GIS Certification: The Canadian Institute of Geomatics Certification Program
One of the GIS Certifications available to Canadians specifically is the Certified Geomatics Specialist certification available from the Canadian Institute of Geomatics (CIG). Certification is offered in 6 areas: GIS/LIS, Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing, Cartography, Geodesy, and Geomatics Management. At present, 17 Canadians are certified in GIS/LIS, 1 in Photogrammetry, 1 in Remote Sensing, 1 in Geodesy, and 5 in Geomatics Management. This form of certification provides recognition among Canadian peers within different areas of geomatics, can provide career advancement opportunities through recognition and networking within CIG, looks great on a resumé, reassures employers that they’re hiring a competent candidate within these fields, and encourages geomatics professionals to maintain a high standard of achievement.
Who is the Canadian Institute of Geomatics?
The Canadian Institute of Geomatics is a non-profit organization that makes up the largest and most influential network in Canada for the field of geomatics, called the Geomatics and Geospatial Knowledge Network (GKN). The CIG was founded in 1882, and more than half of this body consists of senior managers and researchers from the private, public, academic, and NGO sectors. Both individuals and students can apply for membership to this organization, giving them access to the GKN, news in industry-related topics, and access to Geomatica Online, CIG’s journal publication. In addition to these advantages, student CIG members can gain access to student awards, Internships, mentoring programs, discounts, and other perks.
What are the Certified Geomatics Specialist Requirements?
The general requirements consist of four components: 6 years of professional experience, 4 references from people who hold or have held positions of responsibility and have direct knowledge of the applicant’s competence and qualifications, an active CIG membership, and a Declaration of Compliance with the CIG Code of Ethics. The certification lasts for 5 years and must be renewed at the end of the term.
Application forms are available online. Education and background, publications, memberships, relevant work experience, professional association activities, and references must be provided. School credentials such as degrees and diplomas can be credited towards the professional experience component. Detailed requirements, including those specific to each field, can be found here.
Certified Geomatics Specialists must remain in good standing (by complying with ethics and regulations) to keep their certification as well as earn a required number of points by making contributions to their field over the 5-year period of membership. Recertification requires completing an application where the applicant lists their involvement over the last 5 years. They must also provide 4 references that have knowledge of their involvement over the 5-year period.
Fees relating to CIG certification include a $100 (CAD) Application Processing Fee and a $50 Certification Fee (which is refunded if unsuccessful). CIG Membership is mandatory to hold certification and currently costs $140/year for an individual and $50/year for a student. Recertification fees have not yet been established but will also be applied.
Like other GIS certifications, several factors must be considered in order to decide if the CIG Certified Geomatics Specialist certification is right for you. This certification allows for a variety of specializations other than just GIS, but like other certifications, it promotes a specific career path within each specialization. Judging by how many Canadians are certified in each area of specialization, this certification is sought after mostly by GIS/LIS professionals and managers, so it may hold the most recognition within these fields. This can limit your career options and also limit your ability to shift your career towards different areas of geomatics–it can make it harder for you to find jobs to progress your career and maintain certification. It is also specific to Canada, so it may not be as well-recognized internationally. Finally, costs and professional dedication to obtaining and retaining certification must be weighed against your work-life balance and life choices.
This article is one of a series of articles intended to provide information about different types of optional GIS certification that are currently available for Canadians.