The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) Board of Directors and Oversight Committee recently finalized the renewal requirements for GIS Professional Certification and have initiated the renewal process with the first cohort of GISPs, who earned their initial certification five years ago, in October 2003.

According to the GIS Code of Ethics, the GIS Professional has an obligation to not only be qualified for the tasks accepted, but also to keep current in the field through readings and professional development.  In order to maintain relevancy, GIS Certified professionals are required to renew every five years.

Whereas Professional Experience is the primary component of initial GISCI Certification, Course and Conference (Educational) participation and Contributions to the Profession are the main components of GISP Certification Renewal. 

With this in mind, the GISCI Board of Directors agreed that the minimum number of points needed to renew GIS Professional Certification should be 40 points, according to this schedule:


Course and Conference (Educational) Points

10 points

Contributions to the Profession Points

10 points

Work Experience Points

No minimum requirement

Additional points to be earned from a combination of Education, Work Experience, and Contributions

20 points


40 points

Within the Course and Conference (Educational) component, GISPs earn 1 point for each 6 professional development hours (contact hours) of relevant course or conference attendance.  So, an individual can reach the minimum requirement of ten points by attending relevant courses or conferences for 60 hours over a five year period, which translates into twelve hours per year.

It is expected that an active professional is also capable of earning a minimum of two Contributions points per year during the five-year renewal period to meet the ten point requirement. Points are earned according to a table of activity values, provided in the renewal application. For example, holding an active membership with an industry association for five years earns an individual 15 Contributions points.

Some individuals will be able to meet the 40 point threshold solely through Course and Conference and Contributions to the Profession. Others will find, after adding up all of their points, that they are a bit short of the 40 point total requirement for renewal. In that case Work Experience can be counted toward renewal, although there is NO minimum requirement of points for work experience. (10 points are awarded for each 12 months of full-time equivalent (FTE) work, with no more than 20 points being allowed within the Work Experience category.)

GISPs are encouraged to document the minimum of 10 points in each of the Course and Conference and Contributions to the Profession categories and then document the additional 20 points within one or more of the three categories.  The applicant has complete flexibility in deciding how to make up this difference.  

The renewal application and procedures are documented online:

 As of September 10, 2008, there are more than 2,400 Certified GIS Professionals. For more information about the GIS Certification Institute, visit