Amazing Women in GIS

The GIS industry is not just a boy’s club anymore. The profession is filled with high-profile women who have changed the perception of the GIS profession.

If you’re a hard-working woman interested in pursuing an online GIS degree, look to these women as great examples to follow. They prove women are making waves when it comes to geographical sciences.

Karen Siderelis

Siderelis was the first Geospatial Information Officer (GIO) for the U.S. Department of the Interior.

“The appointment of Karen Siderelis to this new position underscores the importance of the Interior’s role in guiding the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC),” said James Cason, associate deputy secretary of the Interior, in announcing the selection. “This committee coordinates the federal government’s geographic information systems (GIS) activities to provide information to the American people and the world,” said Cason, who chairs the FGDC steering committee.”

Siderelis previously served as associate director for Geospatial Information and Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Geological Survey, an Interior agency. Before joining the U.S. Geological Survey, Siderelis served as secretariat to the North Carolina Geographic Information Coordinating Council and directed the state’s Geographic Information service center. She has served as vice chair of the Mapping Science Committee of the National Academy of Sciences and president of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis.

Some consider Siderelis the most-important GIS professional in the United States.

Adena Schutzberg

When the mainstream world hears about GIS technology, there’s a good chance the source originates from something Adena Schutzberg wrote. As the executive editor of Directions Magazine, Schutzberg writes about the geography industry like it’s the most important industry in the world.

She challenges the industry and conveys important information to GIS career seekers. Perhaps one of her more poignant articles of late was “When is a Map Not a Map?” Before opening her own company, Schutzberg headed U.S. operations for UK-based Cadcorp, and held several positions at Esri over eight years.

Caitlin Dempsey

Caitlin Dempsey, who American Sentinel University featured in this August 2 blog post, founded the popular GIS news site GISLounge.com. Dempsey got her start in GIS as an intern for the National Park Service and worked in municipal GIS in California.

Today, her website is the go-to place for industry information and GIS jobs.

Kate Chapman

Kate Chapman, one of the former bright minds at GeoIQ, recently joined OpenStreetMap’s humanitarian efforts. She made the move after going to Haiti and found “a calling.”

Throughout her decade-long career, Chapman has mapped everything from mosquitoes to individual houses for e911 to hurricanes. A traditional geographer by training, she’s branched out. But, the last time she had a traditional GIS title was in 2004 and it was “GPS Technician.”

The good news is she’ll definitely contribute to GIS efforts in disaster situations. For OpenStreetMap, Chapman spent time in earthquake-vulnerable Indonesia to improve the imagery available for mapping.

She wrote on her website, Maploser.com: “If something major happened here I think it is likely imagery would become freely available. But creating a detailed map through crowd-sourcing? That would take a week or two and be a huge effort from people that don’t know the area as well as locals. So why not map ahead of time? Imagine the power if after an event the map just had to be updated, instead of created?”

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