Reader Feedback: Defining 'Geospatial Professional'
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Letters to the Editor
Re: What is a Geospatial Professional?
Your article from [GeoDataPoint, December 2016] elicited a couple of comments.
From your article, Shannon Doyle, GISP, highlighted a number of different ways one might go about defining a professional of any kind. They included years of experience, mastery of technology and core concepts, project or program management and/or development, tasks performed, education and training, and certifications.
She missed a big one. That is licensure. Geospatial professionals do not generally require licensure to do their work. If they do, it is typically some kind of engineering or survey licensure.
You can call yourself a professional all you want, but if your local legal regulatory framework does not require you to be licensed, is it is truly a “professional” role? For example, GISP is not a reserved title by any licensure board of which I am aware, so therefore it is a certification, not a designation. One needs to clearly demarcate the difference between being a certified professional and a licensed professional. That would quickly lift the veil as a certified professional should have a clear list of competencies then, which defines their certification.
One cannot shoehorn a geospatial professional into a simple statement as the geospatial field is much too broad to do so. Each of these professionals who work in the geospatial field are experts in their own right (geographers, archeologists, geophysicists, geologists, surveyors, etc.) and employ tools such as GIS to get the job done. Therefore, there is no such thing as a “GIS analyst,” but rather a professional who uses the science, infrastructure and analytics of GIS to get their work done.
Eric Collins, P.Tech.(Eng.)