GISP Testimonials

Many individuals have inquired as to what the GISP means or how it is gaining acceptance and visibility. The following testimonials from certified GIS professionals discuss what the credential has meant to them. Although this is not hard data, it will provide a snapshot as to how GISP is being recognized.

  • If you are a GISP and would like to submit a similar testimonial, please email Your testimonial and picture will be posted online. 
  • Employer Recognition: If you are a GISP and your organization has recognized you in some way (press release, company email, newsletter citation, etc.) then please send that along. We will post those here
  • If you have recently become a GISP, GISCI offers a sample press release that can be used by your organization to bring attention to your accomplishment. The release can be altered to your specifications. 

It is obvious that GISCI has put a tremendous amount of thought and research into developing the GISP certification. The balance of education, experience and professional contribution required to obtain and retain the GISP certification will continue the development of the GIS professional community. Other professional licensure organizations could improve the development of their professionals by adopting some of the framework GISCI has established.

Shawn Stubbers, PE, City of Lewiston; Certification Date: in process, City: Lewiston, ID

The GISP certification has proved to be a valuable tool in my reclassification process. I started working in the Division of Water and Sewer 15 years ago as a draftsman and quickly elevated to an Engineer Associate IV. Since 1992 I have worked with GIS, beginning with a product called GENAMAP and then naturally migrating to ESRI products. During this time my position evolved and warranted a reclassification. I have been in charge of the Divisions GIS efforts since 1996 and have felt my title didn’t match the work I was doing. Management agreed that I was working well outside of my job classification and began the reclassification process. During the audit period I had an opportunity to argue my case. The presentation I gave included several slides describing what it mean to obtain the level of GISP and what the GISCI organization is about. Although a GISP in not a requirement for GIS jobs here, I believe that it was what propelled me into the GIS Coordinator position for the division. They felt confident that I was performing at a high level due to the fact that a group of my peers had concurred and awarded me the GISP certification. Being a part of this group of professionals has been great for my career.

Chad B. Gibson, GISP
Certification date: 10/25/2006
Bel Air, MD

I have been certified as a GISP for a little over a year now and have had a few experiences where it was beneficial to have this confirmation and have found that my employer has been very supportive as well. My agency provided funds for the certification, currently supports renewal, and allows me to spend time on various subcommittees that supports both our internal project work and the GIS community in general.

I recently took a scored job reclassification test where one of the questions asked if I had obtained any professional certifications. I indicated that I had GISP certification and received additional points for having completed the process.

Additionally, I was recently at the ESRI User Conference and had several people ask about what a GISP was when they saw my nametag. Many folks expressed interest and positive feedback after I explained that the certification is a combination of experience, education, and contributions to the profession.

I have not had much interaction with surveyors or other geographic professionals during the course of my work, but we have several PEs within our department. I received congratulations on obtaining the certification from several engineers, which I appreciated.

The benefits of having a GISP certification are more than worth the time investment of collecting the required materials and completing the application packet.

Dave Cullom, GISP
Certification Date 5/25/2004
Olympia, WA

As a GIS professional, one of the main things that I value from certification is the Code of Ethics. This serves not only as a guide in my professional conduct but also what I expect from other professionals. The Code recognizes that we as professionals have obligations not only to those for whom we work but also to our colleagues and to society. These obligations include calling attention to the proper and appropriate use of GIS and related technologies in addressing common issues. It includes recognizing and respecting the efforts and work of our colleagues and other professionals for contributions to the use and application of GIS. It includes advancing and encouraging the professional development of others involved in the profession. This Code and the other requirements for certification assists in addressing issues with professionals in other disciplines.

David T. Hansen, GISP
Certification Date: June 25, 2004
Sacramento, CA

GISP is not only a certificate of my knowledge and experiences, but also a key to get additional work opportunities for solving challenging spatial issues with other GIS professionals and GIS users.

Since I got my GISP certificate, I was put in a special GIS resource database by my company's HR department. That database stores the names of all GIS specialists and consultants who have earned the GISP certificate in my company. When my company is looking for a GIS project manager or is pursuing a project, resource managers always try to include GISPs into their team lists. Some tough GIS modeling issues or technical questions are sent to this group too.

With a GISP title, I feel I have responsibilities to catch the latest development of GIS technologies and get deeper and broader understanding to GIS. So this title becomes a motivation for me to do a better job in my current work.

When I joined some GIS job fairs, I also see that many GIS companies asked if candidates have GISP certificates, no matter the potential positions are for domestic or international GIS projects.

Fei Wang, GISP
Certification Date: 04/25/2005
Philadelphia, PA

Where was this GIS Professional designation when I was in school? From the GISCI, I have had the opportunity to not only review and archive the accomplishments of my career, but be encouraged to be an active participant in the industry’s future. The recognition for hard work, presentations, coursework, as well as work experience is all positive and offer’s a healthy model for future generations of geospatial professionals. As far as the code-of-ethics, I believe it is something all professionals should have to sign, to have one for GIS Professionals is omnipotent (can one be too ethical?) Finally, the GIS Professional designation is another point that the evolving technology of this industry is in fact proven and here to stay.

