Tips for Applicants
There are five minimums you need to meet for certification:
- A minimum of 4 years (48 months) of full-time equivalent GIS & T work experience
- A minimum of 30 points in the Education category
- A minimum of 60 points in the Work Experience category
- A minimum of 8 points in the Contribution to the Profession category
- An overall minimum of 150 points
The following is a list of suggestions that may help you in preparing your GISP-AP certification application. If you have already certified and have some tips you think may be useful to new applicants, please send them to the SICC Chair for inclusion on this page.
In all things seek balance.
You want to make sure you have enough points for the assessors to not agree with every single one of your claims (i.e. just meeting a minimum can be risky if some of your claims are not straight forward) but you also do not want to go too far the other way. Use your judgement and strike a balance.
Talk to people who are GISP-AP certified
Most of us don't bite and ALL of us have been through the process of preparing an application that has been successful. You can check the GISP-AP register to find out whether there are any GISP-AP'ers in your region. Remember though, they are as busy as you are; don't come over all cranky if they are not immediately in a position to help you. If you do not already know someone who is GISP-AP certified, you can contact the Surveying & Spatial Sciences Institute with any specific questions you may have. SSSI staff may also be able to assist you in making contact with a GISP-AP through the relevant SSSI Regional Committee.
There are no tricks to the process
Follow the instructions in the documentation available with the Application Pack. The documents are large because they are full of useful descriptions and examples. There are lots of ways to be a GIS professional and the guide tries to provide enough examples to account for that variation.
What is the highest tertiary education award that you have received?
(e.g. PhD, Masters, Bachelor, Diploma or Certificate)
Check the EDUC points for your highest award and subtract this value from the 30 education point minimum. You need to successfully demonstrate this difference in education points through appropriate subjects, training & seminars in the Education section of your application.
Once you have reached 30 points, move on to the next section, you can always come back and add new course, training and seminar points once you know whether you meet the work experience and CTP minimums.
What subjects did you complete in your tertiary studies?
To claim course points for completed subjects in CP-EDU-2 you need to be able to demonstrate that the course content falls into one or more of the GIS&T BoK categories. This is usually done by including a copy of the subject description from the institution for the year you completed that subject.
You may also wish to describe how the course fits in to a GIS&T category if you believe there is a match but it is not that obvious. Listing the course name and hoping the assessors can see (and agree with) your logic in placing a subject into a particular category may not be enough - if in doubt, document!
Contributions to the Profession (CTP)
This is an area where many people seem a little uncertain. There are an enormous number of ways to contribute to the profession, including by being a member of a spatial professional organisation. For a full list of recognised contributions, refer to the GISP-AP application pack. If you have been actively involved in your profession and gone beyond the scope of your employment, then you may have made a contribution to the GIS&T profession. Check out the list and remember, if it is your job to do it, it likely goes under professional experience and is probably not a 'contribution' in the sense meant here.
As always, try to provide enough examples that there is room for an assessor to not agree with every one of your claims. If you are already a significant contributor to the profession, pick out the key contributions that will get you over the line, plus a little bit. You will struggle to list every contribution you have ever made and documenting them all is a lot of work. In addition, once you are over the line, the assessor will likely not continue assessing the additional claims anyway.
Interested in GISP-AP certification but find the CTP component a little intimidating?
If you are very early in your career, the list may appear a little daunting. The single point per year for your professional institute or society membership makes the time taken to build your Work Experience component look trivial. By becoming involved in a relevant professional society, many opportunities to contribute will come your way. Don't be afraid to contact your local Region Committee and put your hand up to get involved. It can be one of the best ways to grow your professional network and, in most cases, more experienced members of the group are more than willing to help you learn the ropes.
Regional and Remote Professionals
Living and working in a remote area is not a barrier to participation. It does present different challenges, but you may be able to provide a unique voice and perspective; one that most committee's would likely welcome. There are many people who would benefit from the insight provided to, often metropolitan-based, professional committees by members who live in less populated places. Try to view the challenges as an opportunity to make an unconventional contribution to your profession. Rural and remote members have a better understanding of the needs of rural and remote professionals; you may be able to make a real difference and your contribution does not need to look exactly like those of your urban colleagues.
It's never too late to get involved. Juggling work, family and changes in a discipline as dynamic as GIS&T can make you feel like there is never enough time. Not all contributions have to be massive contributions. Perhaps you can help organise a single event in your region through sharing your local network and facilitating access to local resources. You may be in a position where you can take on a structured mentoring arrangement with a Young Professional who is just entering or becoming established in the GIS&T field.
You may have participated in a great GIS based initiative that you can speak about or have some ideas about what services and support would be valuable to you now and would have been great had they existed earlier in your career.
You might have a range of business skills, accrued through your working life, that you never think about, that would be invaluable to your local committee and provide you with a really easy contribution that would be greatly appreciated by the volunteer team of professionals you would be working with. Contact your organisation, ask if they could do with some help and/or offer your skills - you may be surprised at how easy it can be to earn CTP.
The short version is:
- Work out what time, resources and ideas you have and approach your local or regional group to see if there is a match there. Do not be discouraged if the match isn't perfect and/or immediately obvious - keep talking to people, stay willing to participate and step up when you can;
- The earlier you get actively involved in your GIS professional organisation, the faster you will accrue the CTP points you need for GISP-AP certification. A point earned through a modest, yet regular, contribution is equal to a point earned by big, once off and unsustainable effort; and,
- If you want to remain certified over the life of your career, contributing to the profession is an ongoing commitment. Step up when you can and remember to be realistic in your expectations of both yourself and your volunteer colleagues.