The GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge 3

Transparency and Transportability 3

Essential Body of Knowledge Background 3

Essential Body of Knowledge Purpose 4

Essential Body of Knowledge Competency Areas 5


Universal GEOINT Competency Areas 6

COMPETENCY I: GIS & Analysis Tools 6

COMPETENCY II: Remote Sensing & Imagery Analysis 7

COMPETENCY III: Geospatial Data Management 8

COMPETENCY IV: Data Visualization 9


GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge Cross-Functional Knowledge and Skills 10

COMPETENCY: Synthesis 10

COMPETENCY: Reporting 10

COMPETENCY: Collaboration 10


Evolution of the GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge 11

Genesis 11

Development of the Essential Body of Knowledge 11

Relationship to Other Organizations 13

Future 13


Sources 14


Throughout the past 20 years, geographic,

mathematical, scientific, technical, collections, and

analysis disciplines have converged as components of

a larger discipline—geospatial intelligence (GEOINT).

GEOINT has become the cornerstone of U.S. national

and homeland security activities through its place at the

functional center of many diverse intelligence methods

and applications.

In 2003, a group of leading authorities realized an

inherent need for a unified vision and approach to

promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft.

This group created the successful GEO-INTEL 2003

conference—the predecessor to the annual GEOINT

Symposium—and in early 2004 established the United

States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF). The

Foundation’s mission was, and continues to be, to bring

together government, industry, academia, professional

organizations, and individuals for the advancement of

the geospatial intelligence tradecraft.

Recently, the private sector has experienced a similar

rise in its applications of GEOINT. Geospatial Intelligence

is now part of Business Intelligence (BI). Place and time

are part of the working fabric that forms BI and informs

decision-makers at all levels. However, the practice of

GEOINT still requires exceptional skill and training.

Being the first and only organization of its kind,

USGIF has helped advance the GEOINT tradecraft

through its many events and programs, such as the

highly acclaimed GEOINT Symposium and GEOINT

Community Week. The Foundation has awarded almost

$800,000 in scholarships to students studying the

geospatial sciences—from high school students to

doctoral candidates. USGIF has accredited 12 college

and university GEOINT programs: Fayetteville State

University, George Mason University, Northeastern

University, Pennsylvania State University, University of

Missouri, University of Redlands, University of South

Carolina, University of Southern California, University

of Texas at Dallas, University of Utah, the U.S. Air Force

Academy, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

USGIF has awarded more than 500 GEOINT certificates

to students graduating from these accredited schools

with hundreds more matriculating through the programs.

The Foundation also offers more than 100 hours of

training and education sessions throughout the year.

USGIF currently has more than 240 sustaining member

organizations supporting and assisting in executing the

Foundation’s objectives, but is primarily an educational



The GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge

Transparency and Transportability

This document provides background information and

context as well as outlines standards for the broad

practice of Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT). The Essential

Body of Knowledge (EBK) is at the heart of USGIF’s

efforts to professionalize the global GEOINT workforce.

Within this document are examples of transparency and

transportability, the hallmarks of our program.

Transparency means not only may any aspiring

GEOINT professional gain access to the EBK, but he or

she can also understand the process by which the EBK

was created and will evolve over time. The EBK is not

a one-time creation. Rather, it will grow and change to

reflect the sweeping changes we see in the wide variety

of GEOINT sub-disciplines.

Transportability means the Universal GEOINT

Certification, built and administered by USGIF, will be

valued within and between many industries. Thus, the

concept of a “trans-industry” credential is introduced

as a manifestation of transportability.

