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Monday, 03 March 2014 10:17

Registration of Professional GIS Practitioners in South Africa

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If you want to do maps in South Africa in future, you are going to have to register as a practitioner!

Under the Geomatics Professional Act, Act No. 19 of 2013, the GIS profession is becoming like medicine, accounting, engineering, surveying or law. If you want to practice as a GIS professional in South Africa, you will have to get an appropriate academic qualification, register with the South African Council for Professional and Technical Surveyors -- PLATO and complete a training period under a mentor. Once admitted, you will have to earn enough Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points every year to stay registered. Sure, anyone can download a free GIS software packages and start doing GIS for themselves, but only registered practititoners will be allowed to bid for projects where their GIS matters and for sure, the government won't be hiring non-registered practitioners doing GIS on any project teams.

Fortunately, as GIS (or GISc) is a new field and many of us have entered into it as it has grown over the years. So PLATO are offereing a shortcut for us oldies: the 'Grandfather Clause'. It is more like a 'Grandfather Window', which opens to allow those of us with enough experience and practice to bypass some of the usual entry requirements. But the window is closing, so if we want to be on board, we must have applied before the 30 April 2014. There is also help on hand from GISSA, the voluntary GISc professional association, who will assist members (yes, you really should join them!). GISSA won't register you but they will help where they can and they organise lots of events where you can pick up the vital CPD points (www.gissa.org.za).

The advice I've received is: take this seriously! Based on this, then I'd say: start filling those forms ASAP and contact your local provincial branch of GISSA...

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