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GIS Certification

The Esri and GIS-AP certifications mentioned here are not mutually exclusive, and GIS practitioners are encouraged to strive to achieve both.  The Esri certification demonstrates technical proficiency, and the GISP-AP certification demonstrates your professional status.

Esri Technical Certification Program


The Esri Technical Certification Program recognises qualified individuals who are proficient in best practices for using Esri software.  Exams are available for Desktop, Developer (Desktop, Web Application or Mobile) and Enterprise (Geodatabase Management, System Design or Administration) areas of expertise at Associate and Professional levels.

ArcGIS Desktop Associate (EADA) is an example of an Esri technical certification.  The exam costs $225 USD, takes 2 hours and 30 minutes and has 95 questions.  There are sample questions on the Esri website.

Exams are administered by Pearson VUE, which currently has test centres in Wellington, Hamilton, Auckland and Whangarei.  You are required to register with Pearson VUE, and then schedule a test at a specific test centre to see which dates are available (most business days).

Esri Certification - Esri website

New Zealand contact:  Claire Thurlow

GIS Professional (Asia Pacific)(GISP-AP)


A GISP-AP is a certified Geographic Information Systems Professional who has been assessed as meeting the minimum standards for ethical conduct and professional practice.  GISP-AP is a regionalised version of the GISCI’s GISP (see below). It is based on the same criteria and given equivalent status in the US. Certification and administration is carried out by the Australia/New Zealand Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute (SSSI).

A GISP-AP certification informs the general public and other professionals that your skills and expertise in spatial information and cartography are recognised at SSSI’s highest level.  

The credentials-based process requires a professional to initially demonstrate that an advanced level of expertise has been achieved, including:

  • Successful completion of formal tertiary education in a particular spatial science discipline;
  • Achievement of further relevant professional experience;
  • Contributions to the profession.

A Code of Ethics and Acknowledgement Form also needs to be signed.  Refer to the GIS-AP Code of Ethics and Rules of Conduct.

SSSI Members and Non-members are eligible to apply for GISP-AP Certification. The cost for Members is $165 AUD, and for Non-members is $737 AUD. Certificate holders are required to re-certify every five years in order to maintain certification.
New Zealand contact:  Karl Majorhazi, GISP-AP

GIS Professional (GISP)

A GISP is a certified geographic information system (GIS) professional who has met the minimum standards for ethical conduct and professional practice as established by the US-based GIS Certification Institute (GISCI).  The certification is credentials based and costs $250USD, comprising the same three components and ethical conduct as the GIS-AP above.
Recertification is required every five years, with the points weighted more towards contributions to the profession.
New Zealand contact:  Kilmeny Stephens, GISP
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