Life in the Fast Lane for Esri Product Engineer Rohan

One of the great things about my role with Esri is the opportunity to interact with employees around the globe—in this case, some 8,300 miles away. Rohan Ganapathy, a product engineer in the Esri R&D Center–Sharjah, tells us about his work since joining Esri in May 2014 and his passion for Formula 1 racing.

How did you end up at Esri?

I was working for a GIS and mapping company called Fugro MAPS as a Product Support Executive for software called PromptServer. I worked mainly on the client side of this software and helped out with testing during its development in Sharjah. This Esri office was just a floor above MAPS.

After I left MAPS in 2013, I met with the general manager for the Esri R&D Center about a possible position as a product engineer. I was eager to take this, as I had experience with Esri software from the development side.

Tell me about your role—what keeps you challenged and what your involvement with the teams in Redlands is.

As a product engineer, I test the fixes built by programmers on various issues or bugs in the software. On software that is commercially released, we look at ways to enhance the user’s process flows. If any issues are reported by clients or other product engineers, the programmers fix them. I test these fixes to make sure they work and do not break or cause issues in existing processes. I also test the additions and enhancements for the upcoming releases and patches.

What I like about my role is knowing there will always be something new to look at. At work, anything new on the development side is a challenge and I like that. Be it a new raster type or a new enhancement that gets a user faster to his/her end result, or just simple usage of a new version of an existing process/analysis, there are constantly new projects to work on.

We have a high level of collaboration with the Redlands team. We have weekly meetings on the progress of development or various fixes. This allows us to prioritize work based on the requirement.

I understand you recently served as a marshal at the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix. What was that experience like? How did you get involved?

Randall and Rohan at their first Grand Prix together in 2011.

I have been a Formula 1 fan since as long as I can remember. It just fascinated me and I’ve followed it ever since. The sport is not just 22 cars going around a track for 50+ laps—there is a lot of strategy by the teams and skill of the drivers involved. The first Grand Prix at Abu Dhabi was one of the best experiences I have had as a spectator, and I watched the second one as well from the grand stands. Little did I know my colleague Randall was actually marshalling that particular race. He knew I was a huge Formula 1 fan, and as he was a post chief he was able to arrange it so I could join his team. It was a far better experience than being a spectator.

As marshals we get to stand right next to the track and see the cars whizzing past us at over 200 mph. Twenty two Formula 1 cars zipping by you at that high of a speed is an adrenaline rush in its own class.

I am the intervention chief at my post and have a team of five intervention marshals. We have been marshalling for the past four Grand Prix’s and are a pretty experienced bunch. We have been lucky to get a post right next to the starting grid—we get a bird’s eye view of the first corner as the cars get off the grid all jostling for position.

Formula 1 is a huge event and the media coverage is global, so all marshals and safety crews are well trained in case of any emergency. As marshals we are responsible for the removal of the driver and retrieval of the car(s) and any debris on the track in case of any incident in our sector. The faster we clear the track, the shorter the time for the cars lapping behind a safety car. A race without incidents is always a good race. The last race was the sixth one and I’m looking forward to being involved in many more.

Is there anything else about the Sharjah office and the work experience you would like to add?

It has been about ten months since I joined and I can’t think of a better place I’d rather be.

Join Rohan and the team in the Esri R&D Center-Sharjah. We currently have two product engineer positions open. Learn more about the jobs and apply online.

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Holiday Traditions Around the World, Thanks to Esri Story Maps

One of the things that’s so cool about working at Esri is our employees: we have countless opportunities to meet and collaborate with people from all over the world. Currently our workforce of 3,100 employees hails from 70 countries.

Shortly after hearing the first Christmas carol of the season (I believe it was a week or so before Thanksgiving!), I started to wonder about holiday traditions and celebrations in other parts of the world. What type of music is indigenous to my colleagues’ native countries? Did they grow up hanging lights around their houses like we do in the US?

These story maps gave me the answers.

Santas Around the World
Smithsonian Folkways Holiday Music Map
Smithsonian Holiday Decorations Map
10 Great Christmas Markets in Europe
Sweet 16–Holiday Trees That Amaze
 

Regardless of where you’re from and how you celebrate this special time of year, I hope you enjoy learning more about holiday traditions around the world.

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Don’t Put Your Job Hunt on Hold During the Holidays

Esri HR Partners Kristin, left, and Megan

If you’re like most of us at this time of year, you’re probably feeling a bit frazzled by the extra demands on your time. But if finding your dream job is on your to-do list for 2015, there are things you can be doing now to make that dream come true. These words of wisdom from Esri HR partners Kristin and Megan, originally posted last year, certainly remain relevant. So take a break from the holiday hustle and bustle to read through their tips. Leave us a comment if you plan to try one out, or if you have one to add to the list.

