Geographic information systems (GIS) technician
Geospatial technicians collect data to create maps, update satellite navigation systems and plan construction projects.
Salary Range: £22,000 to £32,000
How to become a geospatial technician
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- a graduate training scheme
- the armed forces
You could do a degree in:
- surveying and mapping
- geographic information science
- Earth sciences
- computer science
You’ll usually need:
- 3 A levels, or equivalent, including at least 1 science
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can take a college course to learn some of the skills needed for the job, which may help when applying for a trainee position. Relevant courses include:
- Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Surveying
- Level 3 Diploma in Civil Engineering for Technicians
- T level in Design, Surveying and Planning
You may need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
You can work towards this role through a geospatial survey technician advanced apprenticeship.
To get onto an apprenticeship, you’ll find it useful to have:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths
You can apply for a graduate training scheme with a geospatial data company if you have a degree.
Many geospatial technicians use specialist software. You could build up your skills and knowledge through free online learning resources.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join the Association for Geographic Information for professional development and training opportunities.
You can find out more about careers and training in geographical information systems from:
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of geography
- analytical thinking skills
- maths knowledge
- complex problem-solving skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- design skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- adding geographic data and satellite imagery to a management system
- using specialist equipment like advanced GPS, laser scanners and drones
- gathering visual information like aerial photos, geological surveys and satellite images
- working closely with customers, engineers and project teams
- providing technical GIS reports or drawings to help with business decisions
- identifying and correcting errors on maps and design drawings
You could work in an office or visit sites.
Career path and progression
You can specialise in areas like agriculture, mining, healthcare, urban planning or military intelligence.
After 3 to 5 years’ experience, you can become a GIS analyst or geographic information officer.