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SOC Code: 19-3092.00

Study the nature and use of areas of the Earth's surface, relating and interpreting interactions of physical and cultural phenomena. Conduct research on physical aspects of a region, including land forms, climates, soils, plants, and animals, and conduct research on the spatial implications of human activities within a given area, including social characteristics, economic activities, and political organization, as well as researching interdependence between regions at scales ranging from local to global.

Sample of reported job titles: Earth Observations Chief Scientist (NASA), Environmental Affairs Corporate Director, Geographic Information Systems Analyst (GIS Analyst), Geographic Information Systems Program Director (GIS Program Director), GIS Geographer (Geographic Information Systems Geographer), GIS Physical Scientist (Geographic Information Systems Physical Scientist), Research Coordinator, Scientist, Supervisory Geographer


  • Create and modify maps, graphs, or diagrams, using geographical information software and related equipment, and principles of cartography, such as coordinate systems, longitude, latitude, elevation, topography, and map scales.
  • Analyze geographic distributions of physical and cultural phenomena on local, regional, continental, or global scales.
  • Write and present reports of research findings.
  • Gather and compile geographic data from sources including censuses, field observations, satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and existing maps.
  • Teach geography.
  • Study the economic, political, and cultural characteristics of a specific region's population.
  • Collect data on physical characteristics of specified areas, such as geological formations, climates, and vegetation, using surveying or meteorological equipment.
  • Locate and obtain existing geographic information databases.
  • Conduct field work at outdoor sites.
  • Provide geographical information systems support to the private and public sectors.
  • Develop, operate, and maintain geographical information computer systems, including hardware, software, plotters, digitizers, printers, and video cameras.
  • Provide consulting services in fields such as resource development and management, business location and market area analysis, environmental hazards, regional cultural history, and urban social planning.

Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software - Groundwater Vistas; MODPATH; SAS ; The MathWorks MATLAB (see all 11 examples)
  • Computer aided design CAD software - Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Data base user interface and query software - Scientific Software Group RiverMorph
  • Graphics or photo imaging software - Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop ; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite; Golden Software Grapher; Lemkesoft GraphicConverter (see all 5 examples)
  • Internet browser software - Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Map creation software - ESRI ArcView; ITT Visual Information Solutions ENVI; MapInfo MapMarker; Martin D Adamiker's TruFlite (see all 13 examples)
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Web page creation and editing software - Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • All terrain vehicles tracked or wheeled - All terrain vehicles ATV; Four wheel drive 4WD vehicles
  • Analytical balances - Laboratory analytical balances
  • Anemometers - Sonic anemometers; Wind direction sensors
  • Benchtop centrifuges - High-speed centrifuges
  • Comparators - Optical comparators
  • Conductivity meters
  • Darkfield microscopes - Phase contrast microscopes
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital camcorders or video cameras - Digital video cameras
  • Digital cameras
  • Dissolved oxygen meters
  • Dropping pipettes - Laboratory dropping pipettes
  • Drying cabinets or ovens - Drying ovens
  • Electromagnetic field meters - Electromagnetic current meters
  • Electromagnetic geophysical instruments - Demagnetizing equipment
  • Flow sensors - Flow meters
  • Forestry increment borers - Tree increment borers
  • Forestry saws - Crosscut saws
  • Fume hoods or cupboards - Fume hoods; Portable fume hoods
  • General purpose refrigerators or refrigerator freezers - Sample storage refrigerators
  • Global positioning system GPS receiver - Global positioning system GPS receivers
  • Hand held camcorders or video cameras - Video cameras
  • Heat tracing equipment - Infrared IR thermometers
  • Height gauges - Abney levels; Survey altimeters
  • Hydrometers
  • Hygrometers - Humidity sensors
  • Inductively coupled plasma ICP spectrometers - Atomic emission spectroscopes
  • Ion chromatographs
  • Ion exchange apparatus - Deionizers
  • Laboratory balances - Electronic precision balances
  • Laboratory box furnaces - Gas-mixing furnaces; High temperature laboratory box furnaces; Muffle furnaces
  • Laboratory crushers or pulverizers - Laboratory sample splitters
  • Laboratory mechanical convection ovens - Gravity convection ovens
  • Laboratory mixers - Soil mixers
  • Laboratory sifting equipment - Sieve shakers; Sonic sifters
  • Land drilling rigs - Truck-mounted drilling rigs
  • Laser printers - Large format printers
  • Levels - Automatic levels; Laser levels
  • Magnetometer geophysical instruments - Spinner magnetometers
  • Moisture meters - Soil moisture meters
  • Notebook computers - Laptop computers
  • Open stream current meters - Water current meters
  • Particle size measuring apparatus - Laser particle sizers
  • Permeability or porosity estimation apparatus - Pressure plate apparatus
  • Personal computers
  • Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers - Personal digital assistants PDA
  • pH meters - pH analyzers
  • Plotter printers - Plotters
  • Pneumatic rock drills - Powered rock-coring drills
  • Polarizing microscopes - Petrographic microscopes
  • Portable data input terminals - Handheld data loggers; Portable data collectors
  • Portable seismic apparatus - Seismic stations
  • Power saws - Chain saws
  • Precipitation or evaporation recorders - Lysimeters
  • Pressure indicators - Submersible pressure sensors
  • Radarbased surveillance systems - Ground penetrating radar GPR
  • Recreational motorboats - Research motorboats
  • Rock cutters - Rock saws
  • Salinity meter - Salinity meters
  • Scanners - Digitizers; Flatbed scanners
  • Scanning electron microscopes - Scanning electron microscopes SEM
  • Soil core sampling apparatus - Grab samplers; Russian corers; Sediment coring equipment; Soil samplers (see all 8 examples)
  • Soil testing kits - Compaction meters
  • Solar radiation surface observing apparatus - Photosynthetically active radiation PAR meters
  • Stereo or dissecting light microscopes - Stereo light microscopes; Stereo zoom microscopes; Stereographic microscopes
  • Tablet computers
  • Temperature transmitters - Temperature sensors
  • Test sieves - Ultrasonic sieving systems
  • Theodolites - Total stations
  • Transmission electron microscopes - Cathodoluminescence microscopes
  • Turbidimeters - Turbidity probes
  • Video attachments for microscopes - Video microscopes
  • Videoscopes - Digital imaging microscopes
  • Voltage or current meters - Mechanical current meters
  • Water samplers - Sediment samplers; Sediment traps; Total dissolved solids TDS meters
  • Weather stations - Portable weather stations
  • X ray diffraction equipment - X ray diffractometers


  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.


  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.


  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Number Facility - The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.


  • Interest code: IRA
    • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Work Context

  • Electronic Mail - 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 74% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 91% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 57% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 70% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 50% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Telephone - 57% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 39% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 70% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 43% responded “Very important.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 39% responded “Very important.”
  • Public Speaking - 43% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 30% responded “Every day.”
  • Letters and Memos - 39% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 57% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 35% responded “Moderate results.”
  • Level of Competition - 57% responded “Moderately competitive.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 50% responded “Important.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
43%Bachelor's degree
35%Master's degree
22%Doctoral degree

Work Styles

  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Work Values

  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $36.95 hourly, $76,860 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 2,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Average (5% to 9%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 200

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