The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) promotes the advancement of proficient GIS professionals through its international GISP® (Certified GIS Professional) certification program. The Institute fosters rigorous professional and ethical standards, community engagement, and professional mentoring within the GIS industry.


The GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) is a tax-exempt not-for-profit organization, headquartered in Des Plaines, IL, that provides the geographic information systems (GIS) community with an internationally-recognized, complete certification program, a GISP® Certification. GISCI offers participants from the first early years on the job until retirement, a positive method of developing value for professionals and employers in the GIS profession. Since our founding, there have been over 10,500 individuals certified with a GISP® designation, located throughout the world.

The current GISP® Certification process consists of an application that describes an applicant's background in Ethics, Education, Experience, and Contributions to the Profession and an Exam. That application, accompanying documentation, and payment are submitted, and the review generally takes from 30 to 45 days for approval. 

An exam was implemented and added to the process in the Fall of  2015.   Selected GISPs performed groundbreaking work in the process of creating the exam based on job analysis,  the Geospatial Technical Competency Model (GTCM) approved by the Department of Labor in 2010, and the GIS&T Body of Knowledge.

After July 1, 2015, all new applicants will be required to take and pass the Exam, obtain a portfolio review, and will be subject to the new fee structure.    

On and after July 1, 2015, all new certifications will be subject to an Application fee of $ 100, an Exam fee of $ 250, and a Portfolio Review fee of $ 100.   The Exam and Portfolio review may be started concurrently, or independently, after paying the $ 100 Application Fee.    An applicant will have up to six (6) years to acquire the required 4 years full-time geospatial experience required to complete the process and obtain a GISP Certification.

All GISPs after this date will be certified for a 3 year period, and all GISPs previously certified for a 5 year period will be converted to a 3 year certification period at the time of recertification.

Policy Statement on GIS Professional Certification
This document explains what GIS professional certification signifies and why it is GISCI's preferred method of professional regulation.

The History of the GISCI Certification Program
by Scott Grams
This follows GIS certification from idea to concept to program to institution.

Certifying GIS Professionals: Challenges and Alternatives
by Nancy Obermeyer, GISP
First published in the URISA Journal in 1993. This article helped moved the concept of GIS certification forward.

A GIS Code of Ethics: What Can We Learn from Other Organizations? 
by William J. Craig, GISP 
First published in the URISA Journal in 1993.

The Bylaws of the GIS Certification Institute

Board of Directors and Committee Members

GISCI Member Organizations 

Related Materials:

Do You Want to be a GISP?   Practical Advice on how and why to get certified by Christa Campbell (Esri ArcUser Online)