Essential Body of Knowledge Background

While there are several definitions that attempt to frame

the Geospatial Intelligence profession, the most wellknown

definition of GEOINT stems from the United

States Code, Title 10, section 467 (10 U.S.C. § 467),

which states:

“The term ‘geospatial intelligence’ means

the exploitation and analysis of imagery and

geospatial information to describe, assess,

and visually depict physical features and

geographically referenced activities on the

earth. Geospatial intelligence consists of

imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial


In October 2011, Dr. Michael Vickers, then Undersecretary

of Defense for Intelligence, issued a memorandum

calling for the accredited certification of intelligence

professionals, including those at the National

Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). In the memo,

Vickers cited the professionalization of the Intelligence

Community workforce as critical to evolving mission

demands and called upon training and education to

meet skill gaps in analysis, foreign language, cyber,

human intelligence, counterintelligence, and technical


In response to Vickers’ memo, then-NGA Director

Letitia A. Long cited USGIF as a partner organization

to help the agency meet this goal. In October 2013,

USGIF and NGA entered into a cooperative research

and development agreement allowing the two

organizations to share best practices and partner on

defining a set of GEOINT competencies for the entire


USGIF recognized the practice of GEOINT extended

well beyond the U.S. Defense, Intelligence, and

Homeland Security Communities. This realization

prompted the development of a Universal GEOINT

Certification. The goal was to create industry’s

answer to government-specific credentials through

the development of a transparent, transportable,

and trans-industry certification appropriate for both

government and commercial GEOINT practitioners.

USGIF embarked upon a 16-month effort to define

this GEOINT EBK, which depicts the knowledge, skills,

and abilities a practicing GEOINT professional should

possess. USGIF engaged the subject matter expertise

of industry organizations such as the American

Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

(ASPRS), Association of American Geographers (AAG),

University Consortium for Geographic Information

Science (UCGIS), Geospatial Information and

Technology Association (GITA), National Geospatial

Advisory Committee (NGAC), NGA, GIS Certification

Institute (GISCI), the GeoTech Center, USGIF Members,

and USGIF-accredited colleges and universities.


Essential Body of Knowledge Purpose

The EBK describes the sum of knowledge within the

GEOINT profession. As with other professions, the EBK

ultimately resides with the practitioners and academics

that apply and advance the tradecraft. The EBK

includes knowledge of proven practices that are widely

applied as well as innovative and advanced practices.

The primary purpose of this document is to identify

and describe the knowledge and skills critical for

those working in the GEOINT profession. Geospatial

intelligence is a dynamic tradecraft. As the profession

continues to evolve so will the EBK, continuing to

reflect appropriate and meaningful changes to the

GEOINT tradecraft and to incorporate new approaches

to performing tasks that become more prevalent.

USGIF set out to create a blended set of core

competencies that incorporate tasks from a number

of disciplines previously thought to be stand-alone

activities and occupations. Rather than identifying

knowledge and skills that are specific to a certain

occupation or job, this EBK defines what it means to be

a GEOINT professional through identifying knowledge

and skills that cut across many different occupations.

In addition, GEOINT is more about the analysis enabled

by technology than about the technology itself. As

technologies merge they become less of a barrier

between the disciplines of remote sensing and GIS.

The universal core competencies articulated in this

EBK has been developed for the GEOINT professional:

the person in the government and business who

informs decision-makers about spatiotemporal issues

and provides timely answers to key questions.

The GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge provides a basic reference for anyone interested in or practicing

the profession of GEOINT. This includes, but is not limited to:

• Advanced Visualization Specialists

• Aeronautical Analysts

• Business Market Analysts

• Counterintelligence Officers

• Demographers

• Economic Development Specialists

• Emergency Preparedness Specialists

• Environmental Scientists

• Geodetic Surveyors

• GEOINT Analysts (Analytic Methodologist, Geodetic

Earth Sciences, Geodetic Orbit Sciences, LiDAR

Image Science, Photogrammetric Image Science,

Radar Image Science, Spectral Image Science,

Thermal Infrared Image Science)

• Geospatial Data Stewards

• GIS Analysts (Consultant, Coordinator, Developer,

Instructor, Programmer, Project Manager, Sales &

Marketing, Spatial Analyst, Specialist, Supervisor,

Technical Writer, Tech Lead, Technician, Tester,


• Hydrologists

• Imagery Acquisition Specialists

• Imagery Analysts

• Imagery Scientists

• LiDAR Project Managers

• Maritime Analysts

• Open-Source Analysts

• Public Health Specialists

• Research Specialists

• Scientists

• Surveyors

• Source Strategies Analysts

• Systems Engineers

• Wildlife Biologists



Essential Body of Knowledge Competency Areas

The GEOINT EBK describes geospatial intelligence competency and practice in terms of key job tasks and essential

knowledge, skills, and ability required for a professional to be successful. These competencies are organized into four

competency areas as described below and illustrated.

