Top 5 GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Professions Most in Demand in the World of Work

9 October 2023


The journey of a GIS professional often begins with a solid foundation in Geographic Information Science and Technology. For many, this foundation starts with a bachelor's degree. This level of academic qualification is well-regarded in the job market, with many employers considering it a key prerequisite for entry-level roles. However, the quest for knowledge and expertise doesn't stop there for many in the field. A sizable number of GIS professionals further their academic pursuit with a master's degree, ensuring they're equipped with a deeper understanding and more advanced skills.

Degree in Geographic Information Science & Technology

A Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Systems (BSGIS) typically spans four years. During this time, students delve into computer technologies, learn about various surveying and measurement techniques, understand the role of mathematics and statistics in GIS, get acquainted with remote sensing methods, and hone their skills in graphics. The overarching theme of a BSGIS program is the capture, analysis, modeling, and representation of data.

Armed with these tools, students learn to meticulously scrutinize geographical terrains for diverse purposes, from research to strategic planning. The essence of the program is to enable students to deploy their multifaceted knowledge to tackle real-world challenges using cutting-edge technology.

Pursuing a master’s degree in Geographic Information Science and Technology ushers students into a broader multidisciplinary world. The emphasis here is not just on the technicalities of GIS but also on understanding its impact on contemporary commercial, governmental, military, and organizational scenarios. Graduates leave with a keen sense of how geographical data shapes today's decision-making processes, coupled with hands-on exposure to the latest in GIS technology.

Top 5 GIS Professions


Cartographers, the individuals behind this craft, wear multiple hats, taking on the roles of researchers, designers, and data analysts to craft detailed and informative maps. These maps cater not only to curious travelers or adventurers but are crucial for an array of sectors like education, urban planning, transportation, and infrastructure development.

Utility companies often rely on their expertise to map out network distributions, while local government agencies tap into their skills for urban planning, land use determination, and infrastructure development. Beyond the public sector, cartographers also find significant roles in private consultancies, where their skills drive the design of specialty maps tailored for niche clientele, and commercial map publishers, where their creations find a broader audience.

The role of a cartographer is both challenging and rewarding. As per data from 2022, a Cartographer in the U.S. can command an average annual salary of approximately $66,536.

GIS Specialist

In Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the GIS Specialist emerges as a linchpin, merging the worlds of geography and technology. With their adept skillset, they weave together a tapestry of geographical data, creating maps and graphs that are rich in detail and precision. Their toolkit is not just limited to pencils and scales; instead, they harness the power of cutting-edge computer software and advanced equipment to bring forth accurate depictions of a myriad of geographical features. Whether it's delineating political borders, charting the course of rivers, or mapping out highways and byways, the GIS Specialist ensures each feature is captured with utmost accuracy.

Their expertise isn't restricted to just creating maps; it spans a range of applications. For instance, in the realms of construction and civil engineering, their geographical insights help in deciding the ideal locations and orientations of projects. When it comes to demographic studies, their work assists policymakers in understanding population distributions and movement patterns. Additionally, in the face of emergencies or logistical challenges, the routes and pathways they design play a crucial role, guiding everything from ambulances rushing to save lives to fleets of trucks delivering essential goods.

Indeed, their role is so fundamental that many industries recognize and reward their prowess. The average annual remuneration for a GIS Specialist in the U.S. stood at a commendable $63,694.

GIS Analyst

A GIS Analyst is responsible for creating, updating, and managing digital maps and other spatial data. They use specialized software to analyze geographical and spatial data, transforming raw data into useful maps, graphics, and reports. GIS Analysts play a pivotal role in decision-making processes for urban planning, environmental conservation, and transportation, to name a few.

This profession’s main duties are to creating and maintaining spatial databases, designing and producing maps to represent spatial data, analyzing spatial data to identify patterns, trends, and relationships, collaborating with teams to integrate geographical data into projects, and providing technical support in the design and development of GIS projects.

The salary range goes between $40,000 to $50,000, but with experience can go as far as $80,000 or more.

GIS Developer

Stepping into the world of GIS Developers, one quickly realizes that they're not just geographers; they're tech wizards. While their foundation lies in geographical knowledge, their real magic is in leveraging this knowledge to develop state-of-the-art software applications. These applications, tailored to gather, process, and display geographical data, are a testament to the developer's proficiency in both geography and software design.

