Will Jones - Geospatial graduate profile

Will Jones is a geospatial developer at Orbica.

GIS graduate Will Jones
  • Employer: Orbica
  • Job Title: Geospatial Developer
  • Qualification(s): BSc Geology, PGDip Geography (Distinction)
  • Tertiary Institute(s): University of Canterbury, Victoria University of Wellington
  • What Year 13 school subjects did you take? Painting, Calculus, Biology, Physics, Physical Education
  • What Secondary School did you attend? Cashmere High School

Why did you choose to study GIS?

I discovered GIS at university and really enjoyed the mix of sciencey and arty components combined with the cool tutorials that you follow along with during the courses. The first project I did at university was finding a location for a rubbish dump within a region based on criteria such as ground water depth and distance from residential areas. This logical task really appealed to me on one level and then presenting the findings cartographically was another challenge that I liked in a completely different sense. The feeling of making a map is very rewarding creatively.

What are some of the benefits you’ve experienced from studying GIS?

Something that has benefited me from working in Geospatial Consulting is that almost everything has a location, so you get exposed to a wide range of industries and projects. From eradicating pests on Pacific Islands, to rebuilding after the Kaikoura earthquake recovery, to optimising freight shipping globally, and everything in between. This keeps work interesting by exposing me to new technologies and problems to solve, with plenty of learning along the way.

The main downside of this is that it can be difficult to explain what I do to my grandparents haha.

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

It is a focus for me along with other skills that help me in geospatial consulting such as business analysis and project management. I am also focussing on web development, automation, and databases because they go hand in hand with spatial technologies.

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

To see GIS as a tool that they can use where even having a basic understanding can help in many other areas. Recently two friends, a Civil Engineer and a Graphic Designer have separately told me about their experiences in their jobs with GIS software and really enjoying it. Take this tool and apply it to whatever you are interested in.

I hear you are working in Berlin for NZ company Orbica: Location Data Intelligence Solutions.  Tell us a bit about that and how postgrad GIS studies at the University of Canterbury have helped for work there.

I reached out to Orbica in 2017 while doing postgrad GIS studies to do an internship with them and have been there since as a Geospatial Developer. I’ve been working for them in Berlin for a year now which has been a great opportunity. When I started in Berlin it was just myself and Peter and now we have three more colleagues including an intern that I am mentoring which is nice. I found the postgrad GIS course to be hugely helpful in growing my skills. I would highly recommend doing it if you are looking for GIS to be your focus.