GIS Tech News (#101)

22 Sep, 2010 By: Cadalyst Staff

Geospatial Technology Competency Model Solidifies Skill Standards

With contributions from the academic, government, and corporate sectors, the GeoTech Center crafts a touchstone that benefits an entire industry.

By Cyrena Respini-Irwin

Just as travelers rely on maps, everyone requires some guidance to progress in the right direction, and to determine whether they've reached their goal. Students, educators, workers, and employers, for example, all need to know which skills are fundamental to success in geospatial careers. Conflicting — or absent — standards have plagued this relatively young industry, where the problem is compounded by ever-changing technology.

The U.S. Department of Labor's (DoL) Employment and Training Administration provided an answer to this confusion in July, when it released an industry competency model for geospatial technology. The newest of 16 such models available through the Competency Model Clearinghouse, the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM) is designed to guide workers interested in entering the industry, educators developing curricula, employers who hire staff and develop apprenticeship programs, and organizations that bestow professional certifications.

The Clearinghouse defines a competency as "the capability to apply or use a set of related knowledge, skills, and abilities required to successfully perform 'critical work functions' or tasks in a defined work setting." A competency model, therefore, "provides a clear description of what a person needs to know and be able to do — the knowledge, skills, and abilities — to perform well in a specific job, occupation, or industry."

"The GTCM is the basis of everything we do," said Phillip Davis, director and principal investigator of the GeoTech Center, which led the arduous model validation process. "It's the keystone or foundation for all the other goals we're trying to accomplish." The GeoTech Center, which comprises partners from colleges and universities, government, and industry, develops professional and academic resources to support the development of geospatial technicians. Read more »
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Cyrena Respini-Irwin is Cadalyst's senior editor.

Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

GSDI12 World Conference

October 19–22, 2010
The theme of this conference is "Realizing Spatially Enabled Societies." The gathering will include a range of geospatial events in addition to the 12th GSDI Conference and the 16th PCGIAP (Permanent Committee on GIS Infrastructure for Asia and the Pacific) Annual Meeting. Read more

GEOINT 2010 Symposium
November 1–4, 2010
New Orleans, Louisiana
The seventh annual GEOINT Symposium, designed for the defense, intelligence, and homeland security communities, will include keynotes from community leaders, panel discussions, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities. Read more

Trimble Dimensions 2010
November 8–10, 2010
Las Vegas, Nevada
Trimble's fifth International User Conference will provide insight into how the convergence of technology can redefine the way surveying, engineering, construction, mapping, GIS, geospatial, utilities, and mobile resource management professionals connect and collaborate to achieve success. Read more 

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on Are you hosting an event that you would like to include in our calendar? Submit details at least two weeks in advance to

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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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