GIS is Awesome! So… now what? This is a little awkward…

Geographic Information Systems is AMAZING! It’s technologies and software are everywhere and used to generate not only an impact in the world, but also money! I fell in love with GIS (not literal love… geeez) after seeing it work first hand in field operations for resource exploration.

But I also noticed not everyone I knew who took GIS was getting a great job. Some had low level “click here, do that” GIS jobs, and some couldn’t find any employment at all. After getting asked over and over again on my LinkedIn account about GIS jobs, I realized something.

Skills are common, Mindsets are NOT.

Any keen person could teach themselves the GIS software through trial and error. I taught myself the Adobe suite of products (Photoshop, Illustrator, Aftereffects, Premiere Pro) over a number of years via YouTube (and Pre YouTube… yes I am little oldish). I am no Adobe expert, but I have skills. Skills are common, Mindsets are not.

A lady who trained in GIS at the same time as me was so mad about not finding a GIS job, she said “I could have learned all I needed to from YouTube videos!” For her, I would say this was true. She could easily have learned “Click Here Do That” from a video and she probably learned this why which is why she ended up with no job at all.

So let me reiterate, Skills are common, Mindsets are NOT.

We had the same practical training in GIS which essentially consisted of “Click Here Do That, Repeat”. I exaggerate of course, there is TONS to learn in GIS and the program I took can be found here which was AMAZING. Also, skills may be common, but they are very VERY important.

If you don’t know how to create a buffer from a subset of objects selected based on their proximity to an attribute within a subset of line features selected by attributed polygons in your Geodatabase, you are missing some very important fundamentals.

The difference between my GIS experience and others is that GIS is not just about the skills or the software, which are VERY important of course. What is essential for success and to make an impact on the world (and money), are mindsets.

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3 Fortnite Rules for GIS Success, or how I learned to build fortifications… sort of.

I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross-industry power are amazing.

I recently started playing Fortnite with my son. I knew this game was a thing a few years ago so I looked it up as my son is now mature enough to play fast-paced PVP games. Since the game is also free to play, he and I have played together weekly for about two months.

For those of you who don’t know the game, it is a cooperative third-person shooter pitting 50-100 players in 4 person squads against each other on an island map. The map is pretty cool from a GIS standpoint, but that is probably for another post.

Fortnite map, GIS analysis for another time
Fortnite map, GIS analysis for another time

The game started us off easy. We were low level, and from the actions of the other players, it appears as if the game groups players together by experience. As we went up in level, however, so did the other players and the game got harder… way harder.

After we reached level 30 I noticed that there were strategies to winning. I took note and started to copy what the best players were doing. As I watched I noticed just how much success in GIS was like success in Fortnite.

Let me explain.

When you start a GIS career, you are essentially starting from scratch, level One if you will. In the beginning, you thrash around in GIS, using the same tools, same steps, and getting stuff done.

You gotta start somewhere
You gotta start somewhere

However, as you progress in your GIS career, things get harder, problems get more complex, and you are given a higher workload. To keep up you have to take notice what other GIS folks are doing and copy or innovate their techniques.

This is like Fortnite. If you don’t start noticing what the better players are doing, you start to lose, and badly. That is when I noticed three rules of success in Fortnite that were applicable to success in GIS.

Knowing the rules for successing in GIS is half the battle.

Knowing is half the battle.
Knowing is half the battle.

Here are my three Fortnite rules for GIS success.

Work as a team

GIS is not about you. GIS is about working as team to get the job done. Even the most semi-successful Fortnite players play as a team.

Work as a team, GIS is not just about one person, but many.
Work as a team, GIS is not just about one person, but many.

As GIS folks we create analysis and maps with and for other people. The best GIS is a collaboration.

Build fortifications

In Fortnite, if you start taking damage, build fortifications. In GIS, this is the structure you have built within your GIS, unlike in Fortnite… you build this ahead of time.

Build your fortifications ahead of time for a solid GIS win.
Build your fortifications ahead of time for a solid GIS win.

