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Satnews Daily
November 4th, 2019

The Essentials, a First ... USGIF's Pilot Entry-Level Geospatial Intelligence Certification 


To ensure that recent graduates and young professionals in the GEOINT field demonstrate their knowledge across the foundational competencies outlined in USGIF’s GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge (EBK) the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) has added an entry-level geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) certification, “The Essentials”, to its suite of professional designations.  “The Essentials” exam provides recent graduates and young professionals the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge across foundational GEOINT competencies.


Developed in 2009, the USGIF Young Professionals Group (YPG) serves to unite junior GEOINT professionals within the
Defense and Intelligence communities.

USGIF piloted The Essentials exam in partnership with 10 of its accredited college and university programs. Of the 90 students who participated in the pilot exam, 57 passed, yielding a promising success rate of 63 percent.  The pilot exam was a success thanks largely in part to the engagement of USGIF-accredited universities.

Dr. Camelia Kantor, USGIF’s Vice President of Academic Affairs said that this is a first but strong iteration of an entry-level exam that did not exist for the community. In time, with more recent graduates and young professionals taking the test, they will be able to adjust the exam to even better reflect a broader GEOINT base. USGIF is committed to updating the exam to ensure it is a good representation of foundational knowledge and an accurate measure of individual knowledge attainment. 

Dr. Narcisa Pricope, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of North Carolina Wilmington added that they were delighted to coordinate this effort on the UNCW campus and to see the excitement with which students took advantage of the opportunity, knowing they would thus have an independent assessment of their GEOINT skills. 

Participating students are already benefiting as well as UNCW student Kerry Mapes stated that the Essentials certification helps them convey the depth of their foundational knowledge in remote sensing and geographic information systems as well as their ability to think critically and analytically about problems in both a spatial and practical context. Having this certification has broadened the range of jobs that are available to them and is a distinguishing feature they can list on their resume and business card.

USGIF is offering two opportunities to take The Essentials exam at its Trajectory Event Center in Herndon, Virginia, at a 25 percent discount. Testing will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. November 14 and 21. To sign up, contact credential@usgif.org by November 6.

Additionally, interested colleges and universities will benefit from discounts if hosting The Essentials exam on their campus or referring students to designated testing centers.

USGIF is a nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and developing a stronger GEOINT Community among government, industry, academia, professional organizations, and individuals who develop and apply GEOINT to address global security challenges.