S-341, GIS Specialist for Incident Management

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Course Description

The GIS Specialist course is designed to meet the training needs of a Geographic Information Systems Specialist (GISS) to manage the information needs of all hazard incidents managed with the Incident Command System (ICS). The course combines distance learning, lecture, discussion, individual exercises, and group exercises. The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is one of the most efficient methods for documenting, analyzing, and managing information regarding the location of facilities, conditions, and environments affected by wildland fire, storms, floods, earthquakes, and other incidents.

Due to the technical nature of this course the materials are updated annually by the Geospatial Training Unit (GTU) of the Geospatial Subcommittee of NWCG. Course coordinators or lead instructors must contact the GTU Chair or S-341 Course Manager to obtain course materials (https://www.nwcg.gov/committees/geospatial-training-unit/roster). For additional information and locations of upcoming courses, refer to S-341 link at https://www.nwcg.gov/committees/geospatialtraining-unit/resources.

During the course students will:

  • Describe the pre-season and pre-incident duties of the GIS Specialist and identify the equipment and data needs required for incident support.
  • Describe the dispatch and mobilization process and the procedures for incident check-in.
  • Demonstrate how to set up the GIS Specialist work area and organization to meet the needs of the Incident Management Team.
  • Describe the incident planning cycle and the associated timeframes and product deadlines critical to GIS Specialist incident support.
  • Collect data, identify and use maps, orthoimagery, graphics, and other information to produce the required incident maps.
  • Discuss some examples of the more complex data analysis and manipulation commonly requested of a GIS Specialist.
  • Utilize the established file structure and naming conventions to store, archive, and document all GIS Specialist incident activities.

Course Objective:

Upon completing the course, students will have the knowledge and skills to respond to fire and all hazard incidents and perform the minimum duties of a GIS Specialist trainee. This includes: 

  • Identify the basic supplies and data they will need on the incident.
  • Create the basic maps required from the GIS Specialist on an incident within established timeframes.
  • Establish and utilize a file structure, naming convention, and documentation to manage and archive incident data.

Course Delivery

Information not available at this time.

Course Components

Course ComponentCourse Time
Pre-course work3-6
Pre-selection assessment5-8
Online training10-12
Instructor-led training24
Total Hours42-50

Course Session Offerings

Nationally advertised course sessions can be found by searching for S-341 on the National Wildland Fire Training website. Contact your local Training Officer or Geographic Area Training Representative for more information about local course sessions.

Course Required For:


Course Recommended For:

Specialists and technicians actively using GIS in a land or resource management setting that are interested in utilizing those skills in wildland fire and all hazard incident management. Candidates from all agencies involved in wildland fire and all hazard incident management are encouraged to apply.

NOTE: This course is a wildland fire course for individuals already proficient in GIS. It is not a course for individuals wanting to learn GIS.

Prerequisite Qualifications and Training

  • Working knowledge of the current version of ArcGIS. The course is designed for those with considerable experience working with ArcGIS. This is NOT a class on how to use ArcGIS.
  • Adept at working within the directory structures in Windows and in the use of Windows Explorer file management and folder structures.
  • Availability for dispatch to an incident as a GIS Specialist trainee within the next year. Availability includes supervisory approval and a personal commitment to support at least one incident.

Associated Position Task Books

Information not available at this time.

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