Competency I: GIS & Analysis Tools describes the

knowledge necessary to ensure the various elements

and approaches of GIS and analysis are properly

understood in order to successfully capture, store,

manage, and visualize data that is linked directly to a


Competency II: Remote Sensing & Imagery Analysis

describes the knowledge necessary to generate

products and/or presentations of any natural or manmade

feature or related object or activity through

satellites, airborne platforms, unmanned aerial vehicles,

terrestrially based sensors, or other similar means. This

competency area contains the knowledge necessary

to synthesize technical, geographic, and intelligence

information derived through the interpretation or

analysis of imagery and collateral materials as well as

the processes, uses, interpretations, and manipulations

of imagery for dissemination.

Competency III: Geospatial Data Management

describes the knowledge required to acquire, manage,

retrieve, and disseminate data to facilitate integration,

analysis, and synthesis of geospatial information.

Competency IV: Data Visualization describes the

use of cartographic and visualization principles to

generate products that represent information about the

physical environment that can be easily understood by


GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge

Remote Sensing

& Imagery Analysis

Data Visualization


Data Management

GIS & Analysis Tools






Universal GEOINT Competency Areas

COMPETENCY I: GIS & Analysis Tools

A subset of GEOINT that includes the requisite knowledge to ensure the various elements and approaches to GIS

and analysis are properly understood in order to successfully capture, store, manage, and visualize data that is linked

directly to a location. GIS & Analysis Tools consist of:

Fundamental GIS Principles

• Vector and Vectorization (e.g., digitization)

• Raster

• Types of Geospatial Information

• Fundamentals of Geodesic Science

(e.g., geoid, ellipsoid, coordinate systems,

heights, point positioning, datum)

• Spatial Topology

• Feature Attribution

Data Evaluation Principles

• Common Limitations of Geospatial Data

(e.g., uncertainty, relative and absolute

accuracy, precision)

• Data Validation

• Non-structured Data Evaluation

Spatial Analysis & Statistics

• Spatial Structures and Models

• Algorithms for Spatial Analysis

• Spatio-temporal Analysis (e.g., trend analysis,

predictive/anticipatory analysis)

• Analysis of Surfaces (e.g., elevation data)

• Raster Analysis Techniques

(e.g., raster mathematics)

• Geocoding (e.g., land partitioning systems)

• Vector Analysis (e.g., network analysis)

• Statistical Techniques and Concepts

• Non-structured Data Analytics

• Geostatistical Methods

Geospatial Data Fusion

• Metadata Requirements (e.g., metadata standards,

geospatial standard organizations – Federal

Geospatial Data Committee)

• Common Data Fusion Applications

• Fusion of Geospatial Data with Remotely Sensed

Data (e.g., applications and location-based

intelligence, activity-based intelligence)

• Fusion of Various Types of Remotely Sensed Data

• Common Errors and Limitations Resulting from

Data Fusion

Open-Source Geospatial Data

• Sources and Types of Open-Source Geospatial Data

(e.g., non-structured data)

• Geospatial Crowdsourcing (e.g., volunteered

geographic information, “participatory sensing”)

• Common Capabilities and Limitations of Open-

Source Geospatial Data (e.g., open-source versus

proprietary data, data quality)

• Open-Source Geospatial Standards

• Sources of Open-Source Geospatial Error

• Open-Source “Spoofing”

Geography Concepts & Principles

• Human Geography: Interrelationships Between

Humans and Their Environment (e.g., cultural,

economic, health, historic, political, population)

• Physical Geography: Geomorphology,

Environmental/Climate Geography

• Virtual Geography

• Conceptual Analytic Modeling

• Structured Analytic Techniques



COMPETENCY II: Remote Sensing & Imagery Analysis

Remote Sensing & Imagery Analysis generates products and/or presentations of any natural or man-made feature or

related object or activity through satellites, airborne platforms, unmanned aerial vehicles, or other similar means. This

competency area contains the knowledge necessary to synthesize technical, geographic, and intelligence information

derived through the interpretation or analysis of imagery and collateral materials as well as the processes, uses,

interpretations, and manipulations of imagery for dissemination. Remote Sensing & Imagery Analysis includes:

