GIS as a profession…in the UK

Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 18:16:48

Following on from my previous post on David DiBiase’s paper of GIS as a profession, it’s worth pondering the UK situation briefly (and no reflection on the original US centric paper….you obviously can’t do this for every country in the world!).

In the UK we (particularly) have the Association for Geographic Information - broadly speaking an advocate of GIS. Or, as they say:

“The Mission of the AGI is to maximise the use of geographic information (GI) for the benefit of the citizen, good governance and commerce.

The AGI exists to represent the interests of the UK’s GI industry; a wide-ranging group of public and private sector organisations, suppliers of GI software, hardware, data and services, consultants, academics and interested individuals.”

So there we have it, an industry body to represent all. That’s a big step forward in terms of professionalism. The other being certification and CPD. The AGI realised this was an important step - given the advanced body of knowledge represented in the work performed by GI professionals (and the AGI is thinking wider than the definition DiBiase uses), the academic background forming the specialised education behind it and the requirement to continually train and development as a professional. It was therefore natural to seek a professional accreditation programme. AGI could have developed its own, but this is both time consuming and costly and, as luck would have it, a better option presented itself.

The Chartered Geographer Accreditation Programme is designed from the ground up to offer professional accreditation for those using geographical skills and knowledge on a daily basis. Given the wide “geographical” remit, one of the strengths of the programme is the sub-specialisms; currently GIS, geomorphology and teacher. The AGI has led the way in assisting with the development of the Chartered Geographer (GIS) sub-specialism. There is no curriculum linked with this, rather it’s a bespoke assessment of an individual’s professionalism and this is where it’s strength lies: offering the profession a strong (Chartered) foundation from which to develop it’s core georgaphical strengths further.

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