What happens in the lab; a showcase of GIS Student creations & other good stuff.


A glimpse of what our ADGIS grads are up to – Part 2

We’re almost done our first week of school which involved college wide and school orientation, introductions, log-in & network troubleshooting, program familiarization, and three full classes.  As everyone settles in for the year, our new cohort of GISers are asking what others are up to from previous years.  Here’s a little more from last year’s ADGIS grads:

Chrisite Rajtarova is working as a full time GIS Analyst with Polar Geomatics in Sylvan Lake, Alberta who serves clients in both Oil and Gas and the Municipal sectors.  What helped her to land her job?

“Being well prepared for my interview was definitely a good start to landing a position with Polar. Not only was I able to confidently answer more than a handful of loaded GIS questions, but was also able to carry on a conversation when I was asked about a situation in which required me to listen well to get my point across. I studied key concepts from the more challenging projects I had completed at Selkirk to ameliorate my GIS / CAD vocabulary, and every skill required posted on the job description – whether I had it or not at the time I applied, I made sure I had it before my interview.”

Christie says her favourite projects are those that consist of environmental monitoring as it makes her feel like she is doing something important and playing her part in environmental stewardship. Such projects often include anthropogenic analysis of land, within a lease or caribou range, using data from dispositions, ecophase disturbances, foreign facilities and so on and comparing them to imagery before proceeding with calculations.

“I love variety and the best part of my job is that I get my hands on every type of project which ensures that I am never bored.”

Rob de Jung spent the summer working with the County of Grande Prairie as a summer student and a part of a five person GIS team.  The County takes data management seriously, assigning Rob as one of the custodians of their information systems, who was tasked with creating an address locator to work with their existing road network.  This task included significant QC/QA so that the County’s data conforms to provincially recognized standards (Alberta Municipal Data Sharing Partnership or the AMDSP), ensuring the County has a fully functioning routing system for Emergency services, and additionally for adoption into Google Maps.

Rob is back on campus now, ready for a final year and completion of his BGIS at Selkirk College.

Leslie Rowe spent the summer serving as a GIS Technician within the Information Management & Information Technology (IMIT) department of the Interior Health Authority (IHA) in Kelowna, BC. The IHA is a health service organisation that serves the southern interior of BC. It covers 216,000 sq. kilometres, supports a population of 742,00, is responsible for 7940 hospital beds and has a staff of over 19,000 people.

One of the major projects Leslie worked on involved the “Big Eight”. The Big Eight refers to the eight largest hospitals within the Interior Health Authority: Kelowna General, Royal Inland, Penticton General, Kootenay Boundary, Vernon Jubilee, Shuswap General, East Kootenay and Caribou Memorial.  Leslie worked to convert architectural building plans and related infrastructure data of the Big Eight hospitals into ArcGIS compatible data sets utilizing Geometric Networks so that the data can be used in infrastructure management, analysis, and 3D visualization.

The GIS instructional and research team is looking forward to another great year.  Have a great weekend everyone….and check back next week as more grads keep in touch, I’ll share more on what they’re doing.




We’re baaaaack

….for another semester!  Fresh from Christmas break, some are reeeeeeally eager to get back at it.

Others say they need more holiday.  But couldn’t we all use just a little more holiday, just some of the time?

It’s finally snowing here in the Kootenays, which gives conflicting thoughts to many who came here for that fluffy white stuff in the first place (So, Red or White, what’s your preference?).

But dedication to education trumps, and the classroom is full.

One thing is for certain, the students are fresh after a couple weeks of break, and with new courses and a new semester, it feels like a new beginning….albeit with some strong GIS skills already under their belts.

This semester includes courses like Internet mapping, remote sensing, advanced applications, databases, professional development, technical preparation (for research projects) and for those taking the BGIS, spatial stats and emerging trends.

So stay tuned for what’s coming up….and more student guest blog posts.



What are our 2013 ADGIS grads up to anyway?

One of the key reasons people come into our technical GIS program is they simply want a job.  A good job that is, something they enjoy.

As we wind down summer, and prepare for our 2013.14 school year, we inevitably get last minute questions about what our previous grads are doing:

  • “Soooo….do people actually get jobs in the GIS field?”
  • “Where do people end up working?”
  • “What types of things are they doing?”
  • “Do they like it?”
  • “What will I be doing when I graduate?”

Well, we can’t tell you for certain what you’ll be doing come next May, or promise you a job, but we can rely on the last few years of stats: our 2013 ADGIS grad class had 100% placement.  And our 2011 and 2012 grad classes had close to that.

This past year, we saw grads go to PEI, Banff, Fernie, Calgary, Kelowna, and of course, some elected to stay in the Kootenays.  Some are working for different levels of government (City of Calgary, City of Fernie, Regional District Kootenay Boundary, Regional District Central Okanagan, Banff National Park), some are working for industry (Teck, Interfor), we’ve also got Not-for-profit employed grads (Nature Conservancy Canada), and those working in Academia (UPEI, Selkirk College’s SGRC).  We had many more jobs and even offers come thru our co-op placement office than we did grads. We’re stoked people have landed great jobs, and continue to do so.

And we’re also excited about the transformational role GIS has played professionally, and personally with allowing people to land dream jobs, or stay in the Kootenays while working remotely, or doing things they just love.  As one grad said it recently in an email:

 “After three interviews I received three offer letters and once again, was able to sit back and pick the best option.  This is pretty much my dream job! I’m still a little bit in disbelief of how many doors the ADGIS program opened for me.”

Interested in knowing more?  We’ll highlight a few grads and their positions in the upcoming weeks to share inside detail. Stay tuned.