Remote Sensing Fundamentals

• Image Target Elements (e.g., tone, shape, size,

pattern, texture, shadow, association)

• Types of Resolution (e.g., spatial, spectral,

radiometric, temporal, extent)

• Analog and Digital Imagery Formats

• Imagery Sensors for Remotely Sensed Data

(e.g., LiDAR, airborne, electro-optical, radar,

infrared, full-motion video)

• Airborne vs. Satellite Imagery

• Active and Passive Sensor Considerations

• Relationship Between Sensors, Resolution,

and Electromagnetic Spectrum

• Combinations of Sensors and/or Resolutions

to Generate End Product

• Common Challenges Associated with Remotely

Sensed Imagery Data (e.g., atmospheric/weather,

ground effects/dust, camouflage)

• Image Evaluation (e.g., sources of systematic and

unsystematic errors, accuracy, precision, National

Imagery Interpretation Ratings Scales)

• Image Metadata

• Other Sensors (e.g., unattended ground sensors,

supervisory control and data acquisition, relationship

with materials identification and analysis)

Imagery Preprocessing

• Geometric Correction

• Radiometric Corrections

• Mosaicking

• Geometric Registration

Imagery Enhancement

• 1st and 2nd Generation Orthorectification

• Georeferencing

• Dynamic Range Adjustments

• Spatial Filtering

• Image Histogram

• Stereoscopic Visualization

• Imagery Mensuration Techniques

Imagery Transformation

• Principal Components Analysis

• Spectral Ratioing

• Multi-Resolution Integration

Imagery Classification

• Supervised Image Classification

• Unsupervised Image Classification

• Classification Accuracy Assessment

and Error Analysis

• Information Classes and Spectral Classes

• Automated Feature Extraction

Imagery Analysis

• Radar Imagery Analysis

• LiDAR Imagery Analysis

• Multispectral Imagery Analysis

• Hyperspectral Imagery Analysis

• Pan Sharpening

• Change Detection Techniques

• Geographic Object-Based Imagery Analysis

• Time Series Imagery Exploitation

• Analysis of Polarized Imagery



COMPETENCY III: Geospatial Data Management

A subset of GEOINT that includes the knowledge required to acquire, manage, retrieve, and disseminate data to

facilitate integration, analysis, and synthesis of geospatial information. Geospatial Data Management consists of:

• Data Types & Considerations

• Structured Data Considerations

(e.g., analysis, manipulation, creation, integration)

• Unstructured Data Considerations

(e.g., analysis, manipulation, creation, integration)

• Geospatial File Types

• Data Dissemination Considerations

• Metadata Considerations

• Attribution

• Map Services/Web Mapping Services

• Data Creation

Database Design

• Characteristics of Geospatial Databases

(e.g., minimizes “redundancy”)

• Data Normalization (e.g., first normal form,

second normal form, third normal form)

• Conceptual Database Models (e.g., requirements

definition, database planning, Entity-Relationship


• Logical Database Models (e.g., cardinality, incidental

and structural relationships, storage requirements)

• Physical Database Models

(e.g., software capabilities and limitations)

• Types of Databases (e.g., schema types)

• Geospatial Data Considerations

• SQL Fundamentals

• Distributed Databases (e.g., cloud databases)

• Common Geospatial Database Tools

Database Management

• Data Searching

(e.g., query operations, query languages)

• Big Data Management

• Storage and Retrieval Principles

Data Security

• Data Privacy and Confidentiality Considerations

• Data Encryption

Programming & Development

• Common Programming Languages (e.g., Python)

• Software and Application Development Processes

• Web Application Program Interfaces

(e.g., iOS, Android)



COMPETENCY IV: Data Visualization

Data Visualization is a subset of GEOINT that uses cartographic and visualization principles to generate products

that represent information about the physical environment and can be easily understood by decision-makers. Data

