Body Of Knowledge

Geographic Information System (GIS) was born in 1960's with the work of Roger Tomlinson, known as the Father of GIS. Since then, GIS has emerged as a discipline and the acronym "GIS" is also used for Geographic Information Science to refer to the academic discipline.

UCGIS GIS&T Body of Knowledge First Edition
UCGIS GIS&T Body of Knowledge Second Edition

In the United States, national-level efforts on developing university curriculum in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T) started in 1980's with the National Science Foundation funded GIS Core Curriculum from the National Center for Geographic Information And Analysis. Five other national-level geospatial curriculum initiatives took place before the release of the first edition of GIS&T Body of Knowledge (BoK) from the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) (DiBiase et al. 2006).

The first edition of GIS&T BoK is the first attempt of an comprehensive inventory of GIS&T knowledge domain as part of the effort to reform undergraduate curriculum in GIS&T (DiBiase et al. 2006). It was warmly received and contributed to the US Department of Labor Geospatial Technology Competency Model, the US Geospatial Intelliegnce Foundation GEOINT (Geospatial Intelligence) Essential Body of Knowledge, the development of the Advanced Placement course in GIS&T and the GISP Certification in the GIS Certification Institute. The first edition of the BoK is also used by higher education institutions for GIS&T curriculum planning and revision (Wilson & Ahlqvist. 2016). The impact of the BoK goes beyond the United States, e.g. the European Union Geographic Information: Need to Know (GI-N2K) project.

In 2013, UCGIS initiated the second edition of the BoK to address the growth in the field since the release of the first edition and the challenges in updating and using the BoK as a book. The second edition is on line and is updated on a continual basis with contents archived quarterly. 


DiBiase, et al, (2006). Geographic Information Science and Technology Body of Knowledge, First Edition. Washington, D.C. Association of American Geographers.

Wilson & Ahlqvist. (2016.  October 26). All You Need to Know about the New GIS&T Body of Knowledge [Webinar]. In Directions Magazine Geospatial Webinars. Retrieved from