Brian Sovik, GISP
Certification Date: 06/25/2004
Tempe, AZ

Because of my title as a GIS Coordinator this is the highest county GIS position. But my Department did pay for me to be certified.

Personally it has boosted my self-esteem because I don’t have much of an educational background even though I’ve been doing GIS for a long time and have gone from a GIS Tec to now a GIS coordinator. I always felt like I didn’t belong when I went to any GIS function. But now that I’m a GISP I’m very proud of this and I feel that this certification gives me credibility.

Brevard County has put that a GISP is preferred for two positions GIS ANALYIST III and GIS COORDINATER. AS I show them that GISP has become more the industry standard then the job description will be change to must be a GISP.

I also have been well received by other professional within the county. I hope that other GIS people within the industry can understand that if GISP becomes and industry standard that will increase the value of anyone that is a GISP.

John N. Turi, GISP
Certification Date 4/25/2005
Viera, FL

My GISP certification is important to me because it validates my many years of work in the field of GIS. It proves – to myself and to others – that I have a broad understanding of the industry and can provide expertise to a variety of disciplines. I also enjoy being part of the larger community of GIS professionals.

Because of my GISP certification, I am becoming better known within my firm as a GIS expert, and that has brought me additional recognition and work. I have seen proposals that specifically mention my experience and my GISP accreditation. I credit my GISP certification with helping to bring in at least one new client already! Further, I feel like my co-workers look to me as a leader in GIS and an expert in the field. It is most certainly a valuable addition to my resume.

Finally, I have come to really appreciate the Code of Ethics. I read it carefully when I filled out my GISP paperwork and it gave me quite a bit to think about. It has made me more mindful of the everyday value of ethics in my work. Thanks to the GISCI for putting making this important contribution to our industry!

Hilary E. H. Perkins, GISP
Certification Date: 01/29/2004
St. Louis, MO

It makes me happy that I am a certified GIS Professional! Not just on a personal level, but on a professional level as well. Sure, I love what I do and earning my GISP is a personal accomplishment that I am proud of. More importantly I am happy knowing that I am contributing to the GIS profession. The GISP reminds me that I have a duty to continue to contribute to the profession in an ethical manner because I signed the Code of Ethics. I have an obligation and commitment to my employer, my colleagues and individuals in society.

Justin Cure, GISP
Certification Date: 04/25/2005
Longview, TX

Why did I go after the GISP? There are two basic reasons. The first is that the price was right since the company that I work for saw the benefit in it for them and decided to pick up the tab on the processing fee. The second reason is that I definitely see the advantage of having the GISP for future career advancement. As with an advance degree, from an accredited university, the GISP serves as a “measuring stick” by which to measure a person’s qualifications and experience. I can’t say that my last pay raise was a direct result of attaining the GISP, but I am sure that I made an impression on my supervisors by simply pursing the certification. In the future, as the GISP becomes better known and makes its way as a requirement for the employment, there will be a real advantage to having those four letters at the end of your name.

John F. Kennedy, PhD, GISP, CPG
Certification Date: 4/25/2005
Las Cruces, NM

Becoming a GISP was one more step toward my professional development in the GIS field. Certification is a personal achievement well worth working for and is another way to validate my credentials.

At the annual work review, it is listed as a goal I have achieved. As other employees have their review, it is suggested that they also work toward certification and they seek my input as where to start. It is an inner office recognition that leaves a feeling of pride and accomplishment.

I believe the GISP title attached to employee names on work proposals will become increasing more important to clients and I am glad to be one on the list.

JoAnn Parks GISP
Certification Date: 04/25/2004
Eau Claire, WI

GISP represents a professional’s knowledge, experience, contribution and education. As a GISP, I feel my professional knowledge and experience have been formally evaluated. My company supports us to apply for certification in the sense that having GISPs at work force indicates the professional level of the staff. Although I had to pay my application fee, I do think it’s important to make ourselves recognized and increase the visibility of this profession. The benefit of becoming a GISP is more intrinsic. I feel proud of my profession, more responsible to my GIS contribution and continuing education and more motivated to any challenge of the latest GIS technology.

Michelle Wang, GISP
Certification Date: 04/25/2004
Chapel Hill, NC

The Aquarion Water Company has recognized the growing importance of GIS to its operations. GIS certification is important to Aquarion because it signifies a level of competence in an increasingly complex and developing science. The GISCI certification is also important to me personally because it shows that I am not just a Land Surveyor that is superficially interested in GIS, but that I have acquired the qualifications necessary to be considered a GIS professional.

Robert Page, LS, GISP
Certification Date: 02/25/04
Bridgeport, CT

As a GIS professional in the civil engineering field, I work side by side with engineers and surveyors, whose practices are strictly governed by State licensing boards. Achieving my GISP certification has solidified my own credentials in the same manner, and provided me with a core level of legitimacy and standing that I do not feel I could have accomplished otherwise.

