GIS Technician Interview Questions and Answers

Updated on: June 10, 2019

When appearing in an interview that tests your technical strengths, you may feel a bit uneasy even if you know all that you are supposed to.

Technical interviews are overwhelming because many questions may be asked that you have only book knowledge of; and since most of us do not remember what we read in course books during college, we can feel a little intimidated.


One does not have to feel intimidated though. If you have earned a college degree in a particular discipline and are preparing yourself for an interview, research what questions you may be asked and read up on them.

Since you have already grasped the concepts in college, reading them once more will help you recall them, and you will be prepared for the toughest of questions.

To make this more understandable, let us take the example of a GIS technician preparing for an interview.

GIS is a complicated field, and an interview for a GIS Technician position means many technical questions thrown your way. Let us see what questions (and their answers) you might be asked during an interview for this position.

See also: GIS Technician Resume


GIS Technician Interview Questions and Answers

What is GIS, and why did you take it up as a career?

GIS is a system that captures, analyses, manages, and presents specific geographical data. It is much involved in GIS systems such as mapping software, surveying particular land areas, some aerial photography, and photogrammetry.

My interest in GIS arose when I was on a helicopter ride ten years ago. Looking down at land topology and photographing from above was such a high that I decided that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. GIS seemed like the perfect avenue at that time as some part of it allows me to do this.

What is the primary work of a GIS technician?

A GIS technician works closely with end users to identify GIS data requirements and handle technical issues. It is also the job of a GIS technician to manage data maintenance and manipulation and handle extraction activities along with ensuring preparation, planning and updating a variety of maps and drawings to be part of a GIS database.

Name the two data structures that can hold spatial data.

The two data structures that can hold spatial data include raster and vector.

What is the difference between geo-coding and geo-referencing?

Geo-coding is when you associate a place name or an address with map coordinates. Geo-referencing is the process of associating plain digital images taken from a satellite or a plane with map coordinates so that they can be overlaid on street maps.

What are the top 5 skills a GIS technician must have?

Skills in spatial data handling, algorithms, data conversion, model building, and database programming.

Differentiate between GIS commands and tools?

Commands do not require interaction with the map; they just rely on the surface. Tools, on the other hand, require interaction with the map canvas.

Which applications of the Arc GIS desktop are you familiar with?

I am familiar with Arc Map, Arc catalog, and Arc toolbox.

While using Arc catalog, do you rely on the default templates or usually go for a customized one?

Well, it depends on the project. Some of the default templates are good and safe to use. I make a choice based on project caliber.

What challenges did you face at your previous job, and how did you overcome those?

When I first joined, I was given independent, small projects I went through those effortlessly. After a year of hiring, I was assigned my first and huge team project.

It was my first experience in a team, and I realized the working speed of my team members was not in synchronization with mine. I went too far ahead and had to redo things often subject to changes required after they had done their share.

I resolved the problem by slowing down a bit, expediting the team members a bit and above all, by open communication regarding future element plans. After that, I have done several team projects without any issues and have improved my communication skills to a great extent.

What are the critical factors in determining the period for record retention?

Multiple: Nature of data, government rules, and policies regarding data retention and data privacy factors. At my previous company, they had a record retention schedule which I followed to book to avoid any loss of data.

Define remote sensing?

Remote sensing refers to detection and classification of objects on or in the earth without physical contact, generally attained through aerial sensors.

What is the role of GPS in GIS?

Competent decisions can only be rendered by reliable data and through GIS is a fantastic data management tool, using it with GPS helps in validating the data analysis and results.

What were your key responsibilities at the previous job?

In the capacity of a junior GIS technician, I was responsible for: gathering, analyzing and organizing spatial data, consolidating data from scattered sources, updating and maintaining user database and creating maps and graphs utilizing various GIS software.

What irritates you about other people?

I am generally a natural going person, and other people’s traits seldom bother me. However, I do get a bit irritated when somebody is making a mistake and refusing to accept/ rectify it despite guidance.


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