Geographic Information Systems Specialists

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Geographic Information Systems Specialists

Geographic Information Systems Specialists - Overview

Geographic information systems (GIS) specialists use computers to create maps.

GIS specialists use geographic information systems (GIS) databases to interpret and display data. They interpret and visualize data to show relationships, patterns, and trends.

GIS databases allow GIS specialists to:

  • Gather and store data
  • Model and analyze data
  • Display data graphically

GIS specialists work with cartographers and GIS technicians. They often work for government agencies, utility companies, and consulting and surveying firms.

GIS maps often are used to relate non-graphic information to places. This information can be used for many purposes, such as:

  • Planning urban growth
  • Managing forests
  • Routing 911 vehicles
  • Assessing groundwater contamination

GIS specialists can add varying levels of geographic information to a map. Some maps require basic physical information, such as roads, rivers, and boundaries. Other maps require detailed utility information, such as the location of sewer, gas, and power lines.

GIS specialists can specialize in one of the following areas:

Analyze needs and data

Analysts interview users to determine what information is needed. They select the types of data and maps that will meet user needs. For example, city planners may use GIS data to lower gasoline consumption by building roads in the right places. Others use GIS data to find the best locations for solar and wind energy sites.

Program computers

Programmers write computer programs of the analysts' designs. Programmers create menus and commands to help users.

Digitize maps

Digitizers convert existing map coordinates into computer-readable form. They put existing maps on digitizer tables and place a cursor over various points to enter data into computers. Digitizers also code data that will appear in layers over the basic map of the earth's surface.

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.