Visualization consists of:

Visualization Principles

• Integrity Principles

• Design Principles

• Subjective Considerations

• Data Types

• Visual Variables

Types of Visualizations

• Area

• Bar

• Circle

• Diagram

• Distribution

• Tree & Network

• Grid/Matrix

• Line

• Point

• Table

• Text-based

• Properties

Maps as Visualizations

• Color Theory

• Symbolizations

• Uncertainty (e.g., thematic or positional)

• Typography (e.g., data and text annotation)

• Attribute Display

• Map Projections

• Map Scale

• Metadata Annotation (e.g., marginalia)

• Hardcopy/Softcopy Maps

• Topographic Maps (e.g., hydrographic, aeronautical)

• Thematic Maps

• 3-Dimensional Maps

• Flow Maps

• Choropleth Maps

• Contour Maps

• Distorted Maps (e.g., cartogram)

• Statistical Plot Maps

• Time-Varying Maps

• Map Mashups




Essential Body of Knowledge Cross-Functional

Knowledge and Skills

Cross-functional knowledge areas are necessary when there are widely accepted knowledge, skills, and abilities that

transcend specific core competencies or where competencies are found across the full scope of practice. Crossfunctional

GEOINT knowledge, skills, and abilities generally reflect:

• Qualitative “soft skills” used by most GEOINTers

• Unique aspects of the Universal GEOINT tradecraft applicable to the majority of practitioners

• Common GEOINT knowledge and practices that, if followed, will improve the performance of a practitioner


Identifies, locates, and obtains essential information

efficiently and effectively. Identifies, defines, and

decomposes problems into component parts to

facilitate a search for a solution. Generates ideas about

a given topic and applies old ideas to new situations

or in new combinations. Synthesizes and integrates

information into meaningful concepts and ideas. Draws

conclusions from a set of facts, recognizes patterns or

trends, and determines the consequences of an action.


Expresses ideas, information, and facts clearly and

appropriately. Tailors verbal, written, and other forms

of communication to intended purpose and audience.

Uses language conventions of spelling, punctuation,

and grammar properly. Uses appropriate sentence and

paragraph structure. Generates products according to

organization, industry, and/or professional standards.

Solicits constructive feedback from peers in an iterative

manner; synthesizes recommendations to generate

improved products, services, and processes.

COMPETENCY: Collaboration

Interacts with others in a friendly, courteous, and tactful

manner that demonstrates respect for individual and

cultural differences and for the attitudes and feelings

of others. Works cooperatively and collaboratively

with others to achieve goals through sharing or

integrating ideas, knowledge, skills, information,

support, resources, responsibility, and recognition.

Facilitates agreements that involve sharing or

exchanging resources to promote mutual goals and

interest; persuades others to change their points of

view or behavior without losing support; and resolves

conflicts and disagreements. Develops and leverages

professional networks to facilitate cooperative

partnerships that help attain goals.




Evolution of the GEOINT Essential

Body of Knowledge


In 2013, the USGIF Board of Directors approved a

project to develop the concepts necessary to support

the profession of geospatial intelligence. The project

suggested three focus areas:

• Define the distinguishing characteristics of

the GEOINT profession/tradecraft

• Define the content and structure of a professional

GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge

• Establish recognition of professional attainment


Development of the Essential

Body of Knowledge

USGIF contracted with Global Skills Exchange (GSX), a

professional services firm with an extensive background

developing and implementing credentialing and

certification programs, to assist in the develop of the

EBK. The EBK serves as the foundational pillar for

USGIF’s Universal GEOINT Credentialing Program

and Universal GEOINT Certification and as such is the

basis for the development of subsequent training and

professional development initiatives.

The EBK represents the product of a series of analytical

steps conducted that are described in detail below:

(1) thought leader (TL) interviews; (2) legacy document

review; (3) development of a draft EBK with input from

subject matter experts (SMEs); (4) validation of the

draft EBK with input from SMEs; and (5) finalization of

the EBK. Each step incorporated USGIF’s vision for

its GEOINT Credentialing Program (i.e., transparency,

transportability, trans-industry) through leveraging

SME input from across various industry sectors and

incorporating iterative content development and review.

