Talia Mather - Geospatial career profile

Talia is studying for a Bachelor of Science (Majoring in Environmental Science and GIS) at the University of Auckland

Geospatial student Talia Mather


  • Tertiary Institute: University of Auckland
  • What Year 13 school subjects did you take: Geography, Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, History
  • What Secondary School did you attend: Howick College

Why have you chosen to study GIS?

I took a GIS course in my first year of university and enjoyed it so much that I changed one of my majors to GIS. I find it exciting and useful to apply my Environmental Science knowledge through GIS and to explain, visualise, and communicate environmental concepts. The wide variety of GIS applications mean there are always new contexts, programmes, and concepts to learn about. I also appreciate the problem-solving aspect of GIS to overcome occasional technical difficulties, figure out software, and plan how I will approach a task to reach an end-goal. I also enjoy the creative component of providing clear visualisations to communicate quite complex ideas and information. My degree feels very relevant for the 21st century due to the wide range of modern technologies used in GIS, and I know it will be extremely useful for my future career.

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

GIS is crucial to increasing my future career options. I know that GIS is an in-demand skill and a growing field that will add a lot of value to my degree and increase my job prospects and choice once I graduate. It has widened my possible career choices. Many employers in a wide variety of fields use GIS software, which makes knowing skills and concepts before graduation valuable.

How has studying GIS shaped your career goals?

I never thought about majoring in GIS until I took a first-year GIS course at university. I thought I would have a job solely in Environmental Science or Environmental Management but studying GIS has changed my goals significantly. I always wanted to use my science knowledge to communicate complex ideas and help communities, and now I know this is possible through GIS. I want to use GIS in my future career in some way, possibly as a geospatial analyst.

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

I would encourage future students considering adding a GIS component to their studies to keep an open mind and give it a go! I was hesitant to take GIS at first because it seemed like you had to know a lot about computers, programming, and statistics before you started, but you can learn so much as you go that it hasn’t ended up being an issue for me. GIS has so many applications that there is sure to be something that interests everyone. Even if you don’t want to pursue a dedicated GIS field you will likely find it useful, as many different industries are taking advantage of GIS software.

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

The Toitū Te Whenua LINZ external tertiary GIS scholarship has made a big difference to my study this year. It has eased financial pressure, and has motivated me to work as hard as I can and try my best in my last year of GIS study. I am thankful for the scholarship as it is helping me to achieve my goal of undertaking postgraduate study in Environmental Science, which will have a GIS component