How to be a good GIS Analyst

Some year ago, when I first met GIS, I had to find a career out of the many areas of specialization that existed. Hearing of GIS technicians,GIS specialist, Spatial data expert and many more job descriptions that existed by then, I was fascinated by the urge to explore a number of fields and decide on my specific field in later years. One common name I came across was “GIS Analyst”. Looking into the responsibilities of this career, it was clear that there was duplication of responsibilities when compared to other fields. This however starred a good deal when it came to exploring the GIS industry. Each job description has a different view and treatment in different places.

I was moved by the fact that a GIS analyst seemed a great deal then. Over the years, being in the industry, there are a lot of skills and work responsibilities that have a long by being a GIS analyst. In this article, I share a number if ways in which one can make a great GIS analyst.

Team Work

This is a must-have skill for an analyst. You will find yourself working alongside other colleagues and experts in the office and the need to actualize a project demands great team work. Being able to relate well and maybe lead a team into greatness defines the success of a project or even a company. Being in a team comes with other skills such as team leader, solution expert within the group and many more.

Decision Maker

In many situations, as a GIS analyst, you are required to make decisions and critical ones. You have to decide on which platform to use, who to include in a team, the time frames, the scope of the work and many more. Being a great decision maker will eventually reflect in the projects completed or being undertaken in the organization.


When working in an organization where communication channels are defined and work structure is well known, good communication skills play a big role on how you relate with colleagues or members at the workplace. You are required to communicate to the project members, your bosses, juniors and as well as present a project progress to a client.In all these situations, the mode of communication is critical and need good communication skills.

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Smart (Problem solving)

In many GIS projects, you will always find hurdles during project execution. As an analyst, you are supposed to be a smart guy to define solutions to problems experienced along the way. This characteristic relate closely to decision making. Evaluate a problem, provide or define resources required, come up with a strategy and develop the solution to the problem. That’s all. This is essential as it might delay the project execution time-frame which might cause problems both financially and technically.


This is evident with the rise of the GeoIT where the workforce in an institution needs to be all-rounded. Often, you work as a GIS analyst you will be required to think spatially and logically. In most cases, these solution do not exist and thus calls for a custom solution in your workplace. Developing such a solution will require basic or advanced programming skills to keep the project going. Today, learning basic programming is so easy as one can do this at the comfort of your office, laptop or even house. There exist so many tutorials, webinar and virtual schools on-line. Once you have the basics, you can always advance the skills with an on-job practice.


These are just but a few the skills a GIS analyst requires when working with GIS. In your line of work, what other skills have you found relevant to the job? Comment it below for us to learn.

Wanjohi Kibui
About Wanjohi Kibui 23 Articles
A GIS Developer, Consultant and Author.Passionate about Geospatial technologies. To read more about his work, visit Access video Tutorials on YouTube