Geospatial careers: list of companies

I have published a curated list of companies in geospatial industry which you can use when looking for a job. The list is sorted by country and with some extent by industry domain. I have compiled it over many years while I was a part of GIS industry.

https://github.com/AlexArcPy/geospatial-careers

Each company is documented in format of [company website]: very brief description of what they do. Obviously quite a few companies work with a variety things so they can be hard to categorize. A company may have jobs for GIS developers, digital mappers, photogrammetry experts, machine learning professionals, and so forth. I suggest exploring their home page to learn more about them. It is also possible that a company did just one thing when this list was published, but then they expanded and now advertize for other job titles, too.

It is also possible that a company is located under a certain country section, but may have offices in other countries, too. However, keep in mind that they may look for geospatial positions only in a particular country/office. Company description is not comprehensive: a company may do many other things apart from geospatial related operations, but I won’t mention them as they are irrelevant in this context. Some companies may permit working remotely. Again, please explore the company website to double-check. Due to the dynamic nature of the Internet, if the URL is broken, just use a web search engine to find a company’s website.

This page won’t be updated on a regular basis so it is pretty static. If you know a company in geospatial sector, by all means, please do submit a pull request so we could expand this list. The geospatial industry is fairly small so I thought sharing this list with the community would benefit both the companies looking for talent and peer professionals looking for a job.

Good luck with job hunting!

Useful resources in computer science/math for GIS Analysts

A lot of people who are studying GIS at school or already working as GIS analysts or GIS consultants often wonder what kind of competence will help to be attractive for employers and what domains of expertise are going to be in demand in the foreseeable future.

Usually the kind of questions GIS professionals ask is how much a GIS analyst should learn from other domains. So, we are wondering how much math, statistics, programming, and computer science should GIS analysts learn. Naturally, knowing what kind of GIS specific expertise is in demand is also very helpful. I have several posts on how get better at GIS here, here, and here.

To know what kind of GIS tools can do what kind of job is definitely helpful. This is much like a woodworker should know what kind of tools he has in his toolbox and what tools are available in the woodworking shop. Finding an appropriate tool for a certain job is not so hard nowadays with the Internet search engine and QA sites. However, the ability to understand both how data processing tools work and what happens behind the scenes to be able to interpret the analysis results is indispensable.

What is often true for many GIS analysts is that during their studies the main focus was on the GIS techniques and tools while math and CS courses were supplementary. This makes sense and the graduates are indeed most often competent GIS professionals capable of operating various GIS software suites, provide user support, and perform all kind of spatial analysis. However, it is also possible that in a career change, a person who hasn’t done any studies on GIS, is working as a GIS analyst and needs to catch up a bit. For those people who feel that they lack background GIS competence that they should had a chance to learn during their studies, or for you who just want to learn something that could help to have a broader view and give a deeper understanding of the GIS, I have compiled a list of useful links and books. Please enjoy!

There are lots of great questions answered on the GIS.SE web site; here is just a few:

Great books:

Spatial Mathematics: Theory and Practice through Mapping (2013)
This book provides gentle introduction into some mathematical concepts with focus on mapping and might be a good book to start learning math in GIS. No advanced background in math is required and high-school math competence will be sufficient.

Table of contents

  • Geometry of the Sphere
  • Location, Trigonometry, and Measurement of the Sphere
  • Transformations: Analysis and Raster/Vector Formats
  • Replication of Results: Color and Number
  • Scale
  • Partitioning of Data: Classification and Analysis
  • Visualizing Hierarchies
  • Distribution of Data: Selected Concepts
  • Map Projections
  • Integrating Past, Present, and Future Approaches

Mathematical Techniques in GIS, Second Edition (2014)
This book gives you a fairly deep understanding of the math concepts that are applicable in GIS. To follow the first 5 chapters, you don’t need any math except high school math. Later on, the book assumes that you have good knowledge of math at the level of a college Algebra II course. If you feel that it gets hard to read, take an Algebra II course online at Khan Academy or watch some videos from MIT to catch up first and then get back to the book. What I really liked about this book is that there are plenty of applicable examples on how to implement certain mathematical algorithms to solve the basic GIS problems such as point in polygon problem, finding if lines are intersecting and calculating area of overlap between two polygons. This could be particularly useful for GIS analysts who are trying to develop own GIS tools and are looking for some background on where to get started with the theory behind the spatial algorithms.

Table of contents

  • Characteristics of Geographic Information
  • Numbers and Numerical Analysis
  • Algebra: Treating Numbers as Symbols
  • The Geometry of Common Shapes
  • Plane and Spherical Trigonometry
  • Differential and Integral Calculus
  • Matrices and Determinants
  • Vectors
  • Curves and Surfaces
  • 2D/3D Transformations
  • Map Projections
  • Basic Statistics
  • Correlation and Regression
  • Best-Fit Solutions

GIS: A Computing Perspective, Second Edition (2004)
The book is a bit dated, but it is probably the best book in computer science for a GIS professional. It provides very deep understanding of the computational aspects that are used in GIS.

