GIS Side Hustle Ideas for Civil Engineers

Geographic Information System (GIS) experts can earn a handsome amount of money by offering their services to clients on online freelance marketplaces or websites. If you are skilled in GIS-related jobs, you can adopt it as a side hustle and earn extra income on top of your primary job. In this article, we will introduce you to some of the best GIS SIDE HUSTLE ideas and also explain the skills, software, and attitude you need to succeed in this side hustle. Let’s get started.

The freelance GIS marketplace is a booming industry and it’s set to grow even more in the near future. In 2016, $2 billion was spent by organizations on freelance GIS contractors. There are three main ways that you can approach GIS freelancing, with a full-time salaried position, as a contractor, or through contract-to-hire. 

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) masters usually perform the following activities:

  • Develop and design databases and systems to store geospatial data and retrieve data from databases.
  • Create maps for an organization’s internal use and for launching mobile and web applications
  • Use mapping software to analyze geospatial (spatial and non-spatial information) data stored on databases, 
  • Design digital maps using the data stored on the database
  • Perform spatial analysis, geospatial modeling
  • Review GIS data to ensure the accuracy of the model.

GIS experts are hired by companies and government organizations for performing a variety of GIS-related tasks. The common employers that hire GIS specialists include home security agencies, military, city/urban planning organizations, firefighting departments, and large and small companies offering geospatial and GIS services. GIS has wide-ranging applications in different industries, such as gaming, autonomous driving applications, data science, data analysis, and visualization. 

Some companies also hire GIS talent on freelance marketplaces on a project or retainer ship basis, which provides exciting opportunities for freelancers who have geospatial modeling, spatial analysis, and other GIS-related skills. Even if you already have a full-time job or are self-employed but want to earn additional money using your GIS skills, you can take up freelance projects available on popular freelance websites. 

GIS Side Hustle Ideas for Civil Engineers

Civil engineers are in a position to make some extra cash by using their GIS skills as freelancers. They can use these skills to help with mapping, data analysis, and other tasks. Freelancing is an increasingly popular occupation for civil engineers.

A survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 38% of engineering graduates were employed as freelancers in 2016. This number is expected to grow each year as more and more people become freelance engineers.

Freelancing offers a lot of benefits for civil engineers who are looking for work-life balance or who have been laid off from their jobs. Freelancing gives them the flexibility they need to take care of family or go on vacation without having to worry about getting fired for taking time off work.

Here are some of the services related to GIS that you can offer as a freelancer on online marketplaces.

1. Maps for Park or Campgrounds

Using your GIS and Adobe Illustrator skills, you can offer your services for creating maps for parks or campgrounds. These kinds of projects usually involve sketching maps from scratch, improving the existing ones, and labeling them if required by the client.

GIS Side Hustle Park Map

You should offer your customers high-resolution, printable images of the maps so that they don’t face any difficulty printing them. On average, you can expect to earn around $100 for each project/gig

2. Interactive Maps for Websites

Many website owners want to hire freelancers for customizing their websites. Having interactive maps is one of the many customized features that many businesses like to have on their websites.

The gig involves using tools such as Google Maps API and Programming languages such as Javascript to transform data or simple maps into interactive charts and maps that can be uploaded to any CMS website. On average, you can earn up to $250 per project – and even more depending on the complexity of the project. 

3. Print on Demand – Tshirt, Wall decors, Towels, Mugs

Print-on-demand gig involves creating customized logos, designs, sketches, images, proverbs, and other printable material on t-shirts and merchandise. Some entrepreneurs want to sell merchandise with trending and attractive designs on them, but they don’t have designing skills.

That’s where your graphics designing skills from GIS can come into play and earn you money. You can earn around $25 to $50 per design, but you can charge even more if a customer wants something complex that requires a lot of time.  

