Gender Balance in the GIS World - 06/04/2018


Welcome to the second edition of GIS Professional for 2018! The first quarter has seen lots of developments in the field of locational data and technology across a wide range of industries, which we hope to cover in this edition.

Considering that the world recently celebrated International Women's Day, this edition is as good as any to include some perspectives on the topic of gender in the geospatial workplace. Personally, I like to think that the field of GIS attracts a more balanced professional community because it is a creative, multi-disciplinary, and out-of-the-box thinking discipline - one which is both technical and non-technical. While this might require some stretch of thinking, I also like to think that gender balance is more natural to the geospatial world since geographers and mapmakers alike are very much in-tune with and aware of the interdependent components which make up our ever-changing world - both human and natural.

Although, impressively enough, our industry is known to have a better gender balance than its IT counterpart, much more needs to be done. Therefore, this edition includes an article by Josie Hawkey (with assistance from regular contributor Nathan Heazlewood) who discusses some of the key considerations concerning the need to develop female leadership at the grassroots level. According to Josie, mentorship, flexible working arrangements, and policy change are essential if the industry is to retain female talent and potential industry leaders. On the same topic, this edition also includes a contribution from Holly Smith of the AGI Early Careers Network who shares some the wisdom which she gained while attending the recent Women in Geospatial Breakfast event which was co-organised by the OGC, the AGI and Geovation.

Aside from these articles, we have lots of other interesting pieces in this edition of GIS Professional. This includes the second installment of a three-part series by Tim Hayes, who focuses on GIS career opportunities within the world of consultancy (including the all-important ‘billable hour’ concept). Other articles topics include the potential of Cloud Data Services integration within the Scottish public sector, what it means to be a ‘Geographer in the CAD World’ (including valuable suggestions for overcoming the inherent misunderstanding between geospatial and design), as well as an interview with Paul Ramsey of CARTO on the potential of open-source in the enterprise environment.

As usual, this edition also covers some of the main industry news and updates, including the long-awaited release of QGIS 3.0, the recent partnership between Microsoft and Ordnance Survey, the announcement of an Irish National Space Strategy, as well as recent updates to the EuroGeographics EuroGlobalMap. Other news includes celebrations of Landsat-8’s five year anniversary in orbit, the outcome of the recent Uber/Waymo court battle, as well as the discovery of an ancient Mayan city using LiDAR technology.

Finally, also have regular contributions from Adena Schutzberg, Katie Decker, and Abigail Page, who, in light of the recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, discusses the ‘awakening’ of understanding within the geospatial industry of the important topic of data ethics.

I hope that you enjoy this edition of GIS Pro!

Regards, Niall Conway, Editor

This article was published in GIS Professional April 2018

Last updated: 13/12/2018