1. Thought Leader Interviews

A series of interviews were conducted with selected

TLs for two purposes: (1) learning about “work” and

“worker” requirements in the geospatial intelligence

field; and (2) identifying relevant legacy documents that

specify “work” and “worker” requirements in geospatial

intelligence. USGIF stakeholders nominated TLs to

interview based on expertise in the discipline. TLs

included senior managers and directors from private

sector geospatial organizations, academics involved in

developing and implementing geospatial curriculum at

their post-secondary institutions, and representatives

from the public sector. During the interviews, TLs were

asked to discuss their experience performing geospatial

intelligence work and describe the knowledge and skills

needed to successfully perform that work. In addition,

TLs were asked to identify any documents that describe

work and/or worker requirements for professionals

working in geospatial intelligence.

2. Legacy Document Review

With a general understanding of the “work” and

“worker” requirements, an in-depth legacy document

review was conducted of the documents suggested

by TLs. This step focused on the following documents:

• Geospatial Technology Competency Model,

U.S Department of Labor

• Geospatial-Intelligence Professional Certification

Blueprint, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

• Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence,

National Research Council

• The Geographic Information Science and

Technology Body of Knowledge, UCGIS

These documents were reviewed to identify the

knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies that

similar initiatives found relevant for similar target

populations. These documents provided a starting

point to develop draft competencies, knowledge,

and skills that are relevant for the target population of

USGIF’s Universal GEOINT Credentialing Program.



3. Development of a Draft EBK:

After interviewing TLs and reviewing legacy documents,

the GEOINT EBK was drafted. The EBK development

process was iterative and provided multiple

opportunities for SMEs with various backgrounds and

industry experiences to participate. In coordination and

cooperation with numerous stakeholders, in-person

focus groups were conducted with SMEs in:

• Herndon, Va. (at USGIF headquarters)

• Reston, Va. (at a USGIF-sponsored event)

• Dayton, Ohio (event sponsored by a USGIF partner)

• San Diego, Calif. (at a GIS industry conference)

• Jackson, Miss.

(event sponsored by a USGIF partner).

In addition, a number of interviews were conducted

with selected SMEs who were unable to attend inperson

focus groups. In total, 62 SMEs from various

industry sectors participated in the EBK development

phase. SMEs from the defense and intelligence

sector (including government and private industry)

represented more than half of SME participation during

the development phase, with other SMEs participating

from academia, the oil and gas industry, defense and

intelligence, international organizations, emergency

response, state and local government, and more.

During these development focus groups, SMEs were

asked to: (1) review knowledge and skill statements

generated in legacy documents; (2) review knowledge

and skill statements generated by other SMEs; (3)

generate additional knowledge and skill statements;

(4) sort knowledge and skill statements into clusters

of competencies; and (5) rate the proficiency needed

by geospatial intelligence professionals with respect

to the knowledge and skill statements. This activity

provided SMEs with the opportunity to generate

both qualitative and quantitative data for subsequent

analysis. A draft GEOINT EBK was developed based on

the data generated during these focus groups.

4. Validation of the Draft EBK

Upon completion of the development phase, the

project transitioned to the validation phase in which

a different set of SMEs participated in focus groups.

A number of interviews, in-person focus groups, and

webinars were conducted for the purpose of soliciting

feedback on the draft EBK. In addition, questionnaires

were distributed to those SMEs who were unable to

participate in any of the other activities.

In total, 72 SMEs from various industry sectors

participated during the EBK validation phase. We

reached out to SMEs from various industry sectors

to generate the validation data, including input from

academia, the defense and intelligence sector, various

segments of business and industry, other federal

agencies, and SMEs from the geospatial intelligence

industry outside of the United States. None of the

SMEs who participated in the development phase also

participated in the validation phase.

As in the development phase, validation focus

group participants were asked to provide qualitative

comments as well as make ratings that generated

quantitative data used to validate the knowledge and

skills in the EBK. The data provided by the 72 SMEs

during the validation phase was used to generate the

final EBK.