I write often about the need for a solid folder, database and naming structure in your GIS. Without this foundation/fortification to keep the high ground in GIS, you will fail.

Get the best equipment.

In Fortnite, when the storm narrows the battlefield, the best equipment is essential. Full shield and full health… nothing against the best equipment. The same goes for GIS (sort of).

Get those Epic GIS upgrades!
Get those Epic GIS upgrades!

In GIS this means upgrading continually. A new version of software comes up? Upgrade. Cloud computing the next thing? Upgrade. AI in imagery? DO IT. Always get the best equipment.

HOWEVER… Paper always wins. Never forget paper.

As of typing these words my name in Fortnite is DrChrisGeoSci, add me if you like. I don’t know how long I will continue playing the game… it is a time drain. As far as I can tell getting good at the game is difficult, takes a ton of time, and is a completely useless skill.

It would be better to learn how to bake an amazing pie, learn to code in a new language, or even read a good novel than be good at a video game.

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How to combine Geoscience and Geographic Information Systems and become twice as hire-able now.

Hey Everyone!

Geoscience was my first love. I spent my academic career in the geoscience roles doing fun research and traveling the world.

But I found a new love, Geographic Information Systems. In a stroke of luck (or pure genius) I discovered an amazing combination of science disciplines.

Geoscience and GIS is a perfect match and I didn’t even know it!

I spent 99.99% of my time in front of a computer writing code and never appreciated just where all the data I played with came from.

Turns out that geoscience is not just “sit-in-front-of-your-computer-all-day” career. You can go out into the field and harness GIS to do amazing geoscience research and acquisition.

Yes geologists do GIS, but the ones I have known knew didn’t have in-depth training. They were taught about rocks, but not how to create a map for field surveys.  

Having excellent geographic training and solid GIS software foundations, will make you twice as hire-able. Having GIS will also give you skills outside of geoscience.

GIS and Geoscience are a great combination for career advancement. GIS is also useful in other fields!
GIS and Geoscience are a great combination for career advancement. GIS is also useful in other fields!

Why do the geoscience and geographic information system fit so well together?

First is straight forward, we live and operate on the surface of the earth. GIS gives us a powerful tool to plan, execute, and analyze complex geographical operations. With complex GIS techniques and technologies we can visualize the earth’s surface and subsurface.

With detail spatial analysis we can understand rock formations, dip and strike of geology, plan better surveys, model water flow (both surface and subsurface), detect geo-hazards like unstable slopes and flood areas.

The value of GIS extends into other earth sciences that combine even more disciplines like biology, ecology, and social science. The parralells are

Here are some steps below that you can take to better combing GIS and Geoscience.

Get GIS training NOW.

GIS is a great add on to many disciplines and should not be seen as single career goal. Taking a 1 year college degree, or two year masters in GIS will prepare you for an amazing future.

Get trained in GIS. Pick and poke learning is ok, but getting insights and feedback from humans is best.
Get trained in GIS. Pick and poke learning is ok, but getting insights and feedback from humans is best.

On-line courses are good too but I am a huge advocate for in-person in-class training. Something powerful happens when humans come together to pass on information.

Take what works best for you and get start  your GIS training now.

Start your work at the GIS level.

For years I made the mistake of jumping right into the geophysical data I had on my computer without knowing where it came from. Noise in the data was XY Hz, missing sections were just gone, and data wasn’t acquired in perfectly straight lines because reason.

The GIS cycle is a good place to start to understand your geoscience data.
The GIS cycle is a good place to start to understand your geoscience data.

If you start at the GIS level, you will see that the noise came from roads, the missed sections were flooded areas, and lines were not perfectly straight because of dense forest.

Starting with your geoscience data at the GIS level will get your out of head and into the real world.

Get involved in field operations with GIS.

GIS as a planning tool is essential and not just for field operations. You valuable geoscience knowledge can be integrated for a deeper understanding once you start seeing how data is acquired.

GIS is versatile and will help you with understanding your data.

You will get to see how remote sensing can help you understand geology better. Canopy cover and bare earth will show you how field operations will progress. You may discover something new, like how flood plains are good locations for acquisition, but bad if rain comes.

