Discover how GIS officer Fiona tells stories using maps
Happy GIS Day!
I’m Fiona and I am the GIS (Geographic Information System) Officer for Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust. My job is to show data through maps. I like to think I’m a bit of a visual detective or storyteller. How can I take a set of information and show its message in one picture?
GIS is all about taking spatial data – information with a defined location – and plotting it on a map. This means we can see what and where something is. One of the main uses for GIS is for our nature reserves. We map a surprisingly wide range of things! From habitats and our conservation work to all the benches, paths and signs on site. I work with a wide range of teams and projects. Some of the work I have done includes mapping communities and green spaces to support improving people’s access to nature.
The whole picture
GIS is very useful as it can help us see the picture as a whole. We can use the maps to make comparisons across a location or over time to analyse our work. Also, it’s a great way to keep a record of the conservation work we do. It is not only drawing and colouring in shapes on a map. I also carry out data analysis to help inform what we do. For example, I have looked at species habitat needs and used that to identify opportunity areas for habitat restoration.
Some teams use GIS on a daily basis to help plan their work. For for others it might be an annual review of their data. And it’s not only used in the office! GIS can be taken out into the field with the use of tablets. One of our great uses for a mobile version of GIS is for ash dieback tree surveys. By using GPS with the maps they can accurately find existing trees or record new trees.
As I work on a variety of projects, no day is ever the same.Fiona Tomlin
Sometimes this needs some problem solving, but I enjoy the challenge. It is also why I’m taking part in the #30daymapchallenge which runs over November alongside GIS Day. Each day is a different theme and the challenge is to produce a map that represents that theme. Here’s an example map I made for the theme ‘polygon’ where I made our nature reserves pop out the page.