Interview conducted by Lauren McKinney
Robert Noyes is the current GIS Analyst for Josephine County Oregon. We met this year at the GIS IN ACTION convention. Despite his busy schedule, Noyes agreed to answer some questions about his life in GIS. Thanks again Mr.Noyes!
Q. What is your job title?
A. GIS Analyst – but I am essentially the GIS Coordinator/developer for the county
Q. What are your duties and responsibilities?
A. Meet the mapping needs of the various departments, maintain and expand our data layers, maintain the GIS servers, implement updates and changes, implement our online presence and develop online maps for internal and public consumption, collect gps data, and stuff I am probably forgetting about.
Q. Describe an average day.
A. There is no real typical day, which I like. I could be trouble shooting problems, creating or rewriting python scripts, out in the field GPSing points, lines, and polygons, creating a collector app for a department, working with fire and emergency management for initial response maps for wildfires, working with Search and Rescue to produce map to assist in a search, to name a few possible scenarios.
Q. What about your job interests you?
A. See number 3. Also, I like that GIS can be a nice combination of both right and left brain, analytic and creative components.
Q. What are you currently working on?
A. Working a updating the voter precincts layer and creating both internal and public facing online precinct maps. Transitioning from a legacy program that the Planners use to a more updated GIS version. Creating a Story Map for the Parks and Recreation Dept.
Q. What skills are most important for your job?
A. Flexibility, organization, teaching, listening, collaboration/team building, troubleshooting, thinking outside of the box, etc. Oh, and GIS skills including data acquisition (this is huge) and cartographic abilities.
Q. What challenges do you routinely face, and how do you overcome them?
A. Anti-social people or people who don’t like to work collaboratively. Still working on ways of overcoming this.
Q. Have GIS occupations changed while you have been in the field? If so, how?
A. I think most of the changes revolve around technology changes such as using ArcGIS Online and other cloud based systems. More user friendly software and gps technology is also playing a role.
Q. How have you seen GIS technology change?
A. See above
Q. How do you envision the future of GIS careers?
A. Not really sure but at this point I don’t see a lot of changes as a career other than the tools used to meet mapping and analysis needs.
Q. What’s your favorite movie?
A. The Prince’s Bride
Q. How often do you work on web maps?
A. Almost daily.
Q. Describe one web map you have made or are currently working on. A. Josephine County Park’s Map: Link
Q. What web mapping services do you use (Esri story maps, Google Maps etc)?
A. Mostly ArcGIS Online and Story Maps, sometimes I create kmls/kmzs for Google Earth
Q. Do you have a favorite service? Why or why not?
A. Not really.
Q. Do you have a least favorite service? Why or why not?
A. Not really
Q. How do you make your maps more accessible to the general public?
A. Some are made specifically for the general public.
Q. How do you make your maps “user friendly”?
A. Using the Arcgis online web app builder and some of the other app templates all pretty well constructed and are generally already user friendly.
Q. What challenges do you face when making and maintaining web maps?
A. Keeping rest services organized, learning and getting up to speed with SQL server and ArcGIS Server.
Q. How do you overcome these challenges?
A. Read, google, esri support services.
Q. What is your favorite book?
A. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (technically, 4 books…)
Q. Do you have any advice for students learning to create web maps?
A. Have fun, remember you have a delete button, let your creativity run wild.