My firm has acknowledged my GISP certification by posting a press release on our corporate website. My GISP status also figures prominently in any competitive bidding strategies for digital mapping and GIS work.

I would like to see GIS nationally recognized as a distinct profession in its own right, worthy of its own separate set of standards and practices, and not merely as a tool incorporated into many other diverse professions. Just as the professional licensing boards oversee and manage the engineering and surveying professions, I believe the GISCI can play a pivotal role in establishing and maintaining the groundwork for every aspect of the GIS profession. Those who routinely use GIS technology in the performance of their work are those best qualified to establish its future. As a GISP, I am very proud to be among them.

Kevin R. Zelinsky, GISP
Certification Date: 05/25/04
Haddonfield, New Jersey

When I received my certification my company rewarded my accomplishment with a "Recognition of Excellence Award", my name was placed on the "Employee of the Month" plaque, I also received a cash award.

My company, Western Air Maps, Inc. is currently supporting my efforts to maintain my GISP by allowing me to attend conferences, etc.

Cheryl Rowell, GISP
Certification Date: 11/25/2004
Overland Park, KS

I feel that the GISP certification acknowledges my experience and ability as a professional. Although my employer paid for my certification, I still feel it was necessary because certification increases the responsibility and respect of our supervisors to the GIS department.

GISP proves that the technology and GIS personnel are proven and continue to elevate professional work.

Scott M. Cadigan, GISP
Certification Date: 10/25/2004
Toms River, NJ

My mapping career started in the early eighties; I started as a cartographer in a small private business out of high school using scribes, ruby coat and amber lift. As new techniques came available, I learned them. I have worked my way up to the level of teaching the new employees out of college to use GIS in the “real world.” I have no degree but I have been doing GIS for over fourteen years. I felt when I sent my resumes to new employers that, because I have no college degree, they just trashed it.

I worked in Tennessee and kept up on the progress of GIS though out the state and the country. I followed the progress of the creation of the GISP certification. I felt that from the beginning that this certification would give me the leg up on my resume. I worked hard on learning GIS, took all the classes at the local college for drafting, surveying, global positioning, etc and took all the ESRI classes for the ARC software. Having children and a full time job, I could not afford to go full time to do degree work.

I got the opportunity to work for a certified mapping scientist, Al Butler. He was part of the group that was working on the GIS certification program. He would tell me that he used me as an example for the qualifications not to all be based on college degrees. I was glad to see that.

Then with a turn of fate, I got a job in Georgia, the state that was the pilot for the GIS certification program. I found out after the cutoff date but asked anyway to participate because I wanted that certification. I spent the time collecting all the proof for my experience, education and the promotion of GIS. Not wanting to cheat to get this certification, I followed the guidelines to the key and if in doubt, I left it out. The first time came back within one point of being certified. The certification board asked that I look over things and resubmit. When I did, I was two points over; I was going to be in the first class of certified GIS Professionals!

I work for the City of Hinesville, Georgia. It is rare that a city of this size have a GIS office. With me having my GIS certification has given the city’s GIS office some creditability. The City of Hinesville has paid for my certification and supports me in my effort to continue my education. I was congratulated by the city council and mayor at a city council meeting. I continue to work hard and keep up with technology and GIS. When time comes to be re-certified I plan on having my BS in geography and with a minor in GIS.

Anna Phillips, GISP
Certification Date: 10/13/2003
Hinesville, GA

I’ve been around GIS and Remote sensing half my life. It’s a great honor and privilege to be recognized by the very best in mapping sciences as an expert. GISP has greatly boosted my personal pride and confidence.

My company was tirelessly supportive by shouldering all the costs involved and accorded me time to attend workshops and seminars so I could stay current and informed on the current super fast trend of information technology. As such, we have now launched a fully-fledged GIS Department, responsible for GIS and Imaging related businesses. And yes, we are now bidding for jobs that otherwise required professional GIS services.

Certification is acceptability and recognition, among my responsibilities includes constant meetings with Engineers (PEs), Photogrammetrist (CPs) and Licensed surveyors to discuss various projects demand. GISP has earned me a place in the midst of these experts, my mapping ideas are now given a more serious thought.

I’m proud to be associated with GISCI and GIS. We are the ambassadors of this noble profession and its future depends on US.

Paul Ogino, GISP
Certification Date: 03/25/2005
Hampton, GA

I have been working in GIS for many years and for the first time this year I was able to list a professional certification on my application for a promotion. I received that promotion and I believe that my GISP certification helped me by solidifying my education and years of experience in the field. To be recognized as a professional in your field is very rewarding and I would encourage anyone to seek certification. The GIS community is a great group of dedicated professionals who take great care and value in our work and the GISP certification recognizes that hard work.

Anthony D. Willis, Sr., GISP
Certification Date: 04/25/2005
Las Vegas, NV