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GIS Careers

What is GIS?

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is an interdisciplinary technology with close theoretical and applied ties to the academic subject of geography. GIS is useful to every discipline which utilizes geographic data. As an example, GIS is used to model population growth and distribution, urban development, transportation expansion, manufacturing location, movement through networks, and many other processes. As these models are constructed, tested, and used, they will play a larger role as decision support systems available to managers, planners, and policy makers in an increasing number of fields.


Careers in GIS

In the last five years, many state agencies have created new positions for GIS analysts, technicians, and managers. Some Oklahoma agencies that employ persons with GIS training include the Conservation Commission, Department of Forestry, Department of Transportation, and Department of Commerce. In addition, Native American tribal governments, city planning departments, and regional planning agencies have created new positions for GIS specialists. At a time when the federal government workforce is being scaled back, there continues to be a high demand for GIS analysts in agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Increasingly, there is a demand for GIS professionals in private industry within Oklahoma. Surveying and engineering firms throughout the state routinely hire GIS professionals. Petroleum companies also maintain GIS/mapping departments to keep track of oil and gas production, storage, and transportation. Utilities are forming new GIS departments responsible for automating electrical, gas, or cable telephone network mapping and report-generating activities. There is also a significant demand for persons trained in GIS outside of the state and nation, especially in large cities and in multinational corporations. The GIS/mapping industry is a burgeoning market and one of the fastest growing segments of the computer industry. As a result, GIS- related professionals have never been in greater demand. Opportunities for certificate holders can be found in several areas within the GIS industry including applications development, database creation, sales and marketing, software development and training, data conversion, and public, retail, or commercial project management.

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