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Fundamental database concepts
  • Fundamental spatial concepts
  • Models of geospatial information
  • Representation and algorithms
  • Structures and access methods
  • Architectures
  • Interfaces
  • Spatial reasoning and uncertainty
  • Time

Practical GIS Analysis (2002)
This book is a unique example of a book for GIS professionals who want to see how the basic GIS algorithms and tools work. The exercises that follow give readers a chance to execute many common GIS algorithms by hand which let truly understand even some complex operations such as generating TIN or finding the shortest path on a street network. The software used as a reference is ArcView GIS 3, but it is still relevant as the GIS concepts haven’t changed much since then.

Table of contents

  • GIS Data Models
  • GIS Tabular Analysis
  • Point Analysis
  • Line Analysis
  • Network Analysis
  • Dynamic Segmentation
  • Polygon Analysis
  • Grid Analysis
  • Image Analysis Basics
  • Vector Exercises
  • Grid Exercises
  • Saving Time in GIS Analysis

Maths for Map Makers (2004)
I haven’t read this book so don’t have anything to comment on this. Sorry!

Table of contents

  • Plane Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Plane Coordinates
  • Problems in Three Dimensions
  • Areas and Volumes
  • Matrices
  • Vectors
  • Conic Sections
  • Spherical Trigonometry
  • Solution of Equations
  • Least Squares Estimation
  • References
  • Least Squares models for the general case
  • Notation for Least Squares

Exploring Spatial Analysis in GIS (1996)
I haven’t read this book either. I guess this one might be hard to find, but have listed it here just in case.

Good luck with the readings!

Open Source GIS Virtual Machine

So here is another virtual machine with a lot of preconfigured open source GIS software. I have written about another similar project – GISVM – here. This virtual machine, in turn, is called Arramagong and is based on the XUbuntu operating system. It gives you access to a lot of open source geospatial software; furthermore, you do not have to install anything there since all the software has been already preinstalled and preconfigured for you. This machine has only free software, which makes it possible to freely distribute the virtual machine files after making your own modifications.

I found it worth checking out: many open source GIS products can be used together with ESRI software which allows you to take advantage of the open source software platform and benefit from powerful functionality of ESRI GIS products (check posts on binding ArcSDE and PostgreSQL as well as ArcGIS Server and OpenLayers).

You can download this machine from the OSGeo Web site. Again, Sun VirtualBox or VMWare Player might be used to get started with the virtual machine file.

So here is another virtual machine with a lot of preconfigured open source GIS software. I have written about another similar project – GISVM – here. This virtual machine, in turn, is called Arramagong and is based on the XUbuntu operating system. It gives you access to a lot of open source geospatial software; furthermore, you do not have to install anything there since all the software has already been preinstalled and preconfigured for you. This machine has only free software, which makes it possible to freely distribute the virtual machine files after making your own modifications.

I found it worth checking out: many open source GIS products can be used together with ESRI software which allows you to take advantage of the open source software platform and benefit from powerful functionality of ESRI GIS products (check posts on binding ArcSDE and PostgreSQL as well as ArcGIS Server and OpenLayers).

You can download this machine from the OSGeo Web site. Again, Sun VirtualBox or VMWare Player might be used to get started with the virtual machine file.

ESRI ArcGIS Server Viewer

 

There are many projects for which it is necessary to create a web mapping application, which can combine GIS data from several sources, have different GIS tools, be lightweight and be accessible via standard Web browsers. Previously, to create such an application, GIS developers had to create their own custom GIS tools. However, now there is a web application that includes the most frequently used desktop GIS tools in the web format. It is ESRI Sample .NET Viewer, which is basically a web mapping application built on top of the ArcGIS Server .NET Web Application Developer Framework 9.3 SP1. Moreover, this viewer was adopted as a viewer for another ESRI GIS Server product – GIS Portal Toolkit. Thus, if you work with this product, it is worth taking a look on the ESRI Sample Map Viewer code as well.

ESRI Sample Viewer is available for download from the ESRI Resouce center.

In the zipped file, there is a .pdf file with detailed and very clear instructions on the application deployment and viewer configuration. The source code for all GIS tasks is provided as well. It is necessary to have ArcGIS Server 9.3 SP1 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 installed.

There are many projects for which it is necessary to create a web mapping application, which can combine GIS data from several sources, have different GIS tools, be lightweight and be accessible via standard Web browsers. Previously, to create such an application, GIS developers had to create their own custom GIS tools. However, now there is a web application that includes the most frequently used desktop GIS tools in the web format. It is ESRI Sample .NET Viewer, which is basically a web mapping application built on top of the ArcGIS Server .NET Web Application Developer Framework 9.3 SP1. Moreover, this viewer was adopted as a viewer for another ESRI GIS Server product – GIS Portal Toolkit. Thus, if you work with this product, it is worth taking a look on the ESRI Sample Map Viewer code as well.