Once again, GIS will get your out of your head and into the real world.

GIS is part of your final results and improvements.

Analyzing your field data by itself is just not enough for a complete understanding of the geoscience. Understanding the limitations you had during the planning process and during field acquisition will make you aware of what is going on with your data.

Your final results including GIS will have a more nuanced understanding of how future data will need to be acquired. “Can we get better data next time” will turn into “We need multispectral remote sensing data to plan where our geophones are going to be placed”.

Improve your GIS mindsets.

I have learned over the years that “how-to” knowledge is common. The software you need to learn for GIS has great manuals, plenty of free “click-here-do-that” resources and instructional videos everywhere.

Geographic Information Success

What is hard to teach, and hard to learn, are mindsets needs for success.

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Who is going to use your GIS? Three types of people, so you better figure them out!

Hey there everyone!

I love geographic information systems, and if you are reading these words, I hope you do as well!

One measure of success in my GIS is how many people use it and love it. Love might seem a little bit of a strong word but something special happens when people say “Hey, I really understand what is going on” or “Thanks for making your maps easy to use”.

Free PDF provided at the end to help you out!

The ideas that I am going to share with you in this post will not only make people extremely happy with your GIS, the ideas will also increase the value and impact of your GIS on the world.

The way to have other people use and love your GIS is to get out of your own bubble. As GIS people, we tend to stay inside our minds. We know our GIS inside and out, we may have even coded every single line of every single tool in our code libraries.

We have to take a step back and have a look at our GIS from a different point of view. Three points of view actually.

Three use types, with the first one being the most important.

As part of “Building a Bulletproof GIS” I am going to introduce you to the three types of people that will use your GIS. To be 10 times more effective in your GIS you have to take into consideration each type of person when designing your GIS.

You have to learn to speak these types of users language. You have to connect with them where they want to be connected with. You have to get in their minds, ask them questions, maybe even become them for a few days (if not longer) to really understand them.

These three types of people are going to be with you for your entire GIS career. People can shift between each type rapidly, but they each have distinctive needs depending on your GIS.

These three types of people are:

  1. Creators
  2. Viewers
  3. Field Workers

You as a geographic information professional need to understand each of these types of people as they related to your GIS.

I will explain each.

CREATORS

These are the people who can look at your features, shapefiles, folder structures, maps, layouts, projects and understand what is going on. They speak “GIS”, they know the technical terms, they know the jargon, they most likely have training in GIS.

Creators are people like you who know GIS lingo and can build their own GIS.
Creators are people like you who know GIS lingo and can build their own GIS.

Creates can to look at your GIS and say “Great, this person is competent” or “Good they planned ahead and don’t have 10 features named roads1 roads2 roads3”.  

Creators can be your colleagues, your subordinates GIS analysts, your direct superiors. They could be new hires.

Most of all, YOU are a creator.

VIEWERS

Viewers want to understand very specific details about your data. They want to “click here” and information flows out. They want your data easy to understand, no matter how complex it actually is, no matter how long it took you to create or acquire. Their world is instant gratification.

Viewers want to understand your GIS instantly without any explanation or training.
Viewers want to understand your GIS instantly without any explanation or training.

They want to look at a map, a webpage, a graphic, a chart and say “It’s about Population” or “It’s about economic growth” or “It will take me 10 minutes to get there”.

Viewers don’t care how long you spent on your infographics. Again, they want instant gratification.

Viewers could be clients desiring updates, bosses wanting time motion analytics, the public looking at your volcano mapping.

Most of all, YOU are a viewer.

FIELD WORKERS

These are your crew on the ground using mobile apps to collect date or navigation. They could be using your hard-copy maps as backup. Field workers concern lies more in ease of use of your data and safety than what hue you picked for the red stop sign.

Field workers use your GIS in their daily activities and need it to function smoothly and safely.
Field workers use your GIS in their daily activities and need it to function smoothly and safely.

They don’t want complexity. If they are there for pipeline surveying, they want to see all things (but nothing more) important to pipeline surveying. If they are doing ecological work they want ecology features, and nothing more.

