USGIF awards first Universal GEOINT Professional certifications
Lt. Col. Michael Wood, a U.S. Army Geospatial Engineer Officer, is one of the first GEOINT professionals to achieve USGIF’s Universal GEOINT Professional (UGP) certification, the highest designation in the Foundation’s burgeoning Universal GEOINT Certification Program.
“Certifications help government, industry, and academic institutions recognize the growing professional geospatial team and its part within the STEM community,” said Wood, who is with the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence’s GEOINT team at the Pentagon. “When I found out about USGIF’s certification program, I was excited to see how the Foundation was developing it and looked forward to seeing if I could pass all of the exams.”
To become a UGP, Wood passed all three USGIF exams—GIS and Analysis Tools, Remote Sensing and Imagery Analysis, and Geospatial Data Management—during the program’s pilot testing phase to earn the corresponding certifications. Candidates who hold all three USGIF certifications are then eligible to apply for the overarching UGP designation. USGIF announced its first UGP recipients in May at GEOINT 2016.
Wood has a wide range of military geospatial and topographic skills. He led the Army’s 5th Geospatial Planning Cell, the 320th Topographic Company, and the 60th Planning and Control Cell. He was also a team leader and instructor at the National Geospatial-Intelligence College for synthetic aperture radar, and in 2005 was the Iraq theater geospatial engineer officer. Wood holds two master’s degrees, one in defense geographic information from the Royal School of Military Survey of Cranfield University in the U.K., and a master’s degree in military art and science in strategic intelligence from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, where his thesis focused on mapping human geography.
“It feels awesome to be a part of this certification and the continued professionalization of the growing GEOINT field,” said Wood, adding he would recommend the program to others in the GEOINT Community.
“The [USGIF] tests and questions were very thought-provoking and helped me understand where some of my skills and knowledge could be improved,” Wood said. “I expect that in the future, the USGIF certifications will be used by various organizations as part of the job application process in order to quickly identify those individuals—both leaders and technicians—who have specific skills sets for the growing geospatial job market.”
Wood said his future goals include pursuing his Ph.D. and continuing to explore, map, and meet more great people doing meaningful work in the GEOINT Community.
Learn more about USGIF’s Universal GEOINT Certification Program.
USGIF has awarded more than $1.6M in scholarships since launching the program in 2004. This year's winners represent a diverse and multi-talented group who demonstrate a shared desire to impact change through the use of geospatial intelligence tradecraft.
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