GIS Data Specialist

Collect and organize information for use in GIS products.

What does a GIS Data Specialist do?

Behind every geographic information systems (GIS) product is an entire library of data. Surveys, census reports, maps, photographs, and other information are all crammed together into a tidy package. A GIS Data Specialist is the keeper of this information. The work that the GIS Data Specialist does helps the team build the product, and it also helps others use those products efficiently.

As a GIS Data Specialist, you’re on the front lines of data gathering for your office. When the county Surveyor completes a map, you grab a copy and compare it to the GIS product your team has developed. If you see discrepancies, you notify your GIS Coordinator so the team can work to update the product.

When new census reports are completed, you distribute those reports to GIS Geographers. You spend many hours each day looking for data that your team can use.

GIS products are built in layers, with a specific type of data assigned to each layer. Periodically, you walk through completed projects and make sure the right information is stored in the right place. If you spot errors, you contact the GIS Technician who made the mistake, and you point out how that problem can be avoided in the future.

When you’ve made sure your product is clean, error-free, and ready for widespread use, you begin to distribute information. You might input information about property ownership into a city tax database, for example, or you might extract one detailed map layer from your GIS product and pop it up on the Internet for curious visitors to peruse.