Park Ridge, IL - The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) Board of Directors voted unanimously to create a separate contribution point category for volunteer efforts. The category was added in light of groundbreaking work being done by GISCorps and the encouraging realization that GIS volunteer efforts are becoming more widespread.

"This is a marvelous step towards recognition of our volunteers' noble acts of service," said GISCorps Core Committee Chairperson Shoreh Elhami, GISP. "I commend GISCI for formally acknowledging the value of volunteerism."

The new category within the Contributions to the Profession section of the application ensures that applicants have a clear understanding of how stewardship activities translate to points. Volunteer work has always been worth credit towards professional certification but the program lacked a defined methodology for awarding it. Volunteer work consists of providing any form of uncompensated GIS-related work performed in agreement with a service-oriented organization such as GISCorps, clubs, organizations, schools, or other entities. Documentation must be provided from the entity that lists the nature and duration of the volunteer effort.

Volunteer credit will be awarded in two categories:
  1. Volunteer Missions: Providing 72 or more consecutive hours of time, including time for food and rest, in active volunteer status.
  2. Volunteer Work: Providing periodic or sporadic volunteer work with a duration of less than 72 consecutive hours in active volunteer status.

Volunteer work is an excellent way for certified GIS Professionals (GISPs) and prospective GISPs to earn points towards initial certification or recertification. Engaging in volunteer outreach is inexpensive and rewarding. It offers GIS practitioners a chance to use their skills to improve the quality of life for communities, interest groups, educational institutions, and the disenfranchised.

There are 1,167 Certified GIS Professionals (GISPs) as of May 25, 2006. The full manifest of certified GIS professionals is on the website. To download application materials or for more information regarding the GISCI certification program please visitwww.gisci.orgor call (847) 824-7768.