Field workers may be volunteers, surveyors, managers, or inspectors.

Most of all, YOU are a field worker.

Maximize your GIS effectiveness you need to understand these three user types with respect to your GIS.

I have provided a PDF below to help you understand the users of your GIS better.

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Double Your GIS Job Interviews NOW… 3 Top Tips to getting a job faster!

I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross-industry power are amazing.

But I have an open secret. I was unemployed in GIS for 6 long months. I thought I had a great resume, I thought I had a great portfolio, I thought my social media footprint would get me hired… turns out I had a few things wrong.

Landing a GIS job was harder than I thought.

Before I go any further, here are a few statistics about being unemployed I didn’t realize until I was unemployed so long in GIS.

The average length of unemployment is 5 months
A person will lose $15,000 (at least) being unemployed in that time.
You will become depressed, maybe seriously, the longer you are unemployed (I was)

I don’t tell you these things to scare you, I tell them to you so you know what to expect. And knowing these things is half the battle.

Knowing is half the battle.
Knowing is half the battle.

I couldn’t figure out why companies weren’t jumping on the change to hire me. I had a great resume (Turns out my resume sucked… and my portfolio was wrong).

I had been applying for every single GIS job I could find. I was spending 2 hours crafting a cover letter, changing my resume, and filling out paperwork for every application I submitted.

I was submitting 5-8 applications a week and getting almost no response.

After several months, I took my resume to a professional resume person. They pointed out a few problems with my applications and I changed things up. I landed a couple of interviews because of this change, but no offers.

After months of no offers, I went to bed one night vowing to quick GIS in the morning and do something else.
I wanted to quit GIS altogether.
I wanted to quit GIS altogether.

Laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, I had a revelation.

I realized I had been doing my GIS applications all wrong. I had been submitting applications as if I was the most important person.

The most important person was the company I was applying to and the people reading my resume. I had to change my resume, my portfolio, and my cover letters so that they were about them, not me.

That is when I developed “Permissionless GIS: Double Your GIS Job Interviews NOW” and I had instant results.

 I put all my skills together and developed Permissionless GIS
I put all my skills together and developed Permissionless GIS

I got to work changing up everything, and something amazing happened. I landed two interviews in four applications the first week… and two interviews from four applications the second we!

I went from 1 interview every 25 to 30 applications to 1 interview every two applications.
Using Permissionless GIS, I had three job offers in 4 weeks.

I have a ton of details, tips and tricks, massively valuable information in my book, but I am going to give you the top 3 tips I discovered right now.

Ask

Ask your network, friends, former classmates, former coworkers about GIS jobs,

The most powerful thing you can do... just ask.
The most powerful thing you can do… just ask.

Turns out most jobs that are available are not even advertised. Instead, jobs are filled by people who ask, referrals from friends, or internal hires. Asking is a powerful tool to getting a job faster, in fact, it might be the fastest way to get a job.

Show Don’t Tell

GIS is a visual medium. That means, make sure your portfolio stand out the most.

(image)

People like to put their qualifications on resumes, and this is important. However, what matters most is SHOWING that you can do GIS through your portfolio. Your portfolio tells the only GIS story that will matter… your results.

This brings me to:

Make your Submission about THEM, not You.

You are 1 in a thousand job applications. They don’t care about you. They care about themselves, so give them more of themselves.

Them not you
Your resume has to be about THEM, not you.

How do you make your portfolio about them? Make every single map of your portfolio about THEM. This means, find out where they are working, and make a map at that location using open source data. Find out what their operations are like, and make a map about it.

Yes it will take time (20 hours for a 5-page portfolio… more in my book), but you will land more interviews and get job offers sooner.

More in my book.

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2 Secrets to making GIS HUGE in your company… (They aren’t secrets, but they do take effort, time and the willingness to stick your neck out).

I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross-industry power are amazing.

However, I have been noticing a trend with companies have worked for, and even with my friends in GIS.

A TON of people “know” GIS, and by “know” I mean they can get by doing GIS in their companies without GIS training and doing only basic GIS.