4. Fantasy maps

GIS Side hustle fantasy map

Creating fantasy maps should not be a big deal for GIS specialists. Creators of video games, fantasy novels, and dark art lovers are in need of fantasy maps and other similar services. You can expect to earn around $50 for a simple project to around $1000 if the project is complex and involves more details. 

5. Brochures for Airbnb, Restaurants or Events

If you are into GIS, you must be adept at using Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and other graphic designing software.

You can bring your graphic designing skills to work and design appealing brochures for Airbnb, and maps for restaurants, and events. You can sell each design between the range of $50 and $100, depending on the specific requirements of the client. 

6. Property lot markings for real estates

This gig involves marking lines on maps to demarcate a property, and many businesses like to outsource these kinds of tasks to freelancers on different online marketplaces.

The task is quite simple for someone with GIS expertise. You can earn around $20 for a simple real estate lot marking, and for the more complex ones, you can charge upwards of $250. 

7. Engineering drawings 

Technical and engineering drawings are in great demand on freelancing platforms. The gig is about creating drawings that illustrate complex mechanical and engineering processes in a simple way.

The drawings usually demonstrate the step-by-step process of mechanical activity and may often use 3D drawings as well. There are highly technical projects that pay really well such as creating maps and databases for urban planning applications, 3D color enhanced terrain maps, watershed analysis relief maps, environmental & impact studies maps, hydrology modeling & terrain analysis, disaster assessment & mapping.  These technical gigs can earn you a lot higher, ranging from $1,000 for a simpler project to all the way up to $10,000 for complex and time-consuming projects.


Which Websites offers GIS Side Hustle Freelance Projects?

Turned on Imac Beside Macbook on Table

Here are some of the top freelance websites on which you can find or get GIS-related projects:

1. Fiverr

Fiverr is one of the most popular freelance platforms among freelancers. The site is ranked 120 globally on Alexa, which shows that it attracts a huge amount of traffic from all over the world. Fiverr allows sellers to list their services and set their own prices for gigs on the platform. Buyers can search for their desired services, and the platform returns a list of the most suitable services offered by sellers, based on the searched term. If you want to sell your GIS-related services, Fiverr can be a good option. 

2. Upwork

Upwork is another popular freelance marketplace among freelancers and gig buyers. Buyers post their projects on the platform, while sellers bid on these projects. To successfully win a project, you need to bid only on those projects that you find interesting and are able to complete as per the details mentioned in the project. You can find hundreds of GIS-related projects posted every hour on Upwork. 

3. People Per Hour

People Per Hour works like Fiverr as you have to list your services on the platform and set your own prices for the services you provide. Buyers who need different gigs visit the platform and contact sellers for completing their projects. 

4. Freelancer is another popular freelance platform that you can consider to win GIS-related jobs. The website works similar to Upwork as you have to bid and submit a proposal to the jobs posted on the website. 


Can you Make Money with GIS? 

Yes, there are plenty of GIS-related freelance projects that you can take up to earn money. Depending on the type and complexity of the project, you can earn between $50 and $100 on average per project. You can earn more on projects of customized and complex nature. 

Is GIS on High Demand?

As per the website, about 100 openings for geographers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. If the number seems low to you, don’t worry because there are plenty of opportunities available on freelance websites, such as Fiverr, Upwork, and

What Can I do with GIS skills? 

You can use your GIS skills to get a full-time job at various government organizations and companies. Alternatively, you can offer your services on freelance websites where you can earn a decent amount of money by completing individual projects.

Which Companies need GIS? 

There are hundreds of companies that need GIS specialists. The most prominent ones include Uber, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, etc.

GIS Side Hustle Takeaways

GIS is an excellent skill that can make you money by either working as a full-time employee or working as a freelancer taking on different projects. The skill is in high demand on freelance platforms, and you can expect to make around $100  on average on each project. Apart from the monthly subscription to software that you might use, you don’t have to incur any costs to start your GIS gigs. By putting up a little effort, you can learn GIS and earn money from it as your side hustle. 

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