Critical GIS Skill # 8: Teamwork & Leadership

Posted by Intermap Technologies on Aug 30, 2016 7:00:00 AM

A GIS degree is technical and often attracts like-minded people. Schools do a great job of teaching those aspects of GIS including giving practical experience in GIS software applications like ESRI’s ArcGIS. However there are a lot of skills critical to a career in GIS that are not taught during the degree program, and that is what this blog series is designed to address.

Critical GIS Skill #8: Teamwork & Leadership

Colleges attempt to teach leadership and teamwork by creating groups and assigning team projects. A common group scenario in college is where someone takes the initiative to “lead” the project. Assignments are allocated to the remaining team members, and then the fun begins. Inevitably, assignment timelines slip and issues arise. It’s up to the leader or the group as a whole to ensure everyone keeps up with their assignments. But what frequently happens is a few of the team members accomplish the majority of the work. This is not teamwork and this is not leadership. What lesson are we teaching? As a GIS professional, you will run into similar situations. Here are some strategies to build a winning team.

Team Members: As in college, you don’t always get to choose your team members, but when you do, choose wisely. Continually be on the lookout for the “right” people. Choose people that are competent in their area of expertise yet have strong communication and people skills. If you don’t have a choice, know that all players have a place where they add the most value. Take the time to get to know your team members including their strengths and weaknesses. Place them in positions where they add the most value to your team, then help them grow as a team member.

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Topics: GIS, Career, technologies

Critical GIS Skill # 7: Keeping Up With Tools & Technology

Posted by Intermap Technologies on Aug 23, 2016 7:00:00 AM

A GIS degree is technical and often attracts like-minded people. Schools do a great job of teaching those aspects of GIS including giving practical experience in GIS software applications like ESRI’s ArcGIS. However there are a lot of skills critical to a career in GIS that are not taught during the degree program, and that is what this blog series is designed to address.

Critical GIS Skill #7: Keeping up with tools and technology

Tools and technologies are supposed to make our lives easier and more efficient. We know that often doesn’t happen. In fact, we often work longer and harder with less to show than say 5-10 years ago. I remember in high school hearing that technology in the future will allow us to work an 8 hour work week – and the professor asked, what were we going to do with your “extra” leisure time? We all know that prophecy didn’t come true.


The GIS professional has to be skilled in many tools and technologies to perform their job effectively. Chances are if you have been out of school for more than 4-5 years, and have not kept up with the latest technologies, you are getting farther behind. Here is a list of some of the tools and technologies you need to update in order to grow in your field.

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Topics: GIS, DEM, Geospatial Software, Geospatial Audit, technologies

Critical GIS Skill # 6: The Power of Questions

Posted by Intermap Technologies on Aug 16, 2016 7:00:00 AM

A GIS degree is technical and often attracts like-minded people. Schools do a great job of teaching those aspects of GIS including giving practical experience in GIS software applications like ESRI’s ArcGIS. However there are a lot of skills critical to a career in GIS that are not taught during the degree program, and that is what this blog series is designed to address.

Critical GIS Skill #6: The power of questions

If you have children at home around the ages of 3-4 or older, you probably remember the “Whys?” Why do I have to go to bed at 8? Why can’t I watch TV? Why do I have to eat lima beans (I’m sure I often asked that one)? That is our first introduction into asking questions. But, were you ever taught how to ask empowering questions? I doubt it. Parents often welcome questions initially, but after the 5th why or so, it gets old. So as children we often pick up the subliminal message that you should not ask too many questions. As we move to grade school and beyond, teachers are often concerned more about getting through a curriculum rather than helping children to ask effective questions. So by the time we enter adulthood and college, we are often conditioned to not ask questions, not even good questions.

I still remembering listening to Tony Robbin’s “Personal Power” audio program many years ago. One of the most impactful concepts he discusses in the program is the power of questions. It was my adult education on asking empowering questions. While you were earning your GIS degree, I’m sure some professors welcomed questions, while others considered them a nuisance. But were you ever taught how to ask effective questions? Questions that get to the heart of a client’s problem rather than just revealing the surface problem? I’ll bet not. In my college classes that contained projects, I was always given the problem. There was never a lecture on asking effective questions. Asking the right questions throughout your career will be one of the major determining factors in your success as a GIS professional. Here are some strategies for asking more effective questions.

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Topics: GIS, technologies, Skill

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