Working on All Things GIS

By Guest Blogger Owen, Solution Engineer Intern

My studies of geography at the University of Colorado gave me an introduction to GIS and Esri. This brief experience sparked great curiosity of GIS—the problems the technology can solve and the positive impacts it can have on people—so I eagerly applied to be a summer intern at Esri. When I first heard the news I was going to work at the Denver regional office as a solution engineer intern, I was ecstatic. With two months of school left, I began researching Esri and the many industries the ArcGIS system is used in, and I was amazed. I let my mind wander through all of the possible projects I could take part in.

The moment I walked in the door I could feel the energy and enthusiasm that every employee has for Esri and GIS technology. When I met the team of solution engineers, a creative GIS tech-savvy bunch, I knew immediately that it was a great fit. I thought to myself, “This is going to be great, coming here every day this summer and working on all things GIS!” The work environment is friendly and team oriented. I have had the opportunity to learn from and work with many teams in the office, encouraging me to expand my knowledge of Esri and GIS.

It is an exciting time to work at Esri with the release of ArcGIS 10.1 and ArcGIS Online. The capabilities of these new products are amazing. Providing technical demonstrations and information on product features and best practices for organizations in the region are some of the many duties for a solution engineer. Having the opportunity to be involved in these demonstrations for clients is intriguing, reinforcing the fact that geography matters!

Taking on the role as a solution engineer intern has presented many unique possibilities for learning and exploring GIS and how the technology is utilized. The Denver office serves the four corners—Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico—as well as Wyoming. Each state is different; their geography exhibits a distinct need and use for Esri GIS solutions. This is the challenge that our team tackles on a daily basis.

One of the projects that I have focused on this summer is creating examples of story mapping applications for the Utah Department of Transportation using ArcGIS Online. The story maps are to support the top 20 road construction projects of 2012 in the Know Where Know Why campaign. The applications give information about where and when the project will take place, as well as provide information about why the project needs to happen and the possible traffic impacts drivers may experience.

With my internship nearing its midpoint, I can easily say it has been one of the greatest experiences. I have learned so much about Esri, GIS, and life as a professional. The people I have met so far have been a great inspiration intellectually and professionally as I continue down my GIS career path.

Editor’s note: Owen will graduate next spring from the University of Colorado with a degree in geography. He’s originally from Northern California, although he says he didn’t live there long because his father was a pilot in the Air Force. Talk about changing directions—Owen was working to be a rock star until he was 18, then “GIS presented itself to be a more practical career choice.” Many of you probably agree!

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