Celebrating Our GIS Professionals – Andrew Smart
Before real-time GIS was available, Andrew Smart, GISP, would track himself along routes using landmarks and an atlas to understand where he was in the world. It’s no wonder that he is now one of our exceptional GIS analysts! Learn more about Andrew’s story below.
Where are you from?
Penn Yan, New York.
What do you do at geographIT, a Division of EBA?
My roles involve project management, GIS system architectures, business development, and cloud architecture.
What inspired you to pursue a career in GIS?
It was more of a gravitation through love of mapping and understanding where I was in the world at any time. Before real-time GIS was a thing, I used to try to track myself along routes using landmarks and features with a hard copy atlas.
Tell us about your experience in the field.
I have worked in the field for 15 years. I started working professionally part-time after my first GIS course and have been working in GIS since.
What are some of the biggest changes you have seen in the industry?
The biggest change has been the evolution of web-based GIS and, more recently, big data and cloud services.
What’s the most interesting project you have worked on?
I would say the City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management real-time situational awareness platform and City of Philadelphia Police Department data warehouse and enterprise platform. Both projects involved cloud-hosted, real-time, big data solutions and situational awareness.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I appreciate the variety. Every day is different, and every project is different. You can also make your own fate.
What is one thing the public doesn’t know about GIS that they should?
Everyone’s lives are touched by GIS in one way or another.
What is your favorite Esri Story Map and why?
Our story map showing holiday movie locations of course! It combines my love of world locations and Christmas movies.
When you aren’t at work, what are you most likely doing?
I am most likely hiking, running, or enjoying time with my 3 kids.
What advice do you have for encouraging the next generation of GIS professionals?
Don’t just accept that it works, but dissect it and understand how it works. You need to understand the core concepts of spatial data such as projections, datum, etc. Don’t just press buttons. How do you re-project correctly, and what does that mean?
Learn as much as you can about technology—especially cloud, server, database—and pair that with understanding of spatial data.