Rachael Nilsson - Geospatial careers profile

Rachael is a Graduate GIS Analyst at Tonkin & Taylor, starting early 2023

GIS graduate Rachael Nilsson


  • Employer: Tonkin & Taylor
  • Job Title: Graduate GIS Analyst (starting early 2023)
  • Qualification and GIS component studying for: Master of Disaster Risk and Resilience (MDRR)
  • Tertiary Institute: University of Canterbury

What year 13 school subjects did you take?

Sciences, Statistics and English.

What secondary school did you attend?

Marian College, Christchurch

How important is GIS for your future career options and why?

GIS is foundational to my future career path. It has enabled me to develop specific skills as a GIS analyst, and also the skill of interpreting and displaying data. These skills span a diverse range of fields including environmental, disaster, public health, engineering and planning.

How has studying GIS shaped your career goals?

Studying GIS has shaped my career goals by incorporating a practical component to my areas of interest. Being able to analyse spatial data has given me the practical skills to follow my interests in the workforce, in an exciting and emerging field.

What advice would you give to future students considering adding a GIS component to their studies?

GIS is continually evolving, and you will need to as well! Be prepared to be open-minded and find a niche which drives your interests.

Last year you successfully applied for a Toitū te Whenua LINZ external tertiary GIS scholarship. What difference has this made to you and your GIS study courses?

I am grateful to Toitū te Whenua to have received a GIS scholarship. It not only practically helped in a financial sense going into my master’s degree, but receiving this scholarship from the primary agency for location information in Aotearoa was valuable recognition for my studies.