Happy holidays!

Job Hunting During the Holidays: Naughty or Nice?

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Inspiring Children to Learn About GIS

Many Esri employees celebrate GIS Day every year by giving presentations in their children’s schools and elsewhere in the community. Last week, Sandra, Nina, Jaime, and Patty from Human Resources were among them.

By Guest Blogger Sandra Maldonado

Volunteering at the Redlands Boys and Girls Club on GIS Day was a great experience. Spending time with the kids and sharing the importance of GIS and its impact on their world was a big hit. (Of course, the candy, cupcakes, and prizes helped a little.)

The day included a presentation with geography trivia, where kids worked in groups based on grade level and colored GIS Day printouts and a sign. This helped them relate to the importance of geography, the earth, and the many uses of maps. Other activities included coloring and reading a GIS comic book, learning about Mexico and its physical location on a map, and writing a postcard to Esri employees sharing their thoughts on GIS. Colorful cupcakes were the grand finale.

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Getting to the Finish Line, One Step at a Time

Molly Zurn, a documentation product engineer on the ArcGIS Online (AGOL) team, talks about her life at Esri and on the slopes. She’s been here almost 15 years, the last seven of which have been on the AGOL team.

Before joining the ArcGIS Online team, what was your role?

I’ve always worked on documentation. My degree is in geography, but I was hired because I didn’t have any GIS or technical skills. I came from a teaching background and was brought on to write non-technical documentation to make it friendlier to the non-GIS audience. I started with internet mapping services (ArcIMS), then Geography Network and RouteIMS, and then joined my current team when ArcGIS Online really got going.

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Stretching the Limits of Technology: Systems Administrators at Esri

Whether you work for a small company or a large enterprise, there’s no doubt you rely on a systems administrator to keep your IT network performing at its best. I recently talked with Stephen, a sysadmin in our Information Systems and Technology group, about his role and what keeps him at Esri.

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Being at the Esri UC: “A Ridiculously Cool Feeling”

By Guest Blogger Rachel, Esri UC Student Assistant

When I got on the plane heading from New York to San Diego, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew there would be a lot of maps, and I knew I would be on my feet a lot, but “student assistant” was still a pretty vague term in my mind. Once I arrived, I quickly learned why – being a student assistant means many different things. From getting a behind-the-scenes look at the conference to learning what a banner stand is (and going on a scavenger hunt throughout the conference center to find them) to meeting thousands of fellow geogeeks, the week was an incredible whirlwind of people, activities, and – of course – maps.

While the first few days helping with set up and pre-registration were exciting, when Monday morning hit there Continue reading

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Doors to Opportunity Opened for Esri UC Student Assistant

By Guest Blogger Lauren, Student at Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS)

If I could sum up my week in one word, it would be opportunity. The Esri User Conference Student Assistantship Program provided so many opportunities during the conference, and it truly becomes what you make of it. The choices I made during the week will have a long term effect, and seeking every opportunity possible opened many doors.

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‘Deep Sea Dawn’ Shares Some Advice for Students

Dawn Wright (a.k.a. “Deepsea Dawn”) is Esri’s Chief Scientist as well as an ocean scientist, geographer, and GIS author. There isn’t much this neat lady doesn’t do! Her work at Esri involves formulating and advancing the intellectual agenda for the environmental, conservation, climate, and ocean sciences aspect of Esri’s work while also representing Esri to the international scientific community.

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Esri UC 2014 and the Beautiful City of San Diego

By Guest Blogger Swatantra, 2014 UC Student Assistant

The Esri User Conference is a Place for Unity, Enthusiasm, Entertainment, Awesomeness, Friendships, Interactions, Relationships, Learning, and Understanding.

Swatantra poses with Esri President Jack Dangermond

My first visit to San Diego, California was outstanding and I think I made the most out of it. It was my first participation in the Esri User Conference and I feel honored to have had the opportunity. Acquiring a student assistantship position is very competitive and I feel lucky to have been one of 60 student assistants in 2014. The week was all about geography, geographic information systems (GIS), and understanding our world. A conference assistantship is an exclusive opportunity for students who have an interest in GIS. We were a union of students from across the globe. A team of friendly and generous Esri staff members guided us for the whole week. All the assistants were assigned a set of tasks to help Esri staff during conference events. Our overall job was to make sure that the conference logistics ran smoothly. We worked all weekend and half days during the week. This schedule allowed me to participate in technical workshops and interact with attendees during our leisure time.

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