Ethics are extremely important to GISCI. All Certified GIS Professionals (someone awarded GISP® status) must sign a document indicating they will abide by the principles outlined in the GIS Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct. Therefore, all Certified GIS Professionals may be penalized if they violate the principles of the Code and Rules.

A primary difference between certified and uncertified professionals is what is at risk during a professional act. An uncertified professional may not be aware of the GIS Code of Ethics or Rules of Conduct. He may unknowingly violate the code and there is no mechanism in place to sanction his behavior. When a Certified GIS Professional performs unethically, he is risking his credential.

GISCI has established procedures and penalties for GISPs who perform unethically. The overall goal is to improve the ethics of GIS professionals by remaining vigilant and strong.

GISCI will only review charges lodged against a Certified GIS Professional. GIS practitioners who are not certified by GISCI are outside the jurisdiction of GISCI and must be dealt with through other channels. Both certified and non-certified persons may submit a charge against an individual.

The GISCI Ethics Procedures are intended to guide the adjudication of ethics complaints lodged against GIS Professionals certified by the GIS Certification Institute. The process begins with the submission of a formal complaint and moves through a number of steps leading to a hearing and decision. The GISCI Ethics Officer is the official responsible for adherence to the procedure and serves as the hearing officer for any hearing that may be called to adjudicate the complaint.