A great adventure in GIS

Studying Applied Geographical Information Systems at Flinders University presented Ellen Carter with a versatile skill set that has opened unexpected career opportunities.

“GIS can be applied to anything, because everything has a location and is connected. GIS knowledge is incorporated into many industries and utilised in many different ways – in mineral exploration, archaeology, maritime charting and countless others,” says Ellen (BAppGIS ’12, BAppGIS(Hons) ’13), who considers her career as a great adventure.

“It seems like a very broad science, but it can be very niche as well.”

Ellen is now working as a GIS Administrator for the City of Marion, having been trained specifically in the Esri software package, and she is at the forefront of managing databases and servers that present GIS outputs for everything from strategic planning of all the council’s physical assets to marketing.

“It goes far beyond just visualising information to providing such specific data as tracking abandoned vehicles, where food safety inspections occur, and how weed control is managed along coastal pathways.”

She says the extent of GIS application is only bound by imagination – and Ellen admits to having a lively imagination, fostered by her fascination in making intricate treasure maps at kindergarten. “My dad, John Carter, studied archaeology at Flinders, and I used to marvel at the ‘treasures’ he would bring home from digs to examine,” she says. “He helped me with my Year 12 Geography research project, which examined the structure of coastal sand dunes near Whyalla, where I grew up, and it involved lots of mapping and measuring, which I loved.”

Ellen contemplated studying surveying, but became fixed on Flinders’ GIS degree, being the sum of surveying, data analysis, maps and more. She was particularly impressed that key lecturer Robert Keane was so switched on with what industry needed. “The things that Robert taught I now use every single day.”

Now, Ellen has a Flinders work placement student in her care and is providing the same mentoring guidance that propelled her studies. “That’s really powerful, and it motivates me to learn more every day.”

Learn more about studying GIS at Flinders

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