There’s a new mashup in the technology career industry: geographic information systems (GIS) and remote work. Young unemployed people in Gaza are finding work in the GIS industry. And while most people reading this may not be in an often tense part of the Middle East, anyone with a business intelligence degree can learn an important lesson for a professional future. Gaza is a city in the Gaza Strip, part of the West Bank, has been in economic pain because of political conflict that resulted in a blockade by Israel and Egypt. Many with technical backgrounds had found themselves unable to work.
The University College of Applied Science (UCAS) has offered a refuge in the form of higher training in technology and a business incubator. In addition, outside non-government organizations like Oxfam have worked to create job opportunities. Even with physical constraints, the Internet connects the area to the rest of the world, and contracts for high tech work have come in from other parts of the Arab world. One of the technologies showing promise is GIS. An example is a Gaza tourist map, which will eventually be interactive “with live updates, highlighting sports events and restaurants, as well as areas of historical interest.” But that shouldn’t be a surprise. GIS is growing in popularity for many reasons.
It offers a way to bring together the worlds of data analysis and geographic location. That opens new possibilities for understanding business, government, and the world. GIS has become an important tool in many industries, providing the next wave of business intelligence for organizations in general business management, healthcare, government, high tech, environmental science and engineering, energy, and public utilities. And it is used all over the world. For example, there is a North African and Middle Eastern conference for users of Esri GIS software.
The point is that GIS offers opportunities and insight for companies, no matter where they might be. And that translates into opportunities for the people who understand the technology and how to implement it — perhaps someone from a management background who decided to get a GIS degree. Once the knowledge is in hand, you can use it anywhere your career path takes you. That might mean employing it where you currently work. You might bring your newfound talents to another company, or, as the young people in Gaza have found, learn that you can provide services almost anywhere and even attract the world to your door. It just takes expanding your expertise to a new but related area.