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Background & Overview Report Dave DiSera Carolyn Merry NGAC Meeting April 2, 2014. GEOSPATIAL WORKFORCE AND EDUCATION. NGAC Products & Activities. Workforce Development Whitepaper approved by NGAC January 2012.

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Geospatial workforce and education

Background & Overview Report

Dave DiSera

Carolyn Merry

NGAC Meeting

April 2, 2014


Ngac products activities
NGAC Products & Activities

  • Workforce Development Whitepaper approved by NGAC January 2012.

  • The National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on STEM Education issued a 5-Year Strategic Plan on Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education in May 2013 which was reviewed by the NGAC Subcommittee in 2013.

  • The NGAC subcommittee also reviewed:

    • The NRC Report: Future US Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence

    • The DOI STEM Education and Employment Pathways Strategic Plan The STEM Workforce Challenge: The Role of the Public Workforce System in a National Solution for STEM

December 11, 2013

Key findings learnings
Key Findings/Learnings

  • Federal STEM Plan is at a strategic level, does not reference specific programs or disciplines

    • Other back-up documentation used to develop the Plan may include references

  • DOL related material show that federal agencies are recognizing GIS as a STEM component - acknowledgement is a breakthrough 

  • THE DOI STEM Plan references GIS and programs for employment in GIS related fields

  • Follow-on work regarding the NGA Report findings and recommendations continues

December 11, 2013


  • There is no clear and broadly accepted definition for what constitutes the “geospatial industry” or a “geospatial workforce”. (

  • A clear continuum which establishes a clear educational path to credentialing to classified employment does not exist

    • No CIPS/Degree codification exists at the collegiate level

    • While GISP is growing, it lacks broad employer-based support

    • NAICS and similar job codes do not exist

  • Many educational, certification, and employment classification efforts are in place or underway which place specialization before and above generalization in an effort to meet limited, niche-oriented workforce demands.

  • Lack of cohesive identity and industry unity = lack of funding

  • How to apply/extend/interface with the Geospatial Competency Model

Impact of challenges on federal gov
Impact of Challenges on Federal Gov.

  • Observations that need to be validated with a broader group:

    • Difficulty in identifying, listing, and filling geospatial contracts, services, and positions

    • Loss of leadership and the resultant ability to proscribe standards of practice globally

    • The creation and growth of geospatially oriented activities may be stunted

    • Collaboration and cooperation across the Federal enterprise is limited due to lack of common ground

Geospatial workforce swot analysis
Geospatial Workforce SWOT Analysis

  • Strengths:

  • Clear understanding of workforce development pathway

  • Sense of identity and ownership which fosters cohesiveness and leadership

  • Clarity with respect to Geomatics, surveying, information technology, and allied fields (de-confliction)

  • Weaknesses:

  • Many benefit from current confusion (special interests able to manipulate current system)

  • Development of a clear identity may disturb traditional models/owners

  • Some who are considered geospatial may fall outside new boundaries

  • Opportunities:

  • Linkage to STEM and similar “new” funding sources

  • Platform from which we may lead globally

  • Creation of Community focus to solve “big problems”

  • Better collaboration through shared understanding

  • Threats:

  • Opposition from those benefiting from current ambiguity

  • Inertia associated with breaking from past

  • Ambiguity/challenges associated with creating and potentially codifying definitions

  • Failure to define soon will result in absorption by other areas

Initial actions for the geospatial community to consider
Initial Actions for the Geospatial Community to Consider

  • Dialogue with the broader federal and geospatial communities to better define the geospatial industry and discuss policy recommendations.

  • Review and revise NAICS Codes to better fit jobs with substantial activities rooted in geospatial

  • Assess the geospatial Generalist to Specialist education and certification/credentialing

  • Assess the CIP/degree code for geospatial included in the definition of STEM education

2014 guidance geospatial education workforce development
2014 Guidance: Geospatial Education & Workforce Development

The FGDC seeks continuing feedback and input from the NGAC on the issues of geospatial education and workforce development, including the following:

  • Identify opportunities to leverage recent professional GIS certification initiatives by the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

  • Provide input as needed on the implementation of the Administration’s STEM strategic plan (government-wide, or within specific agencies, as appropriate).