Profile - Boris Kirov
How long have you been doing your current job, and what do you do?
I started at Wellington City Council (WCC) in August 2014 after some time as a GIS Consultant at Critchlow. Although my job title is missing “spatial” or “GIS”, my current work is even more tied to the location analytics than ever before. How? Instead of heavily relying on just spatial information, this time I am utilising the non-spatial data as well in my Business Intelligence (BI) role. As we all know, everything happens somewhere which means, any piece of information can be tracked down to a specific location. And once that location is known and the previously spreadsheet-only data is mapped, spatial analytics can do the real magic. It’s sort of like a big jigsaw puzzle – you can get a nice GIS picture with 1000 pieces or you can get a glorious GIS/BI masterpiece with 10 000 pieces.
What made you want to work in the spatial sciences?
Certainly my love for information sciences in general played a key role, but because I enjoy life outside of work as well I didn’t want to end up in a dungeon-like office writing lines and lines of code 24/7.
I was looking for something more visually appealing and attractive, yet something as close to traditional information sciences as possible. The solution came from my father, a professional land surveyor who (just like me) also fell in love with digital world and then pointed me to the right direction - GIS. A short look at what spatial sciences could offer to this world made the final decision about my future quite easy and straightforward.
How did you first get involved in the spatial sciences?
My first full-blown involvement in spatial sciences happened during my time at university when one of my professors came to me asking for my help with his research. Naturally I couldn’t refuse, and I helped him in his quest to deliver a precise, highly detailed 3D (more like 2.5D) geologic map of brown coal deposits near one of the largest mining cities in my country.
You’re originally from Slovakia - what made you want to move to New Zealand?
The rapidly evolving spatial industry + fantastic job opportunities + breathtaking nature + multicultural population = happy, enjoyable life. Simple as that.
What did you study and how did it help you get to where you are now?
I spent nine long years at university preparing for this job! For five years I worked on a Masters Degree in Geodesy, Cartography and GIS, and then I put in an additional four years completing a PhD in Mining, Surveying and Geodesy specialising in GIS.
You might be asking – why? Why “waste” so much time at school when experience in this field is much more valuable? Well, the reason was simple – participating in research taught me not to give up at the first obstacle but instead, to use that obstacle as a catalyst, as a motivation to solve the problem as quickly and as effectively as possible.
What is the most interesting project you’ve ever worked on?
One of the most interesting projects I have been given an opportunity to work on is a centralised property dataset that links to other relevant sources of information – such as drainage, rates, valuation data. Or an organisation-wide overhaul of spatial metadata that was cleaned and converted into an ISO 19139 Metadata standard. Or the communities mapping that identified the key demographic groups within the Wellington City Region and their natural “ecosystems”. Or… I can continue on and on but I think you’ve got the picture – there are simply no ‘dull’ or ‘boring’ projects in the field of geoscience that I have worked on and each and every one has given me new and fresh ideas on how to tackle a location-based analysis.
What do you like most about New Zealand?
New Zealand is the last true paradise on Earth and I can’t even express how grateful I am to be here. Yes, it is far away from the rest of the civilization and yes, it isn’t particularly huge. But it is a place I can happily call home and will protect at all costs!
What advice would you give anyone considering a move to New Zealand?
Take a leap of faith – I am pretty sure you won’t regret it!