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Life Update – new GIS job interview

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It’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I finally have some time so here is a life update :)

I applied and did an interview yesterday for another GIS internship position. This was a face-to-face interview for an agricultural company in Omaha, NE. The job would involve mapping & spatial analysis (mapping and analyzing crop plots, distribution and transportation of grain/fertilizer products, crop yield, etc), working with geodatabases, data manipulation, and some programming (using python). The interview was actually FOUR different interviews. I had to interview with the senior GIS Analyst, two business managers, and the IT specialist. It took nearly two hours. The interviews went well I think…although I had some trouble answering some technical questions from the IT specialist (he was basically gauging my experience dealing with data and data manipulation). I do wish I had more experience with certain topics such as computer programming (beyond the FORTRAN programming language), and more with the modeling side of GIS. But, knowledge is knowledge and they thought I was an interesting enough candidate to interview. So we’ll see. I’ll find out within a couple weeks. They would of course train me beyond my base knowledge and get me deeper into how they do GIS, especially mapping and web-based products. If I received the position, I would (at least for the time being) commute to Omaha at least a few days a week. The job would be on weekdays only.

That’s about the highlight in terms of life. School is still school. Later I’ll hopefully post an update about some recent geographic happenings, including Tuesday’s earthquake near Nicaragua and the Tropical Storm Ana and Hurricane Gonzalo threatening Hawaii and Bermuda, respectively.

Biking Denali in the Fall, Take Two

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Originally posted on Strucknwords:

2013 Bike Trip cut Short
2013 Bike Trip cut Short

I love Alaskan fall. Growing up in Georgia, fall was always one of my favorite seasons. I love everything about it-how the cold air fills my lungs, and how seeing the frost on my tent in the mornings reminds me that winter is near. It also reminds me of my childhood, when the family use to go camping each year in Georgia in the fall. I like how a few birds are still around, but for the most part, the forest quiets down. I’m not a full time runner, but my favorite time to go running is for sure in the fall. I love listening to the crackle of a fire. I like how fall fire usually means sitting around for hours talking about life. You can do that year around, but there is something about fall that makes people calmer. Open.

Anyways, fall, on many…

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When Is Fall? Astronomical, Meteorological, Climatological?

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Originally posted on Illinois State Climatologist:

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The Quad – University of Illinois in fall color.

No doubt today (September 22) will be announced as the “first day of fall” because of the fall or autumnal equinox. However, that concept refers to the date when we get equal amounts of daylight and dark.  I don’t think it was ever intended that this astronomical event would be the start of fall. In fact, this equinox would be the start of spring in the southern hemisphere. So to be fair to everyone we should call it the September equinox and leave fall out of it.  ;-)

Climatologists and meteorologists prefer to use calendar months to define the four seasons in the US. For example, fall would start September 1 and end on November 30. Not only is this more convenient, because you can use monthly data, but it lines up better with the typical or average temperature pattern for Illinois…

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GIS Internship Update

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Just a quick update on the GIS internship…the interview went very well yesterday. Here’s a jist of the conversation:

-They explained to me that 95% of the work is fulfilling map requests for other departments within Ducks Unlimited. The 5% will involve conducting spatial analyses and areal photo interpretation for wetland delineation. So basically my primary job will be as a map maker.

-They reiterated that the position would be for one year, full-time, 8-5 pm M-F. It is, of course, a paid position and the pay is pretty good for the cost of living I think. It would be the most money I’ve ever made on a job…realizing my history as a poor college student lol.

