Facts about GIS Technician Jobs

GIS technician jobs use specially integrated computer hardware and software to model, map and analyze data about the earth and its resources. GIS refers to "Geographic Information System," and its software represents features on earth, like buildings, cities, roads, rivers and states. The GIS makes use of the information from satellites to develop a detailed computerized map.

GIS technology used to be used primarily by the armed forces for surveillance activities. Now it is used by other governmental agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Other industries have also started using this technology for navigation or real estate mapping or engineering purposes. You must complete a diploma in cartography and photogrammetric training with GIS specialization to become a GIS technician.

Basic Duties

  • Use the GIS to study, analyze and prepare briefs for planning commission actions.
  • Evaluate the suitability of hardware and software in the handling of GIS applications.
  • Plan and acquire new GIS technology for improvisation of the current practices.
  • Develop a wide range of computerized maps and map layers after interpreting the source data with the help of automated drafting equipment.
  • Assist in the development of Internet-based GIS applications for businesses or the public.
  • Draft the information in the database as per the Assessor and GIS mapping conventions by integrating the spreadsheets and statistical packages with GIS software.
  • Check for accuracy of maps by identifying and correcting the GIS errors.
  • Determine the color, scale and line size and take hard copies of the maps in the plotter.
  • Train and supervise junior GIS technicians with data interpretation and various equipment.
  • Manage queries and provide information on assessment maps to the public.

Work Schedule

Typically, a GIS technician spends the whole day in an office. Occasionally, you will have to do some field work for map researching. GIS technicians generally work standard hours, but they might have to put in additional hours to meet deadlines or for troubleshooting bugged systems.


As of 2009, an entry-level GIS technician is paid a salary of $18,490, while the maximum salary of a GIS technician is around $48,970. If you work independently as a consultant, you will usually be paid at an hourly rate. If you have more than 10 years of experience, then your hourly rate will probably be from $19 to $26.

Advancement Opportunities

Once a GIS technician acquires sufficient experience, he or she may advance to supervisory positions or switch jobs to a larger firm. You may be able to become a project leader position, depending on the size and operations of an organization. Some expert GIS technicians prefer to work as consultants on contractual bases.

Final Word

A GIS technician must take the utmost care to create an error-free map, so you must have an eye for details, be adept at interpreting information and have strong presentation and communication skills. To succeed in this field, you must always remain updated on advancements in the GIS through continuing education or by joining a GIS community or online forums.