5. Finalization of the EBK

We leveraged qualitative and quantitative data provided

by 134 SMEs from various geospatial intelligence

sectors to finalize the GEOINT EBK. In particular, we

established an analytical decision rule that accounted

for the degree of agreement across industry sectors

to ensure the knowledge and skills represented in the

final product reflect agreement across different groups

of SMEs. Thus, the final EBK reflects the knowledge

and skills that are important for geospatial intelligence

professionals across industries.



Relationship to Other Organizations

USGIF is strengthening the GEOINT profession through

the creation of its new Universal GEOINT Certification.

This in-depth certification requires knowledge of

remote sensing and imagery analysis, GIS, data

management, and synthesis/reporting. Achieving

USGIF’s Universal GEOINT Certification will allow

geospatial professionals to distinguish themselves as

internationally recognized practitioners.

In April 2014, just before the GEOINT Symposium in

Tampa, Fla., USGIF hosted the Future of Geospatial

Certification Workshop to gauge interest in communitywide

collaboration on certification. Representatives

from NGA, ASPRS, GISCI, AAG, Esri, the U.S.

Geological Survey, USGIF-accredited academic

programs, and others met for an unprecedented

dialogue. The gathering resulted in a greater community

understanding of USGIF’s budding Universal GEOINT

Credentialing Program, a decision to collaborate

among interested organizations moving forward, and

increased professional trust among stakeholders.

With the goal of strengthening the professional

geospatial credentialing environment, a framework

was proposed and agreed upon as a starting point

for future discussions. This credentialing framework

takes into account a variety of existing GEOINT-related

credentials such as college degrees, accredited

certificate programs, and accredited certifications. This

framework covers credentialing entities, recipients,

and organizations that would be interested in hiring

credentialed individuals, as well as organizations and

individuals/entities impacted by work performed by

credentialed individuals.

In October 2014, USGIF hosted a daylong forum as

a follow on to the Tampa workshop. Representatives

from across the broad spectrum of the geospatial

science and remote sensing communities convened

at USGIF headquarters in Herndon, Va., to discuss

lessons learned, best practices, and how USGIF’s

credentialing program might be integrated with existing

certification processes. USGIF intends to reconvene

this gathering each fall.

Two organizations crucial to these conversations

since the early days of USGIF’s EBK development are

ASPRS and GISCI. Earlier this year, USGIF signed a

memorandum of understanding with ASPRS and a

memorandum of agreement with GISCI to further inform

the Foundation’s development of its credentialing

program. ASPRS offers six certifications related to

photogrammetry and remote sensing while GISCI is

known for its GIS Professional (GISP) certification.

These information-sharing partnerships are also

intended to explore the possibility of reciprocity among

existing GEOINT credentials and those currently in



The GEOINT EBK represents the competencies,

knowledge, and skills relevant for geospatial

intelligence professionals regardless of the industry

sector or particular job of their employment. The EBK

is not, however, descriptive of all knowledge and skills

necessary for all jobs in geospatial intelligence. Rather,

the EBK is a starting point for understanding the

requirements within geospatial intelligence; particular

jobs, roles, or functions will likely require additional

competencies, knowledge, and skills.

In addition, the EBK will require ongoing maintenance.

Given the rapid pace of change in technology,

geospatial intelligence professionals—and the

knowledge and skills necessary for success in the

field—will likely change. USGIF intends to update the

GEOINT EBK on an annual basis, which is necessary

to ensure it continues to remain relevant for practicing






GIS&T Body of Knowledge:

DoL Geospatial Technology Competency Model:

NGA’s PL-1 Certification Blueprint

Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Fundamentals of Remote Sensing:

National Research Council, Future U.S. Workforce for Geospatial Intelligence:

Joint Publication 2-03, Geospatial Intelligence in Joint Operations:

Headquarters Department of the Army, Army Techniques Publication 3-34.80, Geospatial Engineering:

Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Geospatial Concept of Operations (GeoCONOPS):

GeoTECH Center, Meta-DACUM Job/Occupation Analysis, GIS & Remote Sensing:



2325 Dulles Corner Blvd. . Suite 450 . Herndon, VA 20171

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