Geographical information systems (GIS) are in tune with the current ethos of higher education because of their perceived vocational value. However, it is particularly difficult to teach GIS vocationally. This paper critiques the claim of vocationalism. The authors use an innovative method of evaluating a module that enlists its alumni to reflect on the career value of their GIS teaching. The survey was analysed to show how, to what extent and for which graduates GIS had been vocationally useful. The paper concludes that GIS is vocational but in variable and complex ways for different students.