Read our interview with Neil Neigenfind, a GIS specialist, to learn all about what his role involves.
What do you do at work on an average day?
I tend to get involved with the creation and/or application of new GIS solutions and technologies, so I do a lot of planning and working with other people throughout the Trust to understand their needs and how GIS can help them. However, on an average day myself and the rest of the GIS Specialists do anything from creating maps (both paper and web-maps) for parts of the Trust to managing gigabytes of geographic data about our waterways!
What do you like about working in this role?
I’ve always been interested in computers and physical geography, so I like having the opportunity to help others by helping them understand the world around them through maps and information.
What challenges do you face in your job?
The biggest challenges I face can be managing several different projects at once. I have to stay very organised to keep on top of it all!
What skills do you think you need to do this job?
My role in particular relies on my ability to think critically—it can be very challenging to understand the Trust’s internal needs (and by extension what our customers need!) and translate that using constantly emerging technology. It’s also important to understand how computers manage data, particularly spatial information.
What is a typical career path for this role?
Typically, it would involve having at least a good first degree and a Masters in a relevant area such as Computer Science or a physical science like Geography or Environmental Science. Out of university, one would probably start doing simpler tasks such as creating maps (also known as cartography) or managing smaller databases before moving on to more responsibilities such as developing GIS applications or managing others.
What did you do in your past that helped you to get this job?
I’d like to say it’s my excellent GIS skills, but honestly, I think it was just as important to show that I’m a team player who works well with others but can also get the job done.
Do you think this job will change in the future? If so how?
The technology is constantly changing. At the moment, things are moving towards the interconnected world and the concept of the “Internet of Things”. I am currently working on designing a canal towpath route finder web application that will interact with the ERDF-funded City of Wolverhampton “Smart City” intelligent infrastructure project. Obviously, projects like this rely heavily on geographic information, so the need for people to work in GIS will be around for a long time.
Last date edited: 14 April 2021