In 1996 NCGIA initiated an NSF Advanced Technological Education Program to develop a Core Curriculum for Technical Programs (CCTP). It was intended as a curriculum-building resource of information related to the needs of GIS education in community and technical colleges. The resource units in this curriculum offer a complementary perspective to the NCGIA Core Curriculum in GIS (1990) and the Core Curriculum in GIScience (1997‒2000).
CCTP focused on technician training, providing course content from the perspective of what practitioners need to be able to do and resources for GIS instructors in technical programs. The CCTP project began with a one-week working session in summer 1996 at which fourteen GIS instructors and other experts developed a framework for the CCTP.