Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists
Overview | Specific
Work Activities | Common Work Activities | Related
Occupations | Skills and Abilities | Working
Conditions | Physical Demands | Knowledge
| Interests | Wages | Current
Employment | Outlook |
Helpful High School Courses | Preparation
| Related Educational Programs | Hiring Practices
| Licensing/Certification/Designation/Registration |
Advancement Opportunities | Additional
Sources of Information
- Work with Geographic Information Systems
(GIS) to produce maps and analyze data
- Spend a lot of time on computers
- Often work in teams
- Most have a bachelor's degree
- Earn $84,240 per year (Hawaii median)
Geospatial information scientists and technologists study how to best use physical space.
They measure and study how people use the space around them. They also study how this use of space changes over time. This relates to geography -- the study of the earth’s features, climate, resources, and population.
To help locate a new school, a geospatial scientist evaluates how many children live in an area, future birth rates, and how many families are predicted to move into an area. To locate a new bridge, geospatial scientists study traffic flow.
Their research can be used to preserve farmland, measure pollution, or locate water and electric lines.
Geospatial information scientists and technologists use many tools to gather and interpret data including:
- Geographic information systems (GIS) technology
- Global positioning systems (GPS) technology
- Aerial and remote sensing technology
They also use sophisticated computer software to analyze data. They interpret technical data so it can be understood by non-technical people.
Many fields benefit from the work of geospatial information scientists. Examples include:
- Natural resources
- Regional planning
Geospatial information scientists and technologists often work as part of a team. They must follow budgets and schedules.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to geospatial information scientists and technologists.
- Produce data, maps, tables, or reports using
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. Show information by its current location and by changes over time.
- Coordinate GIS projects,by creating reports, schedules or budgets, and meetings with clients.
- Provide technical expertise in GIS technology
to clients or users.
- Create, analyze, report, or transfer data using
- Maintain existing systems. Research future changes
to GIS systems.
- Provide technical support for GIS mapping software.
- Perform computer programming, data analysis,
or software development for GIS.
- Lead, train, or supervise technicians or related
staff in GIS.
- Collect or integrate GIS data, such as remote
sensing and cartographic data, for inclusion in maps. This includes green space in cities, sources of pollution, and locations of utilities.
- Meet with clients to discuss topics such
as technical specifications, solutions, and operational
Geospatial information scientists and technologists perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks
are common to many occupations.
- Use computers.
- Process information.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Update and use job-related knowledge.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Analyze data or information.
- Make decisions and solve problems.
- Think creatively.
- Communicate with people from outside the organization.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Document and record information.
- Explain the meaning of information to others.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Coordinate the work and activities of others.
- Provide advice and consultation to others.
- Develop goals and strategies.
- Teach others.
- Evaluate information against standards.
- Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials
- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Hawaii Career Pathways:
- Industrial & Engineering Technology
Related O*NET Specialties:
Geospatial information scientists and technologists need to:
- Read and understand written information.
- Express ideas clearly when speaking or writing.
Reason and Problem Solve
- Combine several pieces of information and draw
- Develop rules or follow guidelines when arranging
- Notice when something is wrong or is likely
to go wrong.
- Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
- Concentrate and not be distracted while performing
- Think of new ideas or original and creative
ways to solve problems.
Use Math and Science
- Choose a mathematical method or
formula to solve problems.
Perceive and Visualize
- Identify a pattern (a figure, object, word,
or sound) that is hidden in distracting material.
- Imagine how something will look if it is moved
around or its parts are rearranged.
- Quickly and accurately compare letters,
numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns.
In a typical work setting, geospatial information scientists and technologists:
- Have a low to medium high level of social interaction.
They spend time talking to other technologists, managers, and clients, but
also spend time alone analyzing data.
- Communicate with people daily by telephone,
e-mail, and in person.
- Are somewhat responsible for the work done
- Write letters and memos on a weekly basis.
- Work as part of a project team.
Physical Work Conditions
- Almost always work indoors. May work outdoors
- Must be very exact and accurate when analyzing
- Rarely consult a supervisor before making a
decision or setting tasks and goals.
- Meet strict daily and weekly deadlines. This
makes the work atmosphere somewhat competitive.
- Often make decisions that strongly impact coworkers
and their company.
- Repeat the same physical and mental tasks.
Hours / Travel
- Usually work a standard work week. They may
work overtime to meet project deadlines.
Geospatial information scientists and technologists frequently:
- Sit for long periods of time.
- Repeat the same movements.
- Use their hands to handle, control, or
feel objects, tools, or controls.
It is important for geospatial information scientists and technologists to
be able to:
- See details of objects that are less than a
few feet away.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Use fingers to grasp, move, or assemble
very small objects.
It is not as important, but still necessary, for geospatial information scientists and technologists to be able to:
- See differences between colors, shades, and
- See details of objects that are more than a
few feet away.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold
the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Use one or two hands to grasp, move, or assemble
Geospatial information scientists and technologists need knowledge in the following areas:
- Geography: Knowledge of land, sea, and air masses.
Also includes knowledge of how to describe their location, features, and relationships.
- Computers and Electronics: Knowledge of computer
hardware and software.
- English Language: Knowledge of the meaning,
spelling, and use of the English language.
- Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of
providing special services to customers based on their needs.
- Mathematics: Knowledge of the rules and uses
of numbers. Areas of knowledge include arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and
- Engineering and Technology: Knowledge of how
to build machines, buildings, and other things. Also includes knowledge of
how to use computers, machines, and tools to do work more usefully.
- Administration and Management: Knowledge of
managing the operations of a business, company, or group.
