for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialists in the Public Sector industry looks promising over the next five years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of surveyors, cartographers, and photogrammetrists, which includes GIS specialists, is projected to grow by 4% from 2019 to 2029. 

GIS specialists are crucial in the fields of transportation, urban planning, emergency management, and environmental management. In the public sector, GIS specialists can work for government agencies, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions. With more emphasis on data-driven decision-making, the demand for GIS specialists is expected to increase in the coming years.

The future is bright for those pursuing a career in GIS. Constantly upgrading your skills and knowledge is necessary to stay competitive in this field. There are various certifications, such as the GIS Professional (GISP) certification, which can help you stand out to potential employers. With the growing demand for GIS specialists in the public sector, the career opportunities are endless.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a Geographic Information Systems Specialist in the Public Sector do?

A: They use software to analyze, manage, and display geographical data to help government agencies make informed decisions.

Q: What skills do you need to become a Geographic Information Systems Specialist?

A: Strong analytical skills, attention to detail, familiarity with GIS software and databases, problem-solving skills, and the ability to communicate effectively.

Q: What kind of education or training is required?

A: A bachelor’s degree in geography, computer science, or related fields is typically required, as well as proficiency in GIS software and programming languages.

Q: What kinds of jobs can I get with a degree in GIS?

A: GIS specialists can work for government agencies, environmental organizations, engineering firms, and many other industries. They may work in fields such as urban planning, emergency management, and environmental protection.

Q: Does the job require working outside or traveling?

A: While some GIS specialists may need to conduct fieldwork, such as collecting data or surveying land, most work in an office setting. Travel may be required for meetings or data collection, but it’s not a significant part of the job.

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