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IS-103: Geospatial Information Systems Specialist (GISS)

Course Date


Course Overview

This course prepares students to successfully assume the role and responsibilities of a Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Specialist (GISS) 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 how a GIS Specialist (GISS) supports a response and recovery operation.
  • Identify sources of information and data within FEMA and the emergency management community
  • List the types of products commonly produced by the GIS Unit during an incident
  • Identify best practices for establishing and maintaining data flow, creating products, and meeting timelines during an incident
  • Identify 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.


Required Prerequisites:
Participants must 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: Participants may come to FEMA with prior geospatial training and knowledge, or it may be developed through on-the-job training or courses.

Recommended Prerequisites:

Prior to completing this course, it is highly recommended that the participant have opened the GISP Task Book, or held the equivalent position in the National Response Coordination Center/Regional Response Coordination Center (when developed).



Course Length:

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