Preparing students for employment in gis
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Preparing students for employment in GIS. Krystyna Brown University of the West of England, Bristol Department of Geography and Environmental Management GEES Subject Centre Summer Residential Conference 2 – 3 July 2008 , George Hotel, Edinburgh. Defining GIS. With GIS

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Preparing students for employment in GIS

Krystyna Brown

University of the West of England,

Bristol

Department of Geography and Environmental Management

GEES Subject Centre Summer Residential Conference 2 – 3 July 2008 ,

George Hotel, Edinburgh


Defining GIS

  • With GIS

  • it is possible to map, model, query, and analyse large quantities of data all held together within a single database.

  • Foote K. and Lynch M., (2000) The Geographer's Craft Project, Department of Geography, The University of Colorado at Boulder. http://www.colorado.edu/geography/gcraft/notes/intro/intro_f.html


My interests in GIS and employability

  • Jobs and GIS

  • Questionnaire to former students

  • 21% had found a job - some element of Geographic Information.

  • What had enhanced their chances?


Definitions

  • GIS - tool box - Set of tools for storing, retrieving, transforming and displaying spatial and attribute data.

  • GIS - information system - organising and working with spatial and non-spatial data . GIS is a simplification (model) of the real world.

  • GIS in decision-making - Spatial and non-spatial data combined in a GIS to assist in decision-making.

  • GIScience – seeking spatial patterns of geographical phenomena – spatial intelligence (Sui, 1995)


Integrating technology

  • GIS - an integrating technology

    • draws upon and extends techniques that geographers have traditionally used to analyse natural and social systems

  • Foote K.E and Lynch M. (2000) The Geographer's Craft Project, Department of Geography, The University of Colorado at Boulder.


  • GIS draws from

    • cartography, - science (and art) of map-making

    • remote sensing - Earth observation from space

    • geodesy - accurate measurement of the Earth

    • surveying - accurate measurement of features on the Earth

    • Global Positioning System

    • photogrammetry - measurement from photographs and images

    • image processing - analysis of image data

    • printing technology

    • computer science – software and hardware

    • database management

    • spatial statistics – AND willingness to venture into the unknown

    • adapted from http://www.ncgia.ucsb.edu/giscc/units/u002/

    • The NCGIA Core Curriculum in GIScience


    The Geography jigsaw

    • Joining the geography jigsaw ( GIS Professional June 2008, issue 22).

    • GIS

    • MOM

    • SEMANTIC INTEROPERABILITY – Pacific islanders

    • (Harvey, 2005)


    Achieving world class skills

    • Leitch Review of Skills (2006) - committed to achieving by 2020.

    • World class high skills – widening the drive to improve the UK’s high skills to encompass the whole working-age population, including 18 – 30 year olds

    • These ambitions will not deliver economic benefits unless they are based on economically valuable skills that are effectively used in the workplace(my italics)

    • The Review’s conclusion that skills are now the key driver to achieving economic success and social justice in the global economy.


    Employability and GIS

    • Employability

    • ‘a set of achievements – skills, understanding and personal attributes – that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations which benefits themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy’. Yorke (2004)

    • Many factors which relate to ability to gain employment.


    Aspects which need improvement

    • GEES Graduate Employability Survey - studied graduates from three institutions who graduated in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

    • ‘aspects that were least satisfactorily developed were :

    • Professional work experience (88.3%)

    • Business awareness (75.6%)

    • Entrepreneurship (66.7%

    • Career planning (51.5%)

    • GIS (33.3%)’ Gedye and Chalkley (2006)


    Linking GIS to the intellectual core of Geography

    • Teach about GIS

    • Technical issues (data acquisition, representation, analysis and visualisation)

    • Teach with GIS

    • GIS applied to geographical problem solving (Sui, 1995)


    GIS in our degree programmes

    • Skills spine which is application underpinned by fundamentals – directly linked to GIS

    • Level 1 – Geographical investigation (cartography, digital mapping, airphoto interpretation, Digimap database, introduction to GIS software, statistics, field trip

    • Level 2 – GIS skills - preparation for level 3 dissertation.

    • – Elective option – GIS, surveying and mapping (½ module).

    • Level 3 – GIS and Remote Sensing Applications (full module)


    Supporting team

    • Team work:

    • Liaison with IT Manager

    • GIS and Computing Technical Staff

    • 4 computer rooms

    • 24 hour access

    • Timed computer sessions

    • Working with the student computer network


    How did former students get GI jobs?

