The GIS analyst job description requires a candidate who is skilled in reading and interpreting data, data entry and mapmaking. Though the roles of the GIS analyst vary somewhat based upon the company for which he or she works, they all analyze geographical information in a way that benefits his or her employer.
A GIS analyst uses various systems and technologies to create and maintain maps which can be combined with data that is geographically referenced.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a GIS Analyst
- Maintains and administers various GIS systems.
- Assigns addresses for new construction projects and perform field verifications of existing addresses.
- Prepares GIS layers, applications and data sets for various departments, both internal and external.
- Verifies legal deed descriptions and confirms the placement of property lines.
- Analyzes various operations within an agency to determine issues and adapts GIS applications to suit.
- Performs administrative duties including creating budgets, ordering equipment or supplies, reviewing invoices, writing grants and preparing contracts.
- Creates tax maps for governmental use.
- Maintains databases and ensures that these databases are up to date and accurate.
- Gathers field data for use in various mapping applications which may include local 911 systems and others.
- Prints maps and map books following standard formats.
- Produces maps and blueprints for use by government agencies, companies and the general public.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Demonstrates a keen understanding of spatial data and algorithms.
- Shows the ability to enter data quickly, correctly and efficiently.
- Understands how to convert data from older sources such as maps and books into digital formats.
- Understands how to create and edit metadata.
- Possesses the ability to build models in order to create an efficient workflow.
- Demonstrates a vast knowledge of cartography and at least some understanding of graphic design.
Education and Experience
In order to work as a GIS analyst, a candidate should have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a study such as geography, computer science, surveying and engineering, forestry or Earth science. As part of this, the candidate should look for courses that are specific to GIS and mapping. Courses such as statistics, cartography, geodes and GPS measurement and analysis are also beneficial. Potential GIS analysts should have some experience with mapmaking, surveying and computers.
The work environment of a GIS analyst is quite diverse since these individuals will spend time in the field collecting data as well as time in the office entering data, creating software or making maps. As such, it is possible that these individuals will be exposed to harsh climates from time to time and may be required to travel for extended periods. Most analysts work standard 40 hour workweeks, but this can fluctuate based upon the current project and the employer. For instance, if an analysis of a property line is needed for a court case, he or she may be required to work long hours until the project is complete.
Since a GIS analyst can work in a variety of settings, his or her salary can fluctuate based upon the employer. The average GIS analyst salary in the United States is $58,000 per year, but individuals who work for the federal government—such as for the IRS preparing tax maps—can earn up to $82,000 per year. Entry-level candidates and those working for small cities or townships will earn significantly less than the national average at about $32,000 per year, on average.