GIS SpecialistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Geographic information systems (GIS) specialists design, develop, and implement systems and databases to access and store geospatial data. They analyze this data utilizing mapping software. GIS specialists design digital maps using geospatial data and analyze spatial and non-spatial information. Many GIS specialists create maps for internal purposes and are involved with launching mobile and online applications.

Sample job description #1

ABC Company is seeking a GIS Specialist to join our team in our (City, State) office. ABC Company has a highly experienced and dynamic team of individuals dedicated to providing high-level professional services to our clients.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Spatial analysis is the dominant portion of the job duties envisioned for this position, but will be balanced with a variety of cartography, field staff support, and research and development
  • Provide independent data interpretation while effectively maintaining data documentation
  • Create and modify GIS datasets, manage and maintain legacy GIS datasets develop and implement GIS-based analyses supporting civil engineering, electrical engineering, and survey projects
  • Produce technically skilled and detailed solutions to include preparing clear, complete, and accurate representations of spatial data using hardcopy and/or electronic media
  • Core responsibility includes processing data and graphics requests from project team members and anticipating information needs and presentation format as part of engineering and survey workflows
  • You will work on energy projects, such as transmission, solar and wind, and land projects, such as residential and commercial development, to compile available information for project proposals
  • Develop and maintain geospatial data on desktop and mobile applications. Ensure data meets appropriate data accuracy and content standards for quality assurance and quality control

Required experience

  • Must have a degree in GIS, geography, environmental studies, or related field with demonstrated capabilities in GIS
  • Hands-on knowledge of Esri ArcGIS desktop software, including ArcMap and ArcPro
  • Strong understanding of geodatabases and geodatabase applications
  • Ability to work with vector and raster datasets
  • Experience using ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Portal, or another web mapping system
  • Familiar with GPS data collection and data management, including Collector for ArcGIS
  • Ability to use and edit shapefiles and geodatabases (personal, file, and enterprise)
  • Experience working with different coordinate systems, map projections, and datum’s
  • Familiarity with standard cartographic methods, theories and principles
  • Ability to independently manage multiple assignments, determine and set job task priorities, and work with limited direct supervision

Preferred but not required

  • Previous work in/familiarity with consulting engineers and/or surveyors
  • Experience using AutoCAD and DWG files
  • Experience using Google Earth and KMZ files
  • Familiar with LiDAR datasets and usage
  • Experience using Python, ModelBuilder or another common GIS scripting language is desirable, as job duties will include creating scripts to streamline frequently performed tasks

Sample job description #2

Role overview

Provide CAD, GIS and Project Coordination support for tasks performed in support of Facility Utilization Studies, Planning and other engineering or consulting services by developing maps or documents pertaining to project deliverables. Facility Space Utilization (FUS) and Facility Condition Assessments (FCAs). Tasks include but are not limited to maintenance of various GeoBase data layers, creation of new data layers, performing spatial analysis, collection/maintenance of GeoBase features. Project assignments will include field collection of data to support projects performed at multiple Air Force facilities across the country. Must have experience working with Spatial Data Standards for Facilities, Infrastructure, and Environment (SDSFIE). Position requires traveling to project sites for data gathering. Must be able to utilize ESRI ArcGIS to prepare data sources and maps in support of planning charrettes. Able to perform migration of CAD to GIS, various GeoBase functions, i.e. build data sets, perform QA/QC, develop queries, create maps, etc. in preparation project deliverables.

Key responsibilities

  • Perform GIS database development, qualitative/quantitative analysis, and mapping
  • Produce detailed, high-quality cartographic products (digital and hardcopy) and accompanying reports in accordance with technical guidelines and project requirements
  • Communicate with project team members and other stakeholders to define data needs, project requirements, and desired outputs
  • Compile, manipulate, and refine geographic data from a variety of sources including but not limited to, CAD, field observation, satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and existing maps
  • Perform quality control checks of GIS Data and non-spatial databases with minimal supervision to ensure data integrity
  • Manage individual project tasks related to GIS, database design and management, and data visualization
  • Customize GIS workflow and software programs for data collection, engineering, and environmental applications

Skills / qualifications

  • Minimum 5 years of ESRI ArcGIS experience AS/BS in Engineering or related field
  • Previous experience in developing GIS project deliverables
  • Able to perform field data collection activities requiring long durations of walking and climbing of stairs
  • Able to travel for extended periods of time for up to three weeks at project locations
  • Proficiency using ESRI ArcGIS Software, AutoDesk Software, and Microsoft Office is desired
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Resourceful and self-motivated

Sample job description #3

ABC Company is seeking a GIS Specialist with knowledge of using Esri ArcGIS 10.x desktop to perform editing of existing utility datasets, creating maps, file research, data mining, creating data models, management of project mapping and geodatabase information. Will be working at client sites in the (City, State) area, must be able to drive between locations for meetings and training.


  • Candidate must be proficient in creating and maintaining Esri geodatabase models, creating GIS Web Apps and Web Maps through ArcGIS Online
  • Ability to conduct field GPS GNSS data collection
  • The position is office based with occasional field data collection
  • Travel to field sites and client sites in (state)
  • Assist clients with Esri desktop data edits and provide client guidance in the use of GPS GNSS field operations


  • Esri Certification or GISP is a plus
  • 1-5 years experience in ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Onlin.
  • 1-5 Years experience in GPS GNSS field data collection
  • State Driver’s License
  • Candidate must have good communication and writing skills, with a responsibility in documenting meeting minutes, and assist in the writing of GIS/GPS standard GIS operating procedures

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a GIS specialist is $84,000 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$83,550$113,000
Los Angeles, California$94,250$127,500
Denver, Colorado$78,550$106,250
Washington, DC$95,700$129,450
Miami, Florida$78,200$105,800
Orlando, Florida$72,100$97,550
Tampa, Florida$72,850$98,550
Atlanta, Georgia$76,400$103,350
Chicago, Illinois$87,800$118,800
Boston, Massachusetts$94,950$128,500
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$75,700$102,400
New York City, New York$99,950$135,250
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$81,400$110,000
Dallas, Texas$79,250$107,250
Houston, Texas$78,550$106,250
Seattle, Washington$91,400$123,650
National Average$71,400$96,600

Sample interview questions

  • What is the use of a GIS?
  • What interests you about GIS?
  • Do you feel like your education and degrees have prepared you to confidently work in the GIS specialist field?
  • What would you say are the most valuable software and software programs for a GIS specialist?
  • What programming languages are the most valuable languages for a GIS specialist to know?
  • Can you explain the difference between geo-coding and geo-referencing?
  • What certifications do you have that are related to GIS?

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