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

Tag: GIS jobs

A glimpse of what our ADGIS grads are up to – Part 3

Highly self-motivated Katie James, while on her February reading break in Victoria, walked over to Stantec to inquire about possible GIS employment opportunities. Katie’s cold call worked out leading to a full-time position.  When I asked Katie about her experience so far, this is what she told me:

“It is undeniable that diving in head first is the way to learn. Working at a big company like Stantec has been so rewarding in it’s availability for learning opportunities. Since beginning here in April, I have learned many tips and tricks in ArcMap. One of my favourite tools is data driven pages – very useful for mapping routes.

I have fortunately found my niche in the office preparing field data for surveying using mobile mapcachescreating .gpx files, and using MapWel software to create .img files on GPS units. Additionally, I have worked closely on analyzing public transit routes for ridership volume and bus stop usage. Needless to say, data is messy and it has become very clear the importance of database functionality.

My experience has been nothing short of exciting. Everyday I learn something new, and what else could you really ask for?”


Barry McLane spent the summer working with the SGRC, providing mapping support to various community organizations throughout the Columbia River Basin. He also started his own cartography business; and published several maps for Tourism Rossland, the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society, and private developers.

“When I decided to go ahead with the Rossland trail guide, I contacted Tourism Rossland to make sure that I wouldn’t be stepping on any toes, as they already publish a brochure of the Rossland trails.

That courtesy call ended up landing me work with themcreating road biking and nordic skiing maps. That interaction with them further solidified just how important networking is. I think the initiative that I took with the KCTS and Tourism Rossland was ultimately what landed me the position at the SGRC.”

Check out some of Barry’s recent work at kootenaymaps.ca/projects.

Barry will be joining the ADGIS class next Friday (Septemebr 19th) to showcase the bridge between ArcGIS and Adobe Illustrator.


ADGIS grads working in the West Kootenays

Want to learn a little about a few of our ADGIS grads working locatlly?  Read on:

We at the Selkirk Geospatial Research Centre (SGRC), were fortunate to hire a few of our 2013 ADGIS grads to work on local projects here in Castlegar Kaela Perry is one intern for the SGRC, who writes:

“Working with the SGRC has been a great experience with learning how to be self directed and manage various projects. I’ve enjoyed working on outreach to promote the Columbia Basin Biodiversity Atlas reporter tools. I have been working on a number of different projects but one particularly interesting one involved defining the drawdown zones of the Arrow Lakes to help determine potential areas for a revegetation project”

Megan Deas is another intern who works out of Selkirk College for the Rural Development Institute (RDI), in Castlegar.  She explains one of her favourite projects:

“I work directly with small and medium sized business within the Columbia Basin to assist them in adopting digital technology. For example, one project I have done is working with Tabletree Enterprises, a company based in Creston that produces gourmet juices and sauces. They sell their products at specialty stores, grocery stores, and restaurants across North America. It was difficult for customers to find a restaurant that used their sauces or a store that sold their juice because on their old website they simply listed the addresses of these places. With the knowledge I gained during my GIS diploma of opensource mapping software, I created a product availability map for them to embed into their website (forthcoming) that allows potential customers to find their products much easier.”

Another SGRC intern, Bart Fyffe, (who writes about his internship on his blog) has recently accepted a full-time position at the Regional District Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) in Trail.  He discusses what he feels separated himself from the competition to land the GIS Technician position (roles and responsibilities include GIS support to planning/operations staff and the public as well as stewardship of the RDKB database):

“Above all: Practice and be proficient in all of your communications–written, verbal, cartographic.  It is easy to make professional grade documents with the software you are exposed to for written and cartographic communication, and practice makes perfect for verbal.  Being able to communicate effectively weighs very heavily in the success of the job hunt.”

In Grand Forks now works Adriana Cameron for Interfor as a GIS Technician.  Here’s what she’s saying about her job:

“I really like my GIS job at Interfor.  I mainly produce operational and planning maps using SQL developer, Cengea Resources and ESRI (ArcSDE, Arc Info).

The learning curve is quite steep. I have learned lots and have been under pressure to complete projects.

I think my forestry experience was the reason I landed this job”

And certainly not the last ADGIS grad working in the West Kootenays, but the final one we will discuss in this post, is Michelle West.   She created an ideal situation for herself, working from home in Nelson, for the Nature Conservancy of Canada based out of Alberta.

“I spend my day building maps requested by lots of different people for different projects, throughout Alberta. The interns send me their monitoring data and I fix it up and map it.  🙂   I am also working on a couple of other projects; one involving data restructure, clean up, editing and error checking and another where I am building google earth map sheets for Alberta using a iterative model I built. All very exciting. I am really enjoying the job and am learning and applying a lot of what I learned”

Stay tuned for more ADGIS grads working outside of the West Kootenays……..

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.


GIS Program Renewal Process

Right now we’re undergoing a significant GIS program renewal process.  This is something that I believe should be done frequently in an ever changing industry.

As part of this process we are:

  1. scrutinizing content for each course; what are our leaning objectives?  what do the students need to know?
  2. harnessing the real strengths of our GIS instructional team and SGRC research team (we’ve been building extensive programming, project management, advanced analysis, statistical, remote sensing and more, experience)
  3. adjusting course delivery timing and format (people need flexibility!)
  4. developing a short (6 course, 18 credit) online GIS Certificate.  This will give students an opportunity to add GIS to another discipline (known as “GIS Plus”, coined by our friend Tom Dool at the RDCK).  This is in addition to our existing ADGIS and BGIS certifications.
  5. ensuring we are not over-delivering (a 3 credit course should require 3-4 hours of time).  Students need a life (they come here to ski and bike, yo!)
  6. ensuring good transitioning and appropriate collaboration between courses and with our SGRC (GIS research).
  7. Sharing our amazing programs with the world.  We have a state of the art lab and incredible instructors in a truly amazing place (but lots of people don’t know this…yet!).

We’re open to input and feedback on this process.  Please connect with us to share your thoughts.

And why should you come here?  Well (besides the fact that we offer great programs), do you love to ski?

Powder at Red Mountain

Powder at Red Mountain

( you can downhill at Red or White or cross country at Blackjack or Castlegar Ski Club or Nelson Nordic Ski Club).

Do you love to mountain bike? (check out KCTS).  Or golf, or swim, or just love the outdoors?

Do you want to live in the Kootenays, BC and be a part of the beatnik Communities of Rossland or Nelson?

Do you want a rewarding and challenging job? Seriously, this is the place for you to learn GIS.

For more info and to apply, check our official website.