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COVID-19 Information for National Emergency Training Center Students

Note: effective July 28, 2021, all Federal employees, onsite contractors, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status or level of COVID transmission in your local area, are required to wear a mask inside all DHS workspaces and Federal buildings.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to monitor the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as it relates to COVID-19. To mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the CDC is encouraging organizations to promote social distancing, hold meetings via videoconferencing, reduce non-essential travel, and adjust or postpone events and gatherings. We also continue to evaluate the local and national situation and will provide regular updates.

Students will be notified in advance concerning the status of their on-campus course offering.

We thank you for your understanding, and we invite you to visit our extensive catalog of Independent Study Courses as well as classroom courses available by virtual delivery.

IS-103: Geospatial Information Systems Specialist

Course Date


Course Overview

This independent study course prepares students to successfully assume the role and responsibilities of a Geospatial Information System (GIS) Specialist during a disaster situation. As they complete this course, students will learn how to use their GIS skills to support other members of a Joint Field Office (JFO) disaster response and recovery team and successfully meet the responsibilities assigned to them. Students will also learn what types of products need to be produced and what procedures must be followed to ensure that products are produced correctly and in a timely manner.

Course Objectives:

  • Recognize the role a GIS Specialist performs while supporting a response and recovery operation
  • Identify likely sources of information and data within FEMA and the emergency management community
  • Identify the types of products commonly needed by FEMA programs and decision makers during an operation
  • Recognize best practices for establishing and maintaining data flow, products and timelines during an incident
  • Recognize how to appropriately handle and protect licensed, sensitive, or personal data
  • Recognize how to use Remote Sensing products

Primary Audience

This course is designed primarily for GIS Specialists newly employed with FEMA or other emergency response organizations. Students should already have a basic working knowledge of standard GIS software applications.


Prior to completing this course, it is highly recommended that the student have:

  • Opened the Geospatial Information System Specialist (GISP) task book, or
  • Held the equivalent position in the NRCC/RRCC (when developed)
Students must also have basic geospatial knowledge and skills, including:
  • Knowledge of how to make a map and other geospatial products
  • Knowledge of basic analytics
  • Knowledge of the basic fundamentals of cartography and geospatial terminology
  • The ability to use standard GIS software and equipment such as:
    • ESRI’s ArcGIS software, including Spatial Analyst
    • Adobe products
    • Google Earth
    • Large format printers
    • Microsoft Office suite
    • Handheld GPS devices
    • Modeling and decision support software such as HAZUS
    • Computers
Note: Students may come to FEMA with prior geospatial training and knowledge, or it may be developed through on-the-job training or courses.



Course Length:

2 hours
Take This Course
Take Final Exam
  • Test questions are scrambled to protect test integrity
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