Spatial analysis books

There are many books on the topic of spatial analysis; some of them are very comprehensive and address various issues – spatial statistics, network analysis, cell-based raster analysis, to mention just a few. Among those books, I should emphasize the importance of the book I have been reading lately – Geospatial Analysis – a comprehensive guide, by de Smith, Goodchild, and Longley. Many people doing research by using geographical tools might find this geospatial analysis book extremely useful. Even if you work with the specific type of analysis by using a certain open source or a popular commercial GIS product (for example, using ESRI Geostatistical Analyst® for coverage analysis), you could get a deeper understanding of raster data properties and learn some more theory behind the interpolation methods you use.

The book is available in a Web version as a compiled book in the HTML format (for free) as well as a printable .pdf file (for purchase). This book is very well structured and it is very easy to navigate among different chapters. Personally, I have found much of value in the network analysis section: one can find algorithms description, location and service area problems analysis, and location network analysis concerns. I would advise you to spend some time on reading the book, which is the most comprehensive guide on geospatial analysis I have ever seen.

Another just published book on spatial statistics includes a very interesting chapter about using ESRI tools from ArcGIS Spatial Statistics toolbox. This book will be useful  for anyone who interested in working with spatial statistics and learning more about the ArcGIS geoprocessing tools. This chapter is available for free at the Springer web site.

There are a lot of books on spatial analysis topic, many of them are very comprehensive and address various issues – spatial statistics, network analysis, cell-based raster analysis just to mention a few. Among those books, I should emphasize the importance of the book I have checked lately – Geospatial Analysis – a comprehensive guide Many people doing research by using geographical tools might find this geospatial analysis book extremely useful. If you work with the specific type of analysis, for example, geosurface analysis, you could get a deeper understanding of raster properties and learn some more theory behind the tool.

The book is available in the Web version as a compiled book in the HTML format as well as .pdf. This book is very well structured and it is very easy to navigate among different chapters. Personally, I have found much of value in network analysis chapter: one can find algorithms description, location and service area problems analysis, and location network analysis. I advise to spend some time on reading the book, the most comprehensive guide on geospatial analysis I have ever seen.

Preconfigured virtual machine with GIS software

I am not a big fan of Linux and open source software. However, many would find it useful to take a look at a preconfigured virtual machine with a dozen of pieces of GIS software. This machine is provided in the VMWare format and can be opened by using a free client, VMWare Player, which can be downloaded from the VMWare website. This geographical information systems virtual machine (GIS VM) is available in two editions: GIS Desktop (which includes both desktop and server GIS software such as PostgreSQL, PostGIS, GeoServer, Mapserver, FWTools, QGIS, GRASS, gvSIG, uDIG, Kosmo, OpenJump with the Ubuntu Desktop as an operating system) and GIS Server (which includes only server software such as Apache, MySQL, Php,Tomcat,PostgreSQL, PostGIS, GeoServer, Mapserver, deegree, and Geonetwork with the Ubuntu Server as an operating system). The virtual machine can basically be run by using any client that can handle VMWare image files.

Using this virtual machine with various GIS applications may be a good point to start learning GIS concepts or just to get started with open source GIS. Learning PostgreSQL can be useful for people working with ESRI technologies as well, because this RDBMS is supported since ArcSDE 9.3. Java-based Web technology like Tomcat, the most widely used Web server ever Apache, and a fairly advanced programming language PHP – all those things are widely used and it is very good to become familiar with them, in order to extend one’s IT/GIS expertise. Finally, learning something new is often a lot of fun. The file size is around 1GB, so check your Internet connection speed first, since I am sure there are people out there still using dial-up connections!

Search for information

One would agree that we live in the century of information. He who owns information owns everything, so to speak. Due to the pervasive spread of the Internet, the access to information is becoming even easier. Google revolutionized the art of information retrieval.  Now ordinary users can read thousands of books and edit documents online, as well as participate in the development of Internet resources.

The way one searches for information often matters if there are any time constraints. Since the answers to many of our questions are available via the Internet, our search capabilities would define our success.  Depending upon how fast one can find an answer to a question, one can close a technical support ticket faster or find a piece of software one needs in order to complete a certain task on a computer in a timely manner, for example.

The GIS community can also benefit greatly from the ability to search the web quickly, in addition to having other skills as noted in the excellent article by Michalis Avraam. Discussion on the question of why it is better to use an English operating system and software aside, we could move directly to the syntax of the search.

Basic info about Internet searching on Google can be found at Google’s web search help page here. More advanced help for search on Google can be found at the same web site here. A great article on how to use Google’s advanced query syntax to get results quickly is here. Another great article on efficient google searches is here.