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A geospatial scientist is someone who uses various computer software programs and tools such as geographic information systems, global positioning systems (GPS), and other remote aerial technology sensors to gather geographic information. This helps them determine the best way to use the geographic physical space in which people exist.
Geospatial scientists also study and analyze how people utilize the physical space around them. They may for example study the spaces that exist between two cities, towns, neighborhoods, or even streets. They then measure and study how the usage of this space changes over time, which helps them determine how things like population, weather and climate conditions, and resources affected these changes.
The work of a geospatial scientist allows them to make decisions as to the best place to put a new school, daycare center, hospital, or bridge. By helping, many companies find the best and most efficient ways to use the world’s natural resources. This career is of growing importance to the Greenpeace initiative. A geospatial scientist literally helps to shape the city, state, country, and world in which people live.
Using geographic information systems or GIS technology, they create and produce tables, data, reports, and maps. They then use the reports to create schedules and budgets for projects related to the data. They keep up current GIS systems and formulate plans for possible future upgrades to the system. Geospatial scientists also provide expert technical information to businesses and other clientele while discussing possible solutions and other operational problems that may have already or potentially existed. They also provide technical support for the creation of mapping software for the geographic information systems.
Creating software, programming, and performing data analysis on the GIS is also the job of a geospatial scientist. They instruct and manage technicians and all other related personnel in GIS procedures. A geospatial scientist will also gather and assimilate all collected geographic and cartographic data that may include all potential green spaces, potential and current sources of pollutants, and utility locations for inclusion into maps. They also assess, watch, and model resources of the environment.
Ironically, geospatial scientists work more in comfortable offices sitting for extended periods indoors rather than outdoors. Geospatial scientists can find employment in a variety of different industries, both in the government and in private sectors. Research and development companies, consulting firms, and software and computing companies, are all industries that geospatial scientists work in. A standard 40-hour workweek of Monday through Friday is typical of these scientists; working overtime is only occasionally necessary to meet deadlines.
Someone wishing to be a geospatial scientist must have a strong interest in mapping and in the environment. Good reading and listening comprehension is crucial for geospatial scientists. The ability to understand the needs or desires of the client from written and oral reports is crucial. Without a clear understanding of this information, the wrong data may be collected, thus wasting resources. A geospatial scientist must also be able to communicate effectively with all related staff and clients. Being able to relay findings, both orally and in writing, must be done with effective communication so that all parties are on the same page.
Being able to think critically by using reasoning and logic to point out a solution’s strengths and weaknesses is also an important asset. A geospatial scientist must also have good judgment and decision-making skills as things in the field do not always align with things on paper. Another trait that makes a person a good geospatial scientist is the ability to relate events or pieces of data that are seemingly unrelated to solve a problem.
Being able to not only establish but also maintain relationships with both co-workers and clients is also something required in this field. Exact and accurate collection and analysis of all data are also necessary for any geospatial scientist. Working as a part of a team and meeting strict deadlines both weekly and daily is another requirement.
Introduction to GIS, introduction to geocomputing, GIS applications, and spatial and GIS analysis are just some of the courses that a person seeking a career as a geospatial scientist must take. A four-year degree in geospatial science, geography, or related physical science is all one needs to enter the field. The University of Texas, Dallas, Missouri State University, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, and the University of North Alabama, all offer degrees in those fields. The ASPRS has more information on training, education, and trends in the field of geospatial science.