-Besides the standard human resources questions, they asked me about my experience troubleshooting ArcGIS software, any programming experience I may have, remote sensing experience, and field work experience. As far as troubleshooting goes, I explained I have had moments in the past where the software has given me trouble and I’ve either worked through it, gone to a help page, or just asked for help. I said I don’t profess to be an expert, but would do what I could to fix issues which come up. As far as programming experience, I mentioned my course in the FORTRAN programming language (used in the meteorology world), but besides that, I have a some experience in Structured Query Language (SQL), which is used for database management (and ArcGIS has a SQL Query Builder in which SQL syntax is used to select subsets of information from a database or table). I used SQL at a job here in Lincoln back in 2011-2012 and then learned about it more in my GIS classes. For remote sensing, I mentioned my satellite image interpretation for both meteorological and geographic/land use purposes in my education and my experience in my geography job position at South Dakota State University. For field work, I actually mentioned my extracurricular field experience with the Nebraska Storm Chase Team…something I’ve been participating in off and on since 2009. I explained the process of being out in the field, dealing with long hours, heat, and the process of observing phenomena in the field (and of course, in that case it was all voluntary). It is extremely unlikely I will do any field work, but they asked anyway just in case.

-As far as when I could start, I said I probably start at the end of October or beginning of November. Obviously, more details will be hashed out if I’m hired. They joked that they pretty much need somebody “tomorrow”. They’ve been without a GIS Intern for several months and so are looking for someone to fill the position as quickly as possible…but are flexible to the needs of someone needing to move to Bismarck from well outside the commuting area.

-They said they would get back to me in about a week or so after checking my references and I submitting my background check form and scanned copy of my driver’s license (which I did yesterday after the interview).

So that’s about it. I will keep everyone informed. Hopefully next week I will hear something.

GIS Internship Opportunity

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Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve kind of neglected the blog, been very busy with life lately. But I have some good news to share (which will hopefully turn into great news). I have an interview Wednesday morning for a geographic information systems internship in Bismarck, ND! The interview will be over the phone. It is for the conservation organization Ducks Unlimited. It is my first job interview for a position which requires a bachelor’s degree. They emailed me mid-week last week, calling me a strong candidate for the position. The position would involve air photo interpretation, wetland delineation for conservation efforts, maintenance of their geodatabases, as well as mapping. Some field work would be required as well. The internship would last for one year. I would imagine I’d start maybe in late October or early November. And of course, I would have to move to North Dakota for the position.

I was kind of shocked someone was finally interested in me for anything. Out of all the bachelor’s degree jobs I’ve applied for in 2014, this is the only call-back I’ve received. I have good GIS experience from coursework, but also geospatial research experience having dealt with wetlands in the paid job for a PhD research project at South Dakota State University (that one dealt with satellite photo interpretation and delineation of wetlands relating to public health and malaria in Africa). I also have a bit of education on wetland conversation and wildlife/fisheries. So yeah, cross your fingers everyone!

I’ll try to update the blog again this evening on Hurricane Odile and maybe other things :)

Nine year anniversary of landfall of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi

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Today is the nine-year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina as a very large and lethal category three storm. Hard to believe it’s already been so long. I was 21 years old at the time of this event. I wasn’t there, but obviously, the events of that day and days after made a major impression on not only America, but the world. A lot of studies related to meteorology and geography came as a result of Katrina; the meteorological evolution of the storm itself, the damaging effects on land, the dispersal and population recovery of New Orleans, the physiography of SE Louisiana, including the local wetland ecology and very low elevation on which a major city was built on, as well as engineering issues related to levee protection. I think I’ll never forget the tragic loss of life…over 1800 confirmed deaths, most in Louisiana, with a significant number in Mississippi. Very sad indeed. Hopefully various lessons were and are continued to be gained from Katrina to try to prevent this catastrophe from happening again. Although, I fear, that as more people continue to move to urban centers along the coast, the threat of catastrophic landfalling hurricane events will continue to grow…perhaps exacerbated by slowly rising sea levels by climate change over the next few centuries (too slow to spur rapid changes, but a notable effect nevertheless).

Hurricane Katrina on August 28, 2005 at 4:45pm CDT.
Hurricane Katrina on August 28, 2005 at 4:45pm CDT.

Kilauea Volcano lava flow could threaten homes in coming weeks

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Hawaii volcano lava flow could threaten homes