Geospatial Analyst

Geospatial analysis is a growing field of jobs analyzing geographic data for a wide variety of employers and sectors. The role includes analysis of data, design of databases and use of this data in other GIS applications

The work of a geospatial analyst varies greatly depending on which sector you are working in. Industries employing geospatial analysts include the military, retail, real estate, environment, urban planning and government.

Typical work activities

  • Collect data from various sources to populate geographical databases. Sources include GPS systems and raw data from satellites.
  • Performing data analysis
  • Presenting data through electronic and 3D imaging methods
  • Reading satellite images and incorporating the information they show into databases
  • Geocoding – entering precise locations into a single database to create maps
  • Designing, programming or modelling GIS procedures
  • Testing GIS models
  • Meeting with clients to determine technical specifications
  • Conducting feasibility and cost assessments for projects

This role tends to involve researching, assessing and processing digital geographic images and data. This compiled data can then be used in future projects and in constructing models and maps.

Geospatial Developer

As the title would suggest, a GIS Developer (or a GIS Specialist) works as a software developer to help design and develop GIS programming applications and tools. They also work to maintain GIS software programs in accordance with the needs of the organizations and/or clients.

GIS or a Geographic Information System refers to a framework that handles gathering, managing, and analyzing data. With geography as the basis of the framework, GIS makes use of several types of data.

GIS makes use of maps and 3D scenes to organize layers of data via spatial analysis.

Through this, GIS mapping is able to offer deeper insight into data sets that we normally may not be able to perceive. This could include patterns, situations, relationships, links, etc; allowing us to make better-informed decisions when interpreting data.

GIS software is used in nearly every industry by hundreds of thousands of organizations and businesses. GIS is used to generate maps that can be used to communicate, analyze, share information, and help solve complex problems around the world.

GIS Developers are generally responsible for the following:

Programming: GIS developers are tasked with using a variety of programming languages such as Python, SQL, C++, and/or Java to write code and automate basic GIS processes. They may also use these programming tools for web development and design, software development, and software applications.

Spatial Analysis: GIS Developers are also tasked with manipulating, extracting, locating and analyzing geographic data. This makes them responsible for GIS Analysis, GIS Modeling, Data Integration & Conversion, Geocoding, and Geomatics.

Database Management: Storing data and/or information from structured geographic data sets into relational database management systems.

Day to day tasks of a GIS Developer:

  • Develop GIS mapping applications and geoprocessing tools
  • Understand client needs and design GIS applications in accordance
  • Analyze end-user issues and provide solutions.
  • Create demos and guides to explain GIS application use to customers
  • Provide maintenance and support of GIS applications and mapping systems
  • Assist in quality assurance checks on GIS systems and recommend updates or new techniques when applicable

GIS Developers generally boast a wide range of skills – both technical and soft skills alike.

In terms of technical skills, GIS developers require knowledge of Spatial Data and Algorithms. They must also be diligent and have a keen sense of details since a lot of their day to day activities require dealing with data entry and conversion.

Programming skills are also crucial as well as a sound knowledge of data analysis programs and tools.

Skills of a GIS Developer:

  • Data entry, conversion, and maintenance
  • Metadata creation and editing
  • GIS Analysis and workflow
  • Model Building
  • Cartography and Graphic Design
  • Knowledge of other tools such as ASP.NET, MVC, ArcGIS, Oracle databases, SQL, and GIS database design

Soft Skills:

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Team player
  • Project management skills