A GIS Developer often finds themselves deciphering the intricate patterns of aerial images, pulling together vast databases of geographical information, and translating all this data into interactive maps and tools. What makes their role even more dynamic is the application of their creations. The tools they craft serve a spectrum of purposes across diverse industries. Whether it's a logistics company planning the most efficient delivery routes or an environmental agency tracking the effects of climate change, a GIS Developer's work is often at the heart of the operation.

Collaboration is another hallmark of their profession. More often than not, GIS Developers are part of larger software development teams. Their work necessitates constant dialogue with other team members, ensuring the seamless integration of geographical functionalities into broader software solutions.

Given the blend of expertise and tech prowess they bring to the table, it's hardly surprising that they command significant salaries. The going average annual salary for a GIS Developer in the U.S. was a striking $110,411.

Geospatial Specialist

Geospatial Specialists focus on collecting, analyzing, and presenting geographical data. Unlike GIS Analysts who might primarily deal with mapping and basic spatial analyses, Geospatial Specialists often work with advanced spatial technologies such as remote sensing, LiDAR, and drone technology to capture data and derive insights. They’re expected to acquire spatial data through advanced tools such as satellite imagery, aerial photography, and ground-based surveys. Moreover, processing and interpreting remote sensing data also come under their purview.  These roles are expected to make $50,000 to $60,000 annually. It can go up to $90,000.

Bonus Professional - Health Geographers

The intriguing domain of health geography delves into the intricate relationship between locations and health outcomes. Health geographers play the pivotal role of analyzing how different geographical scales, ranging from hyper-local to global, influence the spread and impact of diseases.

Their work often intersects with environmental science, epidemiology, and sociology. They rigorously examine the natural environment and its myriad complexities to unearth patterns that link specific regions to certain diseases. The advent of modern spatial analytic techniques has further equipped health geographers to precisely map the spread of health conditions. This encompasses tracking individual transmission patterns and understanding how diseases spread over larger regions, particularly in today's era of rapid globalization and frequent travel.

In their studies, health geographers cast a wide net. They don't just focus on conventional health risks. Their radar includes everything from the threats posed by natural disasters to the psychological implications of interpersonal violence, stress, urban crowding, and various socio-environmental challenges.

Given the multidisciplinary nature of their work and its implications for public health policies, urban planning, and even travel advisories, health geographers are indispensable in today's world. Reflecting their specialized skills and the value they bring to the table, as of 2022, the average annual salary for a Health Geographer in the United States stands at about $45,982.

Find Your Perfect Job with JOBinGIS

JOBinGIS can be your compass in the expansive world of geomatics employment. This webmapping portal stands apart, catering specifically to professionals rooted in the realm of geospatial sciences.

JOBinGIS isn't just another job board; it's a unique, geographically interactive experience tailored for geospatial enthusiasts. From cartographers sketching the world's intricate terrains to GIS developers breathing life into those sketches through software, the portal welcomes a broad spectrum of professionals. Whether you're a geographer with a passion for physical landscapes, a drone pilot capturing aerial perspectives or a remote sensing specialist analyzing satellite data, JOBinGIS is designed with you in mind.

The platform's genius lies in its visual interface. Instead of scrolling through endless job listings, users navigate an interactive map of the world. Each geolocated pin represents a potential dream job, allowing job seekers to see where opportunities lie, be it in bustling urban centers or remote terrains.

Mission and Vision

JOBinGIS is not just about job listings; it's a vision rooted in the integration of geospatial experts into the broader professional landscape. The platform's creators understand the unique skillset these professionals possess and the evolving industries they cater to. As such, JOBinGIS's primary mission is to bridge the gap between specialized talents in geomatics and the global industries that require their expertise.

Moreover, in keeping with the spirit of geospatial sciences, JOBinGIS offers users a truly 'mapped' experience. It goes beyond traditional job search methodologies, emphasizing the visual and geographical aspects intrinsic to the field. The aim is to not only provide job opportunities but to do so in a manner that resonates with the very essence of geospatial professions.

Search your profession and get the best opportunity with JOBinGIS!


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