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Job Description and Average Salary of a GIS Analyst

Job Description and Average Salary of a GIS Analyst

A GIS analyst reads geographical data, enters it into the GIS system, and performs data analysis. The CareerStint article below enlists the job description and average salary of a GIS analyst.
Buzzle Staff
"GIS is a form of digital mapping technology. Kind of like Google Earth, but better."
― Arnold Schwarzenegger

A geographical information system (GIS) is a system that helps collect and manage different types of geographical data. A geographical information system (GIS) analyst performs analysis on this geographical data. GIS is a field that encompasses a wide variety of knowledge; it is not solely used for a single purpose. Cartography, for instance, is a field that uses GIS in order to create maps and other digital data. While some related courses may help you get similar jobs where you have to use GIS, to work in the core field requires you to be an expert in essential software such as ESRI and VBA scripting. On that note, the job description and salary range of a GIS analyst is given in the paragraphs below.
Job Description

The duties and responsibilities of a GIS analyst are given below.
  • To help create and design efficient databases.
  • To prepare extensive documents containing important data.
  • To use GPS tools to capture vital locations, especially at the time of natural disasters.
  • To help convert data and graphics on paper to a digital, user-driven format.
  • To investigate similar data patterns and create new GIS datasets.
  • To perform data management in relational databases.
  • To understand in minute detail, the working of the GIS system.
  • To compile, store, and manipulate geographical data collected from varied sources.
  • To help cartographers create digital maps and graphs.
  • To retrieve stored maps and build new datasets.
  • To work on extensive data to document census information.
  • To troubleshoot any GIS-related problems.
  • To analyze data for aerial mapping, photographs, satellite imaging, etc.
  • To enter cartographic data in the system; this includes the latitude, longitude, coordinates, and other topographical details.
  • To help determine spatial data representation.
  • To meet users and analyze data as per their requirement.
  • To make use of creative ability to invent better software or update existing software.
  • To help create maps within necessary parameters.
  • To analyze geographical relationships among data.
  • To help find solutions to data analysis problems.
  • To help secure and maintain the GIS software and data.
  • To create programs that help convert GIS data into other formats and vice versa.
  • To collaborate with different teams to develop better research and analysis techniques.
  • To use the population growth figures to help in urban planning.
  • To predict patterns based on certain factors.
  • To help calculate the increasing demand for educational institutions, shopping complexes, real estate, etc.
  • To use critical thinking skills to determine a particular development plan.
  • To conduct research and write efficient reports.
  • To help locate water pipelines, cables, bridges, etc., via digital mapping.
  • A GIS analyst would require a bachelor's degree in geography, earth sciences, or any related subject.
  • A master's degree is not mandatory in the beginning, but later, you will need to equip yourself with advanced techniques and a specialization.
  • You may require a certification from the GIS Certification Institute.
  • You will need to be excellent in computer software and other skills as you will be working with database management systems.
  • Taking a few classes in GIS will land you in jobs that make use of this system; however, to actually work in the field, you will need a lot of programming knowledge.
  • You will require a keen, analytical mind, and you will need to pay attention to detail as well.
  • An entry-level GIS analyst salary is generally more than USD 45,000.
  • The salary of a senior GIS analyst may extend beyond USD 60,000.
  • Like every other job, the pay scale depends on the experience and education.
  • The median state-wise salary (annual ) for a GIS analyst is given below.
Alabama USD 60,000
Alaska USD 44,000
Arizona USD 49,000
Arkansas USD 61,000
California USD 64,000
Colorado USD 53,000
Connecticut USD 69,000
Delaware USD 53,000
Florida USD 56,000
Georgia USD 68,000
Hawaii USD 37,000
Idaho USD 39,000
Illinois USD 68,000
Indiana USD 58,000
Iowa USD 59,000
Kansas USD 55,000
Kentucky USD 52,000
Louisiana USD 54,000
Maine USD 53,000
Maryland USD 62,000
Massachusetts USD 72,000
Michigan USD 61,000
Minnesota USD 52,000
Mississippi USD 63,000
Missouri USD 59,000
Montana USD 50,000
Nebraska USD 44,000
Nevada USD 46,000
New Hampshire USD 59,000
New Jersey USD 65,000
New Mexico USD 52,000
New York USD 73,000
North Carolina USD 57,000
North Dakota USD 53,000
Ohio USD 57,000
Oklahoma USD 55,000
Oregon USD 58,000
Pennsylvania USD 58,000
Rhode Island USD 55,000
South Carolina USD 59,000
South Dakota USD 45,000
Tennessee USD 56,000
Texas USD 58,000
Utah USD 47,000
Vermont USD 53,000
Virginia USD 60,000
Washington USD 62,000
West Virginia USD 57,000
Wisconsin USD 53,000
Wyoming USD 50,000
Source: as of January 30, 2015. Figures are in US Dollars.
Work Environment
  • As a GIS analyst, you will mostly work in a regular office atmosphere, as you will be dealing with GIS software and database management systems.
  • The BLS predicts a fairly decent job growth rate of 20% for this field.
  • You will be employed by independent agencies and the federal government.
  • Your work environment includes regular business shifts; however, if your project demands travel or there is a deadline, you will require to put in extra hours and succumb to last-minute changes.
A GIS analyst requires you to be an excellent programmer. Although this field has a good job growth, there would be stiff competition. Your geographical knowledge combined with technical expertise will help you compete with your peers.