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Becoming a GIS Officer

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GIS or Geographical Information Systems are systems that are highly computerized for storage, collection, manipulation, analysis and also presentation of various geographical data, related to government sectors and commerce. Earlier, this was more of paper maps and traditional economic and social data. This stratum is vast and therefore, there are many sections that are employed to fulfill each and every detail and segment. Amongst many GIS jobs, the job of a GIS officer in particular is quite promising. GIS is trying to acquire the IT sector and therefore, there are many job opportunities for all GIS users as well as GIS developers.

Responsibilities of a GIS officer

If you are an aspiring GIS officer, then you must know that as an officer you will be entitled to acquire all GIS data. This involves data production and analysis, which would aid in planning and assisting delivery of various services in zones like defense, healthcare, oil, water, electricity, gas, telecoms, environment, government (both local and central), operations, transport, retails, finance and insurance.

The work and responsibility of a GIS officer vary because of various organizations that make use of GIS. As a GIS officer, you would be responsible for various duties and activities, such as collection of various geographical data and information. These are inclusive of location capture of various assets that use GPS in the field, for locating roads, barriers, bridges, street lights, defenses for various agencies of the government, private companies, local systems etc.

Being a GIS officer, you are also required to capture data and then convert that to GIS datasets, like recording the telecom locations, water pipelines from the maps etc. These are few data collection responsibilities that you will have to undertake as a GIS officer.

Next is storage collection duty of all geographical data and information. This responsibility includes the maintenance and creation of structures that are required for the storage of GIS data. Then, you also need to develop tools for the transfer and loading of GIS data within various systems.

Being a GIS officer, you have the responsibility of analysis, presentation and manipulation of geographical data. This is done by the creation of various programs for the conversion of GIS data to different formats. Then, you have to work in the development of internet applications, so as to do the presentation of GIS tools and data on various corporate based websites.

You also need to make use of various tools to join the datasets and also create fresh information and even do pattern investigation, like estimation of flood victims, making use of figures of population growth and also planning various details for the estimation of increase or decrease in demand for capacity in schools. Then you also need to do the calculation of estimated customers in a supermarket or predict the pattern of purchase on the basis of social and economical factors.

As a GIS officer, you must remember that most of your duties would be on the basis of projects and ask for your involvement in collaborating with various clients for the clarification of reasons for the requirement of information.

Requirements: Academic & Skill sets

A degree in GIS, computer or geographical science is preferred. Diploma holders can also opt for this field but at a junior level. The subjects for such candidates would include information technology, GIS, surveying and management. This particular field is also for graduates in any degree, but there are few subjects that would really be an add-on to your job application. These are geography, cartography, geographical information systems, surveying, software engineering or computer science and town planning.

As a GIS officer you must possess excellent oral and written communications skills, with a pro-active and self motivated attitude. You must also have the ability to make the translation of various requirements into workable solutions and be able to work even in various circumstances and under pressure.

Career prospects

There are many possibilities for a career as a GIS officer, since there are numerous areas both in the private and public sector. Try to focus on applications development, spatial analysis, information management and sales and marketing, and witness the flood of opportunity in the field of GIS.

Salary in this field is usually somewhere around $70,000-$97,000. Your experience, educational qualifications and skills do aid in the formulation of the salary structure.

If you have a good work experience, then you are at a greater advantage of landing a job as a GIS officer. Experience can involve capturing of various data for any local council, internship with a GIS consultancy etc.
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