GIS Alum Helps Oil Industry

How can an online GIS degree benefit the multi-trillion-dollar oil industry?

Just ask American Sentinel University Geographic Information Systems graduate Kurtis Poettcker. Poettcker, 33, manages a team of five GIS developers for Abacus Datagraphics Ltd., a trusted oilfield map supplier.

Based in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, Poettcker’s company is Western Canada’s leading supplier of maps for the petroleum industry. His oil and gas clients depend on his team’s ability to create digital mapping products to ensure the integrity of their pipelines and oilfield facilities.

Going Back Again

As he looks back on his road to becoming an integral part of a major company, Poettcker is thankful he went back to school.

“My main reason for returning to school was to enhance my knowledge of GIS. I was also interested in adding some credentials to the work experience I had already obtained,” he says. “I was a little hesitant returning to school as I had tried earning an online degree once before, but had failed mostly due to lack of motivation.”

He worked at Abacus Datagraphics while in school, but says juggling work and school was not too difficult this time around. In fact, Poettcker believes American Sentinel courses enhanced his work performance long before he graduated.

“I have definitely been able to apply some of the lessons learned in my courses to my job,” he says.

Utilizing New GIS Software

American Sentinel University courses also introduced Poettcker to new GIS software, such as ESRI products, which would become of value to Abacus Datagraphics.

“Our company has always worked with another GIS software provider and we never looked at other choices,” Poettcker says. “Using the new GIS software in school opened my eyes to its benefits – and now my company is in the process of adopting ESRI software into our products.”

Poettcker currently works with ESRI ArcGIS, Autodesk Map3D, MapGuide and Safe Software’s FME Suite.

American Sentinel Professors Make the Difference

Poettcker credits his American Sentinel University professors with helping him better understand the GIS industry.

“I enjoyed the classes at American Sentinel University. The instructors were quite knowledgeable in their fields and I learned a lot about GIS,” he says. “The time commitment was reasonable, while starting classes monthly instead of semesters twice per year allowed me to maintain momentum and finish my degree faster.”

As for Poettcker’s future, he says the possibilities are endless.

“The positive feedback I get from users about our application suggests that the GIS field is quite valuable,” Poettcker says.

In other words, Geographic Information Systems technology is booming in the oil industry.

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