Geographic Information Science (GIS) Specialist

Posted to IASSIST on: 2019-01-30

Employer: University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign

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The Geographic Information Science (GIS) Specialist plays a critical role in the development, growth, and stability of the University Library’s geospatial program. The GIS Specialist has interests in all facets of a geospatial program–hardware, software, data access, and user services–and the ability to support and move forward the Library’s geospatial endeavors in all of these areas. From a strong technical foundation, the GIS Specialist is adept at and enthusiastic about communicating technical information to non-technical users. GIS consultation and assistance is provided primarily in the Scholarly Commons but may also occur in the Map Library, other University Library spaces, and in academic department settings. The position is based in the Scholarly Commons ( and reports to the Head, Scholarly Commons. The GIS Specialist collaborates with Scholarly Commons personnel and campus partners, as well as personnel throughout the library, to meet the campus’s needs for geospatial services, collections, and infrastructure. Key collaborators in the library will be the Map Librarian, Library Information Technology staff, metadata librarians, Research Data Service, and Digitization Services.

Major Duties and Responsibilities:  The Library’s GIS Specialist, in coordination with the Data Discovery and Access Librarian and the Map Librarian, will promote the use of geospatial data and methodologies in instruction and research, consulting with and assisting a campus-wide spectrum of users with a broad variety of needs, interests, and abilities.



Instruction and Research

  • Develops and teaches instructional sessions  for credit courses and workshops on geospatial data and proprietary and open-source GIS and remote sensing applications
  • Refreshes and develops new instructional content based on research about new developments in GIS and user needs
  • Researches and incorporates into instruction and consultation recent developments and trends in GIS and related technologies
  • Leads one-on-one or small group research and application consultations
  • May serve as substitute instructor for academic department-offered courses as needed

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GIS Community and Professional Development

  • Serves as University Library’s liaison to UIUC campus GIS organizations and research groups
  • Contributes to grant-funded projects across campus with approval of supervisor
  • Acts as University Library’s liaison to the Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal Project
  • Actively participates in campus, statewide, and national GIS organizations and events


Consultation Services

  • Provides exceptional user experience by joining knowledge of geospatial data and software and an understanding of GIS applications with an analysis of user needs and abilities
  • Provides general and specialized assistance with digital geospatial data and use of GIS software
  • As an expert in geospatial data and technology, guides users engaged in a wide variety of tasks including geospatial data selection and analysis, manipulation, customization, and modeling
  • Advises researchers developing data management plans
  • Researches, writes, and maintains content-rich website and online guides describing GIS services and data offered through the Library and data and web-mapping applications offered elsewhere

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Data, Software, and Hardware Management

  • Improves the discoverability and accessibility of digital geospatial resources held by the Library (either created on campus or purchased) by following standards and best practices for creating web mapping services and metadata
  • Researches and evaluates geospatial data available for acquisition
  • Plans and implements long-term preservation of digital geospatial assets
  • Maintains collection of geospatial data and populates an ArcGIS server through data migration and upload
  • Develops and writes documentation of processes and procedures for geospatial data and server management
  • Collaborates with Library Information Technology staff to (i) define, obtain, and configure server space devoted to GIS software and geospatial data storage and access; and (ii) install and update GIS server software and maintain the Library’s GIS servers



  • Masters with a concentration in GIS; or a graduate-level or post-baccalaureate GIS certificate with two years GIS-related work experience including diverse GIS projects
  • Ability to explain technical topics to a non-technical audience
  • Customer service or teaching experience
  • Demonstrated commitment to working with a diverse clientele
  • Ability to work independently while balancing needs of diverse stakeholders
  • Demonstrated research and discursive writing skills
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate clearly in writing and in person
  • Demonstrated interpersonal communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple tasks and to work collaboratively and effectively in a team environment



  • ALA-accredited Masters of library/information science; or academic library experience
  • Evidence of increasing GIS-related responsibilities
  • Knowledge of GIS server needs and ability to work collaboratively to maintain and update server
  • Experience with ESRI products such as ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS for Server
  • Programming languages such as Python or PHP and an understanding of how they are used in conjunction with GIS tools
  • Experience with open-source GIS
  • Ability to evaluate and implement access tools for geospatial data
  • Interest in preservation of geospatial data
  • Experience with software licensing

Archived on: 2020-01-02