Making “maps” is good and all… but it doesn’t take any GIS knowledge

I worked in a company where the survey design team (3 guys), 2 office supervisors and a field manager had a combined zero years of training in GIS. Yet, they did GIS every single day, and their job got done.

I was speaking with a friend of mine, and she said even her GIS department (2 people) was being underutilized at her company (over 500 people in an Australia wide mining company).

She was amazed at how little people took advantage of GIS, but just stumbled around doing the same old thing year in and year out.

This tells me 2 things about GIS:

  1. GIS will be treated like word processing. Anyone can do it, anyone can learn it, and anyone can use it… poorly.
  2. There is a HUGE opportunity to show how GIS can be done right in a lot of companies.

The opportunity (or secret) is to take a chance and show how GIS can help the company you are working for.

Knowing that this is half the battle, and here comes my favourite image!

Knowing is half the battle.
Knowing is half the battle.

You could be doing something you as a GIS person thinks is “basic”, but it is actually HUGE for your company.

Perhaps you are harnessing attributes for analytics, perhaps you are tracking how people move on your mine sites, perhaps you are compiling statistical information on company vehicles.

Show what you are doing. Show the people who matter.

The key here is to SHOW how GIS can push the company forward.

This is the first “secret”…

SHOW… Don’t Tell.

A lot of my success in GIS has been me simply showing the possibilities.

Showing you can do the work is 327.6% more valuable then telling people you can do it.
Show your work… it is way more powerful than talking.

If I try to explain in words what I want to do, I get blank stares. “Online Maps” and “tracking equipment”? Oh ya… sounds good… NEXT (is what my boss said). Spatial analytics and automation of projects… all SOUNDS good… but they LOOK way better.

Use your GIS visual skills to show how GIS can be done better at your company.

This brings me to the second secret… which is actually really hard to implement.

It is better to ask for forgiveness, than beg for permission.

Every time I have shown how GIS can work, I never asked for permission, I just did it.

Just do it, asking is slow.
Doing is better than asking, which is better than waiting.

I am not saying be dangerous, or break laws, or bypass supervisors, I am talking about doing the work without being asked to do it or asking to do it.

You may step on toes, and I would make sure to work with people in the know, but sometimes you just have to do things before you have permission.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my other links!

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3 HUGE reasons you need to focus on THIS in GIS to get a head (The answer is System, check this out)

I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross-industry power are amazing.

But I also know this…

GIS IS EASY (if you let it… or don’t know any better)

Click here do that… it is all GIS is… if you are not careful!

I have worked in companies where “GIS” (I put it in quotes for a reason) is used only as “Make a map for that” group. Without analytics or science behind it… maps and GIS are easy.

I have also worked in companies where people doing GIS work have zero training and get by doing the basics. Clip a line? Yup. Add points? Yup. Make a polygon? Yup. Spatial analytics for proximity analysis? Nope.

In these cases, no one takes GIS to the next level because they don’t know how, or worse… they don’t need to… because GIS is easy.

I have said this before a few times, but it is a fact that we as GIS folks must accept. In fact, knowing this will help you win your future GIS battles.

Knowing is half the battle.
Knowing is half the battle.

This is where I really started to think… how do I get ahead in GIS?

The soltuion are two words that means so much…

Build Systems

The solution is build systems. The systems I am talking about are a set of principles or procedures to which you complete your GIS work.

Build GIS systems

What is a GIS system?

When I was a GIS analyst, I noticed I was doing the same things over and over again when projects started up. I would receive a location for analysis, create project foldes, build the database, create maps, create infographics, and send out a PowerPoint document.

So, I created a “Project Start Up” system with a set of principles and procedures that needed to be followed.

I further noticed that consistent procedures and principles happend at many stages during project. In many cases, when the projects where in different locations, all required similar actions, similar data, similar analysis… you get the picture..

So, I created stages of systems. “Start Up”, “Production” and “Completion”. I created steps for each, documents for each, and procedures for each.

I also learned to be flexible because not all projects were equal in scope or importance. Projects also were different due to location, data limitations, and time. But I still had a system to rely on.

