Richard Martin is a GIS Analyst at the National Trust.
I studied geography at both GCSE and A Level and then went on to study it at university before completing a Masters in GIS. I spent five years working at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and then spent five years living in the Middle East where I worked for Esri NEA and KEO International Consultants. I have been a Chartered Geographer (GIS) since 2017 and a deployable volunteer for MapAction since 2018.
I am part of the Conservation Information team which is accountable for delivering a coordinated approach to conservation across the whole organisation. The team researches client needs and develops innovative tools that allow a wide range of staff the ability to interact with spatial data, make decisions and work more effectively.
The main responsibility in this role has been to administer ArcGIS Online (AGOL) and understand how the organisation can benefit and deliver mobile data collection apps, story maps and web apps - producing both internal and external facing tools. The role is also responsible for analysing a wide range of internal and external data that helps the Trust understand its assets, from land to coastlines, buildings to trees and to enable strategic management decisions to be made. Outputs include interactive spreadsheets, maps, reports and dashboards.
The great thing about the role is that it doesn’t encompass a typical week – I could be working on a project, dealing with ad-hoc queries, designing a dashboard or out at a property testing/training a new tool.
Problem solving to find innovative solutions
Analytical skills- 3D visualisation skills are also useful (ArcScene, 3DS Max, SketchUp)
Presentation – from producing maps, designing dashboards to giving presentations.
There a number of teams operating within the Trust, such as archaeology, coast and marine, gardens and parks, countryside, environment and energy, farming, planning, nature and wildlife, legal, risk and compliance and operations. This list highlights that geography plays a diverse and fundamental part of this environmental/conservation charity. We could be focusing on coastal erosion one week to renewable energy sources the next.
Since joining MapAction, having an understanding of volcanoes, earthquakes or tsunami's has helped when dealing and responding to a disaster.
Get reading/playing! There is so much great material and opportunities available - take advantage of memberships with the AGI and RGS-IBG and the huge amounts of information now online in terms of journals, feeds and blogs.
From a GIS perspective, open source software has come on leaps and bounds and also includes a multitude of training material. Even major GIS suppliers such as Esri, now offer ‘Home’ editions and access to training material.
The same could be said for most careers, but the more effort you put in, the more rewarding the experience. I have made an effort to keep my skills up to date, practiced how to create better outputs and kept up with developments in technology. This has allowed me to be involved with a wider range, more advanced technologically and more interesting types of projects.
I come from a very geography focused family, with both my dad and brother having a passion for geography and the outdoors. Whether it was choosing GCSE’s, A Levels or my degree, geography was always the first choice.
I love the fact that you interact with geography every day, maybe without realising it, but it plays a massive part of our lives – ranging from politics to wars to the environment.
The diverse range of jobs available to those with a geographical background was one of the main reasons for studying the topic. Although I specialise in GIS, I have worked in the public, private and charity sectors, and lived in various parts of the UK as well as abroad. You are not restricted to one location or a specific type of job. Plus being involved with a subject that means you can help make the world a better place is an extremely rewarding experience.
Job title: GIS Analyst
Organisation: National Trust
Location: Swindon, UK
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