- Design: Knowledge of making and using plans,
blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Education and Training: Knowledge of teaching
and the methods involved in learning and instruction.
Geospatial information scientists and technologists are people who tend to:
- Consider achievement important. They like to
see the results of their work and to use their strongest abilities. They like
to get a feeling of accomplishment from their work.
- Consider independence important. They like to
make decisions and try out ideas on their own. They prefer jobs where they
can plan their work with little supervision.
- Consider good working conditions important.
They like jobs offering steady employment and good pay. They want employment
that fits their individual work style. They may prefer doing a variety of
tasks, working alone, or being busy all the time.
- Consider recognition important. They like to
work in jobs which have opportunities for them to advance, be recognized for
their work, and direct and instruct others. They usually prefer jobs in which
they are looked up to by others.
- Consider relationships important. They like
to work in a friendly, non-competitive environment. They like to do things
for other people. They prefer jobs where they are not pressured to do things
that go against their sense of right and wrong.
- Have investigative interests. They like work
activities that have to do with ideas and thinking. They like to search for
facts and figure out solutions to problems mentally.
- Have realistic interests. They like work activities
that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like to work
with plants, animals, and physical materials such as wood, tools, and machinery.
They often prefer to work outside.
- Have conventional interests. They like work
activities that follow set procedures, routines, and standards. They like
to work with data and detail. They prefer working where there is a clear line
of authority to follow.
Occupational Interest Codes:
Wage information is not available specifically for geospatial information scientists and technologists. However, they are part of the larger group of "all other computer occupations."
Wages vary by employer and area of the country. The individual's
specialty and level of experience and responsibility also affect wages. Those
who have supervisory duties usually earn higher wages.
Geospatial information scientists and technologists who work
full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid
vacation, and health insurance. Some employers also provide a retirement plan.
Computer Occupations, All Other
The number of geospatial information scientists and technologists employed in Hawaii and nationally is not available.
- Consulting firms
- Local, state, and federal government agencies
In Hawaii, outlook information is not available specifically
for geospatial information scientists and technologists. However, they are part
of a larger group of "computer specialists, all other." Slower than average
employment growth is expected for workers in this group through 2018.
Nationally, the number of workers in this group is expected
to grow faster than average through 2018. The table below provides information
about the number of workers in this occupation in various regions. It also provides
information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.
An increase in business and economic activity worldwide should
spur demand for geospatial information scientists and technologists. Opportunities
will be best for scientists and technologists with strong technical, computing,
and communication skills.
The use of advanced technologies, such as GPS, and GIS, will
continue to increase both the accuracy and productivity of these workers. This
will limit job growth to some extent. However, job openings will continue to
arise from the need to replace workers who leave this occupation.
In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from our state's graduation requirements. Click here for public school graduation requirements for the Class of 2014 and 2015. Click here for the graduation requirements for the Class of 2016 and beyond.
If you attend a private school, check with your school counselor for graduation
requirements. Geospatial information scientists and technologists need a strong
background in math and science. Try to take math classes through Trigonometry
and science classes through Physics.
You should also consider
taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement
(AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your
school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for
them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.
Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this
- Computer Applications
- Computer Programming
- Computer Science
The courses listed above
are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already
done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering
You should also check with
a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available
in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing,
internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to
help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some
hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating
in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself.
Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Click here for examples
and groups that may be available in your high school or community.
To work as a geospatial information scientist and technologist,
- have a high school diploma or GED
- complete at least a two-year degree in geospatial
information or a related field
- have related work experience;
- have strong math skills
- have a good eye for detail; and
- have good communication skills.
Almost all geospatial information scientists and technologists
have a bachelor’s degree in geography, civil engineering, planning, surveying
and mapping, or a physical science. In addition, more colleges and universities
are offering certificates in geospatial engineering, photogrammetry, or a related
field. These programs have a heavy emphasis on using GIS and GPS software. As
a student you should also take courses in economics, history, and urban studies.
Technologists can study for this field by gaining an associate
degree in geospatial information or a related field and working their way into
this occupation through experience. However, the standard education level is
a bachelor’s degree.
You need a doctoral (PhD) degree to teach geography and geospatial
information at a college. Many colleges and universities offer advanced degrees
Working as a research assistant for a geographer is good experience for this field. Look for this kind of work when you are a college student. Or consider participating in an internship. An internship offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.
Depending on your employer, you may receive training on your first job. The length of training varies by employer, but may last up to one year.
- Computer and Information Sciences
- Construction Trades
- Drafting/Design Technologies
- Engineering Technologies
- Geological and Earth Sciences
Employers look for technologists who have at least a two-year degree in geospatial information or a related field and work experience. Employers require scientists to have at least a bachelor's degree. For both technologists and scientists, employers look for applicants with strong technical, computing, and communication skills. Work experience or coursework in the particular field of the employer, such as urban planning or agriculture, is often helpful in getting hired.
Licensing / Certification
/ Designation / Registration
Geospatial Information Scientists and Technologists , currently does not have any information pertaining to licensing, certification, designation or registration.
Experienced geospatial scientists may advance to jobs that require
higher levels of skill and competency. These include jobs in research, administration,
and environmental planning. You usually need several years of experience and
at least a master's degree to advance.
Technologists usually begin performing more basic tasks and
advance through experience. Those with aptitude and leadership ability may move
into lead technologist or supervisory roles. They typically must gain at least
a bachelor’s degree to move into more advanced positions.
Sources of Information
Career Information Available on the Internet
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LMI Innovation Grant, Research and Statistics Office, Department of Labor &
Industrial Relations, State of Hawaii. All Rights Reserved.