    • Could point to modules with GIS

    • Could provide proof of their level 3 - GIS team project

    • Dissertations

    • Were aware of applications

    • Had transferable skills

      (from questionnaires to former students – 2004, 2007)


    Employers

    • What factors enhanced employability for these jobs?

    • (extracted from semi-structured interviews with employers).

    • Digital mapping

    • Spatial awareness

    • GIS analytical skills

    • Data management skills

    • work experience - almost a prerequisite for all but basic entry jobs.


    Work placements

    • Interest in work placements?

    • Opportunities, but not able to interest many in a one-year placement.

    • Need to raise awareness among level 2 students.

    • May be more takers in summer 3 month placements.

    • Other departments have 1 – 2 week placements


    Examples of applications

    • Geographic information (GI) is at the heart of every organisation.

    • Customer addresses

    • Property assets

    • Operational areas

    • Administrative boundaries

    • Road and delivery or access routes

    • Crime mapping

    • .

    • Adapted from http://www.agi.org.uk/pooled/articles/BF_JOBSART/view.asp?Q=BF_JOBSART_302552


    Job titles

    Job titles from the questionnaire sent to former students - 2004.and 2007Not a GIS job?


    Not a GIS job


    Geography degrees

    • Geographers - specialists at being generalists

    • - not vocational degrees

    • But since the increase in fees - more queries about what jobs are available to those with a geography degree.


    Recruitment Agency

    • 16, 000 GIS jobs on the database

    • Candidate profile

    • Degree, Masters, PhD, PRINCE 2 etc

    • GIS Skills

    • Programming languages

    • Web technologies

    • Databases


    GIS software ?

    • ArcGIS Jack Dangermond

    • ArcInfo

    • ArcPad

    • AutoCAD

    • Bentley

    • Cadcorp

    • ER Mapper

    • Geomedia

    • Mapinfo

    • 3D

    • NLPG

    • SmallWorld

    • From a choice of 20


    Transferable skills

    • WHAT EMPLOYERS VALUE IN NEW GRADUATES

    • Working under pressure

    • Oral communication skills

    • Accuracy

    • Attention to detail

    • Working in a team

    • Time management

    • Adaptability

    • Initiative

    • Working independently

    • Taking responsibility and decisions

    • Planning, coordinating and organising (Brennan et al. (2001)

    Top 4?


    Top 4

    • Working in a team

    • Oral communication skills

    • Accuracy

    • Time management


    Dynamic field

    • It is a changing dynamic and developing field -

    • you have to build skills and knowledge throughout your career.

    • Job descriptions change


    Chartered Geographer

    • The Association for Geographic Information has joined with the Royal Geographical Society with IBG to introduce the professional status of Chartered Geographer (GIS) for suitably qualified individuals. 

    • suited to those working in the GI Science field, indicating their competence and experience in interpreting geographical information and in geographical analysis, based on a wide understanding of using geographical processes’. 

    •   http://www.agi.org.uk/bfora/systems/xmlviewer/default.asp?arg=DS_AGI_PSART_57/_page.xsl/73


    Conclusions and Recommendations

    • Preparing for a job in GIS?

    • Fundamentals – first principles

    • Get the training – in your particular field of geography

    • Get work experience

    • Know your market

    • Get transferable skills

    • Recognise that updating skills and understanding is essential – this is a developing dynamic field.


    Conclusions and Recommendations

    • Preparing for a job in GIS?

    • Fundamentals – first principles

    • Get the training – in your particular field of geography

    • Get work experience

    • Know your market

    • Get transferable skills

    • Recognise that updating skills and understanding is essential – this is a developing dynamic field.


    Acknowledgements

    • Many thanks to my colleagues, support staff, employers who agreed to to be interviewed and especially

    • Michael Horswell

    • Neil Porritt

    • Paul Satchell

    • Justin Brown

    • Suresh Shah


    References

    • Brennan, J., Johnston, B., Little, B., Shah, T. and Woodley, A. (2001) The Employment of UK Graduates: Comparisons with Europe and Japan. London: The Higher Education Funding Council for England.

    • Foote Kenneth E. and Lynch Margaret, (2000) The Geographer's Craft Project, Department of Geography, The University of Colorado at Boulder.

    • Gedye, Sharon and Chalkley, Brian (2006) Employability within Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences. GEES 2006.

    • Sui, D (1995) A pedagogic framework to link GIS to the intellectual core of geography. Journal of Geography vol. 94 pt6, pp578 – 591.

    • Yorke, M. (2004) Learning and employability, Book 1. LTSN Support Network, ESECT Publication.


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