I learned three very important lessons I learned while creating these GIS systems that I will share with you now.

Being Organized Matters

When you develop systems for your GIS, you become hyper-organized.

Being organized matters

Being organized is very important for GIS folks. We need to know where our data is, what it is, and how we got the data. This will set you appart form the ramdon GIS users that get by with the basiscs.

Structured Thinking -> Creative Thinking

With a system in place, you can start thinking in steps and procedures and know how long and when projecst will be complete… and then break the system (or side step it)

know the rules, structure the rules, then break them
know the rules, structure the rules, then break them

Once you know how things work, your creativity can sky rocket because you know how to change things up and why to change them up.

Building a structure system to enhance creativity sound strange, but it works.

System creation is more important GIS skills

The biggest take away I realized while developing systems for my GIS, is that systems building is needed in EVERYTHING and well into the future..

Systems can be used in everything to get stuff done.
Systems can be used in everything to get stuff done.

While you think GIS is going to be your career, in many cases it wont be. 80% of people change their careers every 5 years (me included).

Understanding how to develop systems in what ever job or endeavor your do is massively important.

You may only be spatial selecting data for the next 5 years, but you will need to be able to simplify and create systems forever.

Start now to get ahead.

and Have fun!

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How 280 character limit can get you a job in GIS, or how I learned to simplify my GIS and so can you!

I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross-industry power are amazing.

Also, I love social media… well “love” may be too strong of a word. But social media is extremely useful, especially for GIS.

Social media and GIS go hand in hand
Social media and GIS go hand in hand.

In fact, social media and GIS are perfect matches. I was talking to a friend of mine and she said:

“GIS and Social Media are essentially the same things”. 

Think about it this way, both social media and GIS are about getting and holding peoples attention.

GIS is about data, directions, locations, people, and ideas.

Social media is about cats (also data, directions, locations, people and ideas.)

What makes social media so effective can also make your GIS effective.

Social media can make your GIS 10x more effective
Social media can make your GIS 10x more effective

Social media puts emphasis on images, character limits and flashy headlines to attract long-form reading.

Here are a quick set of “rules” for social media.

  1. People like images more than text.
  2. People like short text more than long text.
  3. People like long texts.

These are (almost) identical to rules in showing off your GIS!

Let me explain.

I have more information in my book, Permissionless GIS: Double Your GIS Interviews NOW.

Show, Don’t Tell (Images)

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Show. don't tell. It is obviously more effective.
Show. don’t tell. It is obviously more effective.

Humans are visual creatures with 50%+ of our brains dedicated to visual processing. 

If you have the choice between explaining anything in words or creating an image, always create an image. This is a great way to show off you GIS skills and get noticed.

Use $100 words and phrases (Character Limit)

There is a concept of $5 words and $100 words. $5 are boring, $100 have real power and emotion to them.

Here are set of $5 words with $100 words next to them.

$5$100
CarPorsche
IncreasedExplode
HouseMansion
$5 words versus $100 words
The proper use of images, works and detail makes social media and  your GIS more effective
The proper use of images, works and detail makes social media and your GIS more effective

Here are some typical $5 phrases version $100 phrases

$5$100
I make mapsI save lives
Team PlayerPlanned GIS festival
Python programmerAutomate field operations
$5 phrases versus $100 phrases

This is where a 280 character limit forces you to use emotion and be precise.

280 characters to tell a great story.

Details Details Details

Imagery and emotional words draw people in. But what keeps them around is detail and complexity. Know these things is half the battle.

Knowing is half the battle.
Knowing is half the battle.

That is one of the strange things about the world right now. We have short attention spans where we will scroll through social media mindlessly. We laugh at cat pictures one minute, cry at a baby picture the next, and then are amazed at a bottle flipping video.

However, there is another trend that shows just how deeply people want real content. This trend is the rise of long-form podcasts, multi seasons spanning television dramas, epic book series, and intertwining movie universes.

People may, at first, come for the cat pictures (or in the case of GIS, imagery analysis), but they will stay for your insights. Your GIS skill in data analysis, connection building, and writing can shine online.

