Professionalism in GIS: International Aspects of the Certification Debate
Mulaku, Galcano Canny
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GIS certification has been a contentious issue amongst geo-technology professionals for years. Many arguments have been advanced for it, the chief one being that certification is the only way through which a true GIS professional can be defined for the consumer public. There have been counter arguments, for example that certification will limit the wide-spread adoption of GIS technology, which is just a tool that anybody should be free to apply, or that it will only add another layer of regulation in a global political environment that favours increased de-regulation. The objective of this paper is to create greater awareness about GIS certification, which doesn’t exist yet in many countries, including some developed ones. Such increased awareness may encourage the standardization of GIS personnel qualifications, which could underpin a better, more dependable growth of the GIS industry, especially in the developing countries. Through analysis of key existing literature on the subject, plus the author’s own professional experiences, the paper explores the issues around GIS certification, looks at global trends on the issue and discusses the situation in the Kenyan GIS indus-try in respect of certification. The paper finds that there is a global move towards certification, and the relevant work of ISO has given the issue international attention. However, the paper also finds that the presence of a strong GIS profes-sional association greatly assists in the development of a program for such certification, and that the lack of such an association makes it difficult to succeed.