Contributions to the Profession

A Professional is much more than someone who is paid to do a job!


This area explores the concept that arises when the question turns from 'What's in it for me?" to, "What can I do to give back to the profession?"   It is GISCI's assertion that this is the question one asks when she or he begins to understand what it means to think like a professional, and Contributions to the Profession are those actions that arise from such an exploration!


Minimum Contributions to the Profession Requirement

The web site will calculate points as you fill out the sections below.

The minimum qualification for initial certification includes accruing at least 8 points in areas that benefit the profession, and they come primarily from areas outside of the normal work environment or job requirements. There are eight major areas of involvement with points awarded for a multitude of activities within them. Contribution points may fall into any of the categories or can be distributed among all. Work-related publications and sales presentations are elements of work experience, not contributions. Please feel free to contact GISCI for questions relating to what does and does not qualify!



The GIS Certification Program is an opportunity to define the profession of GIS. As such, it must be recognized that professional contributions in the form of conference planning, publications, committee/board participation, outreach, and other related efforts are fundamental to the health of any profession.

Lack of administrative support and resources may limit the ability to contribute; however, the program and the GIS community must not lower expectations by these limitations. Instead, a case can be made for the value of participation regardless of a lack of administrative support. In this way, GIS staff members can use Certification to convince their management that participation contributes to the education and professional development of their staff.


Contribution Points Schedule

We expect that an active professional can attain at least two Contribution points per year. Contributions are an element of both initial Certification and Certification Renewal. The mark of a professional is that these should be pursued continuously, not waiting until the last minute to obtain them.

The Contribution Point Schedule is broken down into eight categories:

  • I - GIS Publications (writing or reviewing certain GIS related materials). Theses and dissertations are NOT included in this section, as they belong in the Education Section I under coursework credit.
  • II - GIS-Related Professional Association Involvement (being a member of a professional organization in a profession or industry where you focus on GIS activities or education)
  • III - GIS Conference Participation (organizing or presenting at a local user group, or state, local, or national conference from a GIS perspective)
  • IV - GIS Workshop Instruction (presenting a workshop at a state, local, or national event. Workshops that are presented on behalf of the applicant’s employer are not applicable)
  • V - GIS Conference Presentations (giving a presentation at a local, state, regional, national, or international event) 
  • VI - GIS Awards Received (awards for excellence in GIS proficiency that may be bestowed by a variety of sources)
  • VII - GIS Volunteer Efforts (Any form of uncompensated GIS-related work performed in agreement with a service-oriented organization)
  • VIII - Other GIS Contributions (includes GIS Day type event organization or participation and various community contributions)


The contributions section will be filled out the same as other sections. Points should be included for each instance that the applicant has satisfied the listed contribution. Therefore, if the applicant has satisfied a contribution category more than once, the applicant may receive duplicate points. There is no limit to how often a category may be used or how many points may be accrued in that category. It is not necessary that all categories be filled in. The web site will track the calculations and arrive at a total that meets the minimum amount.


View The Contributions to the Profession Point Schedule


Contribution Points Documentation

Contribution point claims of 2 points or less need no documentation. Please keep in mind that the applicant is not required to document every single contribution point they earned during a 10 or 20-year career. Trying to provide documentation from a conference that occurred in the distant past is not necessary if the amount of contribution points earned since that time puts the applicant above the minimum amount. Try to include points where adequate documentation is readily available. Often the applicant may want to start with the most recent points earned and then work backwards until the point total is satisfied. It is more likely that the applicant will have recent materials on hand to document the claimed points. Please visit Contribution Categories and Suggested Documentation for more information. 


Proceed to:

The Educational Achievement Section

The Professional Experience Section

Documenting Additional Points