It is a dichotomy here between short attention spans and deep understanding. But this is where we as GIS people can shine. Knowing and understanding each stage of this attention-grabbing world will make you a much better GIS person.

Have fun!

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my other links!

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Which GIS software should you use? Here is a hint… ALL of them (because you can use all of them)… hear me out.

I love geographic information systems! The creativity in map design, the science of spatial analysis, and the cross industry power is amazing.

First off, I love ESRI, but I can use QGIS.

Second, I learned a very valuable lesson when I was unemployed in GIS… for MONTHS about GIS software.

Before I developed Permissionless GIS which doubled my GIS job interviews and landed me an amazing job, I made a huge mistake in my GIS interviews.

Big mistake: Saying you don't like some GIS software
Big mistake: Saying you don’t like some GIS software

This mistake was so bad, that I was kicked out of several interviews…

That was a joke, but I did get strange looks and no job offer.

I said the following when asked about software:

“I don’t like open source GIS software”

This didn’t seem so bad since the jobs required ESRI products.

But it was a red flag for the hiring company.

Here is another red flag you never want to say in a job interview:

“I don’t like paid GIS software”.

Confused? Let me explain.

Many companies use a hybrid system in their GIS. They will use a combination of GIS software for financial reasons, convenience, or for clients.

They may even have their own internal software or industry specific GIS software you may never have heard of.

Most companies will use a variety of GIS software... again.. YOU CAN USE THEM ALL.
Most companies will use a variety of GIS software… again.. YOU CAN USE THEM ALL.

If you say you don’t like open source or paid GIS software, you are telling the company to keep looking for someone else.

If you say “I don’t like X GIS software”, they hear “I CAN’T USE X GIS software”.

You shouldn’t say you like or dislike any GIS software package.

I am not saying lie, I am saying take this into consideration.

GIS software essentially do all the same things

Seriously, there are only so many ways you can “Clip”, “Add table”, “Project”, complete imagery analysis, or “Buffer”.

All GIS software do about the same thing... USE THEM ALL
All GIS software do about the same thing… USE THEM ALL

All top GIS software do these things, just with different clicks and different names.

That means, roughly speaking, YOU can use all GIS software if you understand GIS.

If one GIS software package does something well now, the others will do it next release, or differently on next release, or better on next release.

There is always going to be a GIS software “arms race”.

All the major GIS software are inspired to copy eachother.
All the major GIS software are inspired to copy eachother.

Open source will come up with an idea that the paid copy… I mean be inspired by.

The paid software will stream line new innovations because they have the cash to test the latest “thing” and see if it works.

There will always be new software.

Something better will come along. Whether it’s a new open source or paid, something new always comes along.

There will always be a new GIS softare, or a new flavor!
There will always be a new GIS softare, or a new flavor!

The best thing you can do is be flexible and always learn.

Which brings me to what you need to say in a job interview when asked about GIS software:

“I have used X Brand GIS software mostly, but can easily use Y Brand GIS software”

Or

“I am unfamiliar with Z Brand, but I do understand GIS concepts that are easily transferable across software packages”

I AM NOT SAYING YOU SHOULD LIE.

I want you to think about it this way… here are 2 truths and 1 lie you can think about.

  1. I don’t know how to use X GIS software
  2. I can figure out how to use X GIS software
  3. I know ALL GIS software.

One of those answers is correct, the other two are wrong (most likely).

As a GIS professional you will need to use multiple different GIS software. Your ability to adapt matters. Your ability and understanding in GIS matters the most.

You can learn and adapt easily, especially if you know GIS concepts and terminology.

I have more information in my book, Permissionless GIS: Double Your GIS Interviews NOW.

Knowing that what you should and shouldn’t do is:

Have fun!

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my other links!

Get hired faster in GIS

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Use social media to be 10x more hirable in GIS / Geoscience (Action Plan Inside!)

I am going to show you how you can become 5 to 10 times as hirable in GIS / Geoscience using social media.

What I am going to show you is easy because you already have the skills you need.

