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Career and Education Opportunities for Geographic Information Systems Analysts in Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for geographic information systems analysts. The national trend for geographic information systems analysts sees this job pool growing by about 26.2% over the next eight years. Geographic information systems analysts generally study nature and use of areas of earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena.

The income of a geographic information systems analyst is about $34 per hour or $72,060 annually on average in Maryland. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $32 hourly or $66,600 per year on average. Earnings for geographic information systems analysts are better than earnings in the general category of Social Sciences in Maryland and not quite as good as general Social Sciences category earnings nationally. Geographic information systems analysts work in a variety of jobs, including: geographic information systems program director , gis physical scientist , and geographic information systems analyst .

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a geographic information systems analyst. The most common level of education for geographic information systems analysts is a Master's degree. You can expect to spend about six years studying to be a geographic information systems analyst if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Geographic Information Systems Analyst

In general, geographic information systems analysts study nature and use of areas of earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. They also conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.

Geographic information systems analysts conduct fieldwork at outdoor sites. They also develop and modify maps, graphs, or diagrams, using geographical data software and related equipment, and principles of cartography such as direct systems and map scales. Equally important, geographic information systems analysts have to gather and compile geographic data from sources including censuses and existing maps. They are often called upon to locate and obtain existing geographic data databases. They are expected to design and maintain geographical data (GIS) computer systems and video cameras. Finally, geographic information systems analysts furnish consulting services in fields including resource development and management, business location and market area analysis, environmental hazards, regional cultural history, and urban social planning.

Every day, geographic information systems analysts are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they write clearly and communicate well.

It is important for geographic information systems analysts to teach geography. Somewhat less frequently, geographic information systems analysts are also expected to collect data on physical characteristics of specified areas, such as geological formations and vegetation, using surveying or meteorological equipment.

and write and present reports of research findings. And finally, they sometimes have to study the economic and cultural characteristics of a specific region's population.

Like many other jobs, geographic information systems analysts must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and be able to work independently and make decisions on their own.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Archaeologist. Conduct research to reconstruct record of past human life and culture from human remains, artifacts, and structures recovered through excavation, underwater recovery, or other means of discovery.
  • Atmospheric Scientist. Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses.
  • Community Planner. Compile data from various sources, such as maps, reports, and field and file investigations, for use by city planner in making planning studies.
  • Economist. Conduct research, prepare reports, or formulate plans to aid in solution of economic problems arising from production and distribution of goods and services. May collect and process economic and statistical data using econometric and sampling techniques.
  • Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
  • Geological Specialist. Study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth. May use geological, physics, and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation, or other environmental problems. May study the earth's internal composition, atmospheres, and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces. Includes mineralogists, crystallographers, and seismologists.
  • Historian. Research, analyze, and interpret the past as recorded in sources, such as government and institutional records, newspapers and other periodicals, photographs, and unpublished manuscripts, such as personal diaries and letters.
  • Hydrologist. Research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters; study the form and intensity of precipitation, its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and its return to the ocean and atmosphere.
  • Industrial Psychologist. Apply principles of psychology to personnel, administration, and marketing problems. Activities may include policy planning; employee screening, training and development; and organizational development and analysis. May work with management to reorganize the work setting to improve worker productivity.
  • Market Research Analyst. Research market conditions in local, regional, or national areas to determine potential sales of a product or service. May gather information on competitors, prices, and methods of marketing and distribution. May use survey results to create a marketing campaign based on regional preferences and buying habits.
  • Market Survey Representative. Design or conduct surveys. May supervise interviewers who conduct the survey in person or over the telephone. May present survey results to client.
  • School Psychologist. Investigate processes of learning and teaching and develop psychological principles and techniques applicable to educational problems.
  • Urban Planner. Develop comprehensive plans and programs for use of land and physical facilities of local jurisdictions, such as towns, cities, and metropolitan areas.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Geographic Information Systems Analyst Training

Montgomery College - Rockville, MD

Montgomery College, 40 W. Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850. Montgomery College is a large college located in Rockville, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,452 students. Montgomery College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Geography which graduated four and three students respectively in 2008.

University of Maryland-Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250. University of Maryland-Baltimore County is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,268 students and an admission rate of 72%. University of Maryland-Baltimore County has a bachelor's degree program in Geography which graduated twelve students in 2008.

Towson University - Towson, MD

Towson University, 8000 York Rd, Towson, MD 21252-0001. Towson University is a large university located in Towson, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 21,111 students and an admission rate of 61%. Towson University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Geography which graduated twenty-two and seven students respectively in 2008.

George Washington University - Washington, DC

George Washington University, 2121 I Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052. George Washington University is a large university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,027 students and an admission rate of 37%. George Washington University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Geography which graduated fifteen and six students respectively in 2008.

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year program in Geography which graduated one student in 2008.

University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD

University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Geography which graduated five, eleven, and six students respectively in 2008.

George Mason University - Fairfax, VA

George Mason University, 4400 University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. George Mason University is a large university located in Fairfax, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,800 students and an admission rate of 63%. George Mason University has bachelor's degree, postbaccalaureate certificate, and master's degree programs in Geography which graduated one, seven, and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.