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Geographic Information Systems Applications in Natural Resource Management. Chapter 17 Certification and Licensing of GIS users. Michael G. Wing & Pete Bettinger. Chapter 17 Objectives. Why certification and licensing of GIS users is being debated,

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geographic information systems applications in natural resource management

Geographic Information SystemsApplications in Natural Resource Management

Chapter 17

Certification and Licensing of GIS users

Michael G. Wing & Pete Bettinger

chapter 17 objectives
Chapter 17 Objectives
  • Why certification and licensing of GIS users is being debated,
  • What organizations might be relevant in certification and licensing discussions, and
  • How certification and licensing issues might affect the typical GIS user in a natural resource organization.
gis certification and licensing
GIS certification and licensing…
  • Is the most contentious issue facing GIS today
  • Has no clear answer in immediate sight
  • Must be resolved
  • Is fascinating as it is an acknowledgement that GIS has “arrived” and has an important role in contemporary society
  • How did we get to this point?
gis licensing and certification
GIS licensing and certification?
  • Disputes have arisen between the surveying, photogrammetry, and GIS professions
    • Initially over non-surveyors using GPS equipment and claiming accuracies
    • Most states have legislation stating that only surveyors and/or engineers are qualified to record and report measurements of earth’s features
    • Have initiated legal challenges in several states
      • Generally, these challenges have been successful: don’t collect data unless you’re licensed to do so
    • Who is trained to collect, process, and map spatial data?
      • In what capacity?
  • Clearly, state legislation will be required to further differentiate and clarify the roles of surveyors, photogrammetrists, and GIS users in Oregon
  • At present, anyone in Oregon who collects and presents information regarding area and/or topographic measurements should be licensed as a PE, PLS, or Photogrammetrist (ORS 672.005)
  • California has already passed legislation that states that those using a GIS with ownership data must do so under the guidance of a PLS
    • Legislation divides activities into two broad categories
      • Land surveying (requires a license)
      • All other activities
    • Legislation is broadly written and interpretation may include mapping
  • Oregon has modified state statutes to include photogrammetry
mapps lawsuit
MAPPS Lawsuit
  • Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors
    • Brought suit against U.S. Gov’t (June 2006)
    • Selection of federal contractors for surveying and mapping services based on pricing and qualifications
  • UCGIS, URISA, AAG, GISCI, GITA joined forces and fought back
    • Many in the GIS community worried
  • U.S. District Court rules (June 2007) that plantiff’s did not have standing
    • Could not demonstrate harm
gis community
GIS community
  • Has never required certification or licensing
  • Very loosely organized in terms of a legislative presence
    • Can’t compete with land surveying and engineering boards
  • ASPRS has been only organization to offer a nationally recognized certification program
    • Few enrollees (n = 50)
  • URISA has built an experience-based certification program
    • No exams
    • Become a “GISP” after portfolio and payment submitted (n = 1709)
  • National council has drafted a “Model Law” that identifies surveying activities:
    • Using GIS to:
      • Determine earth’s features
      • Subdividing land
      • Locating control points, reference points, property
    • Survey license required!
how do you become a professional land surveyor
How do you become a professional land surveyor?
  • Graduate from a four year ABET-accredited land surveying or engineering curriculum
  • Take and pass eight-hour Fundamentals of Land Surveying exam (50% average passing rate)
  • Accumulate four years of land surveying experience under the guidance of a professional land surveyor
  • Successfully pass a six-hour national exam (70% passing rate)
  • Successfully pass a four-hour state (in Oregon) essay exam (40% passing rate)
    • Most states require a two-hour exam
the need for licensing
The need for licensing
  • Most professions have licensing
    • Defines standards necessary for competence
      • Education
      • Internship
      • Exams
    • Protects public welfare and safety
      • It is this quality that many proponents of licensing point make reference to
        • Fire hydrants
        • Emergency route mapping
        • Facility locations
    • Control and enforcement
      • Who makes sure that competency exists?
is licensing certification necessary for the gis community
Is licensing/certification necessary for the GIS community?
  • It depends but…
  • Until a national certification program is recognized and respected, GIS users will find themselves struggling with state and federal regulatory groups, other professions, and with each other for control of GIS activities