What I am going to teach you today I have used successfully to get thousands of followers, 10s of thousands of views, 100s of thousands of impressions, and 10s of thousands of clicks.

Knowing that you can do this too, is half the battle!

Know what to do to be 10x hirable will push  you faster towards your goal.
Know what to do to be 10x hirable will push you faster towards your goal.

Because of this, I love social media, especially when it comes to GIS and geoscience.

However, social media can be a “fake news”, celebrity hot-take, conspiracy theory, troll ridden, dumpster fire

The internet can be a dumpster fire or it can be the tool you use to your success... make it the latter.
The internet can be a dumpster fire or it can be the tool you use to your success… make it the latter.

You use social media, or you ignore it at your own peril.

You can become depressed using social media.

You can become permanently outraged using social media.

Social needs to come with warnings… just watch “The Social Dilemma”

But social media is here to stay… you have to navigate it property.

If you want to get ahead faster, you have no choice but to use social media.

Here are three reasons you HAVE to engage on social media.

1. 80% of jobs are filled through networking

Your network use to be people you talked to in person.

Now, social media extends your network… massively.

You want a job sooner… you need a big network.

Harnessing social media allows you to have a much larger network than you could possibly have in real life.

In an interconnected world, a virtual network will inevitably bring you success… if you do it right.

2. Employers are scanning your social media before they hire you.

Resume’s use to be pieces of paper… then digital documents…

Your social media presence is now your resume… whether you like it or not.

No matter how you feel about, they will do a search for you online... that is just the way it is.
No matter how you feel about, they will do a search for you online… that is just the way it is.

How you engage online will reflect on you.

How you DON’T engage online will reflect on you.

Engaging online PROPERLY will get you into work faster.

3. You have full control over how people see you on social media

Choosing the right foot to put forward is in your control.

Showing what skills you bring to the table is in your control.

You get to decide, in a positive way, what the world gets to see of you… make it count.

The whole process is in your control… if you choose it.

Now that I told you why, I am going to give you an action plan so you can start engaging online and become 5 to 10 times more hirable.

Your plan is to engage online by showing what you know.

Show what you know allows you to control how people see you on social media.

Your post ARE valuable to some people (not everyone… and this is ok), which will expand your network as people like your content.

Recruiters and companies, when they start scanning your social media, will see you are adding value to the world.

Let’s get started ACTION PLAN NOW!

1. Start with an “easy” topic you know well.

Easy can be starting from first principles like hydrocarbon traps, basic python programming, cooking, or  map projections.

Start with a complete simple topic that you know indie and out.
Start with a complete simple topic that you know indie and out.

I say “easy” because your knowledge is advanced for many people.

Your “easy” knowledge, is valuable to beginners (who are most people out there)

2. Break this “easy” topic in multiple small steps

These small steps help you focus your attention and your audiences attention.

Your ability to distill a topic is valuable.
Break up your easy topic

You didn’t learn everything all at once, you don’t have to post it all at once.

Small steps spoon feeds your knowledge to the world.

3. Distill the first step into an easy to understand “Chunk” of information

This “chunk” can be the following:

  • 280 Characters
  • A single Instagram size image (1080×1080) or series of images
  • A 60 second to 5 minute long video.
  • A short presentation
Make it easy to understand quickly with easy everyday language.

Don’t use jargon. Don’t use overly technical language.

User conversational language, like you were talking to a friend

4. Post the step online

Post to LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TickToc, or whatever social media platform exists into the future

Posting you ideas online is where the rubber meets the road

This is where you can see your impressions, likes (clicks), and network grow.

You can also adjust your posts depending on how your network reacts.

5. Repeat for all the steps

Repeat!

If you do this properly, you have endless amount of content.

Posting on social media is not for the lazy, repeating is the way to stay ahead of the pack.

Your social media is your resume, you social media is your reputation. Again… you use it or ignore it at your own peril.

Have fun!

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out my other links!

Get hired faster in GIS

Double your GIS Job Interviews now

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Great video content for GIS and Geoscience

GIS and Geoscience Merch

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