Leading by Example

USGIF certification holders share their reasons for becoming certified—and the returns on investment they’ve seen since


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[et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]USGIF officially launched its Universal GEOINT Certification Program at the GEOINT 2016 Symposium. The program offers first-of-its-kind transparent and transportable professional designations that prove a deep and balanced understanding of the GEOINT tradecraft.

USGIF offers three Certified GEOINT Professional (CGP) certifications: GIS & Analysis Tools (CGP-G); Remote Sensing and Imagery Analysis (CGP-R); and Geospatial Data Management (CGP-D). Those who pass all three CGP exams are then eligible to apply for USGIF’s more rigorous Universal GEOINT Professional (UGP) designation.

As the program approaches its first anniversary, USGIF certification holders shared their various reasons for seeking certification as well as what they have gained from their new designations.

Laure Charleux, CGP-G; The University of Minnesota Duluth

Laure CharleuxCharleux, an assistant professor and leader of the GIS program at the University of Minnesota Duluth, took USGIF’s GIS & Analysis Tools exam with the goal to better advise her students. She participated in the exam during the pilot-testing phase hoping to give back to the profession and gain insight on how to best prepare students to seek certifications.

“The most important thing I hope I teach my students is that they will have to be lifelong learners,” Charleaux said, adding that she revamps her classes on a five-year cycle to adapt to the evolution of GIS technologies as well as the evolution of the background students bring with them.

“We are now getting students who have been exposed to online mapping in K-12, for instance, which was not the case five years ago,” she said. “I am telling my students that, most likely, what will be their favorite ‘tool’ in 10 years does not exist yet. They will need to keep up.”

Brandon Krumwiede, CGP-R; The Baldwin Group at NOAA

Brandon_KrumwiedeKrumwiede is a remote sensing specialist and Great Lakes regional geospatial coordinator with the Baldwin Group at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management. He views coastal intelligence as a subset of GEOINT, and combines GEOINT technologies with environmental data to help decision-makers along the coast strengthen their communities, economies, and ecosystems.

Krumwiede’s interest in remote sensing and GIS began when he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served at the Space and Missile Defense Command. After his military service, Krumwiede worked for the National Weather Service, was a procurement officer for East View Geospatial, and was a contractor with the World Bank doing research in India, Pakistan, and Nepal.

He sought GEOINT certification to see if he could demonstrate technical expertise. In his latest performance review, Krumwiede’s manager recognized the designation and expressed continued support for Krumwiede’s professional development.

“When I use the CGP-R designation in presentations, sometimes I am asked what it means, and I am happy to share,” Krumwiede said. “People take an interest, understand that I am committed to the profession, and want to learn more about geospatial intelligence and its application. I feel that it helps to build the community and at the same time strengthens trust in the work that I perform.”

David Grosso, CGP-D; Tesla Government

Grosso, a senior geospatial analyst for Tesla Government, builds interactive products on his company’s GIS portal and creates new databases to store vast amounts of geospatial data.

According to Grosso, becoming certified is much appreciated by his department. He’s earned a raise since achieving the certification, and his company has offered to pay for him to take the other two exams and pursue USGIF’s UGP designation.

Grosso relocated to Washington, D.C., about two years ago after earning his master’s degree in geography from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He got his foot in the industry conducting heads-up data conflation for another company before landing an analytics position with Tesla Government, where he was later promoted. Grosso advises those interested in the field of geospatial analytics to study Python, a programming language used to automate processes and build web tools.

“If I could tell a college student or someone who is new to the field to pick up a skill or focus on anything, I’d highly recommend learning as much Python as possible and thinking about how that can affect your workflow and make things go faster,” he said.

Christopher Stahl, UGP; U.S. Army TENCAP

Stahl is a physical scientist providing geospatial analytics and science and technology leadership to the national/tactical GEOINT mission held by the U.S. Army’s Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) program. Stahl has worked in the geospatial industry since 1999 and held varied positions in the academic, nonprofit, private, and government sectors.

Stahl pursued certification because he considers it an opportunity to lead by example within the GEOINT Community. He also appreciates that USGIF’s program validates and verifies his technical knowledge, education, and experience in addition to encouraging him to maintain his expertise.

Stahl’s directorate supported his pursuit of certification and congratulated him on his success. Since passing all three CGP exams and also becoming a UGP, he has connected with high-caliber professionals and had a platform to share why certification is of value to the GEOINT Community.

“Geospatial technology is ubiquitous and many organizations have varying levels of understanding as to what geospatial intelligence is,” Stahl said. “Not only has USGIF set a standard, but it cuts across organizations and industries by providing independent and unbiased verification of one’s geospatial knowledge.”

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