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What Does a GIS Coordinator Do?

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  • Written By: T. Briseno
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 24 March 2014
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A GIS coordinator manages the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology for a company or region. Applications for GIS software are extensive and international, and the work of a GIS coordinator can be in the fields of business, engineering, and humanitarian relief, among many others. Implementing work based on outputs of GIS surveys and projections and applying principles of geography with planning and personnel are general tasks of a GIS coordinator.

Many computer and handheld application users are familiar with GIS technologies, such as mapping locations or tracking weather patterns, for example. Software technologists and trained geographers create multi-layered tools for performing virtual surveys of land and environmental conditions. It is the work of a GIS coordinator to utilize these technologies for particular assignments or contracts.

Some coordinator positions center on research or education activities and develop means to study conditions for proposed or future developments. In areas that lack usable land for building or infrastructure projects, a GIS coordinator may evaluate conditions for potential foundational or excavating potentials. Site reuse in areas of land damaged by environmental or industrial events also may be studied by coordinated GIS teams.

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Providing specific solutions for civil, commercial, or sustainable development also may be within a GIS coordinator’s role. A public works or transportation plan for a region typically would need a thorough study and planning proposal before breaking ground on a project, and a coordinator may review the natural resources and characteristics through technology mapping as well as investigate manpower and brainpower resources. Large-scale industrial or commercial venues generally necessitate the same planning, as do projects focused on land use provision for communities worldwide.

Utilizing geographic information system technology at the most micro, or local, level to the most broad, or macro, level is generally an ability of a trained GIS coordinator. Translating the complexity of a region’s geography as well as the layers of GIS imaging available through software applications, often makes the role of coordinator both hands on and virtual. Some coordinators may focus primarily on developing actual projects from extensive GIS modeling and study, while others may coordinate from a computer station while delegating project planning activities to those in the respective fields.

Industries that enlist the skills of a GIS coordinator include civil, aerospace, and industrial engineering. Many positions also exist at the government level in order to develop interactive and print maps for navigation and boundary identification. Other coordinators are called to serve as needed in response to geographic events such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods that may require the remapping of locales for meeting the immediate and long-term needs of affected populations.

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