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Archive for June, 2009

The introduction of Occupation Specific Dispensation (OSD) by government for various occupations involved in the public service, including that of GIS,  will bring with it benefits to South Africa’s GIS profession. Once implemented OSD will put in place proper career pathing models for GIS professionals working in the public service and provide for dual career paths in terms of which GIS professionals and specialists can progress to levels where they earn salaries that are equal to or higher than that of managers without moving into management or supervisory posts.

The catch is that to benefit from OSD, public service GIS employees will be required to register with Plato, the professional statutory body for surveying and GIS. This is good news for what is a relatively new profession as compared to the more traditional professions of doctor and lawyer.

Increasing the numbers of registered GIS professionals in South Africa will help to raise the status of GIS within both the public and private sectors and help increase the influence of  GIS professionals within their own organisations. Only GIS professionals truly understand the tremendous capabilities of GIS and the power that it has to enhance planning and service delivery levels across all spheres of government. That the business world is catching on to the combined power of location and business intelligence testifies to the power of GIS in enabling efficient planning and implementation of projects.

Individuals already registered or involved in the process of registering with Plato, must be congratulating themselves on having made the effort to register when there was no reason compelling them to do so. Individuals who have not yet registered with Plato may find the idea of going through the registration process rather daunting, but the end result – becoming a registered GIS practitioner – can only bring benefit. Many GIS tenders and job advertisements now call for applicants to be professionally registered and being registered with Plato makes one eligible to apply for these opportunities instead of missing out.

GIS is a relatively new profession but individuals working in this arena have to make an effort to keep up with software developments and industry trends if they want to keep at the forefront of GIS. People who will need to further their studies to facilitate registration with Plato need to bear this is mind and adopt the mindset that improving their career prospects will enable them to develop career paths in a range of organisations.

GIS technology is advancing all the time and individuals resisting the opportunity to improve their skills must seriously ask themselves what they are doing in this profession. Technology waits for no man, GIS professionals included.

South Africa needs skilled workers and any initiative that encourages people working in the geographic information sciences to develop their skills and attain professional status needs to be embraced.

 

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