What is a GISP?

  • A GISP is a certified geographic information systems (GIS) professional.
  • A GISP has met the minimum standards for educational achievement, professional experience, and manner in which he or she contributes back to the profession.
  • A GISP must abide by higher guidelines for ethical behavior.
  • A GISP continues to educate and reeducate him or herself while preparing for recertification.
  • A GISP has had their professional background scrutinized and reviewed by an independent third party organization. An Institute comprised of leading non-profit associations (AAG, NSGIC, UCGIS, GITA and URISA) focused on the application of GIS and geospatial technology.
  • A GISP lives in all 50 States and 25 foreign countries.
  • A GISP is more than a practitioner of GIS technology.
  • A GISP is a professional.

URISA's Certification Committee was formed in 1999 and following several years of discussion and thousands of hours of work, including a comprehensive Pilot Program, the Committee members finalized its portfolio-based certification program in the summer of 2003. Along with a GIS Code of Ethics, the program was adopted by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) and is the basis for GIS Professional Certification. GISCI is the certifying body that was created to manage the program.

The first individuals to meet the minimum standards for ethical conduct and professional practice as established by the GIS Certification Institute for recognition as Certified GIS Professionals (GISPs) were presented during URISA's 2003 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Twenty-nine individuals, who took part in the Pilot Program, were recognized by GISCI as Certified GIS Professionals. During the ceremony in Atlanta, each GISP publicly signed the Code of Ethics, thus completing the certification process.

Read the GISCI Policy Statement on GIS Professional Certification

The Program
The portfolio-based program requires minimum levels of achievement in three areas:
1. Educational Achievement
2. Professional Experience
3. Contributions to the Profession

Currently, an examination is NOT part of the program.

The Process
Applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the program and begin collecting necessary documentation for their portfolios. Visit www.gisci.org for information about documentation and other requirements.

Complete applications and portfolios must be submitted to GISCI, along with payment of $250, to be reviewed. An administrative staff and the GISCI Review Team will review portfolios and substantiate claims made. Upon notification of a successful application, an applicant will be required to sign the GIS Code of Ethics to complete the certification process and earn the "GISP" credential. GISPs must renew there certification every 5 years.