For the past 10 years I have been working in the GIS field and have met some interesting, talented, intelligent, and motivating GIS colleagues.  Hopefully this blog series will share with you some exciting tidbits of information from each person who has touched my career in some way.

I am heavily involved in the MD iMap technical committee, in which Julia is a Co-Chair. She does a tremendous job in organizing and presenting the materials, running the meetings, and bringing new and exciting ideas to the table.  She is a detail-oriented, prepared, smart and fun person to be around!

  Quick Facts about Julia Fischer

When I asked Julie about what she loves most about her job, she replied, “the opportunity to come to work each day and use GIS to help make someone else’s job a little easier, their workflow a little smoother, and help the GIS industry discreetly take over the world.”  I personally couldn’t agree more!  Here are some fun facts about Julie before we delve into the hard questions!

Favorite hobby
I’m a decent tap dancer.  I’ve danced since I was very young and it’s a great stress reliever.

Favorite GIS book
Any Esri Map Book.  I have a real love for cartography, so those map books are like books of art to me.

1. What professional organizations are you active in?
I am currently a member of the Executive Committee of MSGIC and a Co-Chair of the MD iMap Technical Committee.  I hope to continue to learn about new opportunities to get involved with in the future.

2. How has GIS changed since you first started your career?
When I first started my career people didn’t know what GIS stood for.  I would repeat the same phrases at each new introduction explaining what GIS was.  Now, GIS is everywhere.  I have conversations with my nieces and they know about GIS and have classes in middle school on the subject.  It’s great to share the experiences of using GIS with the next generation.

3. Where do you see GIS going in the future?
Well, since GIS is going to take over the world, I see everyone using GIS, everywhere, all of the time, whether they know it or not.  We’re sneaky like that.

4. Where do you see the job market going in terms of opportunities in GIS?
Since GIS is being used in more industries than ever before, you would think that the number of jobs would increase, but GIS has also become very accessible to everyone, even beginners, through the internet and mobile devices. My hope is that the middle and upper market of GIS will grow, providing GIS professionals with more jobs in the real meat of the technology, analysis and advanced implementation.

5. How did you get interested in the field of Geography/GIS?
I transferred to a local college at the last minute and needed one more class to fill a full-time schedule.  I picked up a Geography class and haven’t looked back.  I discovered that I could major in Geography and thought what’s better than to major in something that I also enjoy.  I consider myself very blessed from those turn of events.

6. Did/do you have a mentor?  Who?
Not officially, but I look up to Kenny Miller.  I admire his perseverance, enthusiasm and dedication to the field of GIS.  He has worked tirelessly to pave the way for the future of GIS and for that I thank him.  He offers much to learn from and I hope I do. I also want to recognize Doug Adams.  He gave me my first internship in GIS and patiently and diligently showed me the ropes.  He has always been a strong voice challenging others to never settle for what is, always strive for something better, in the career that you build, the work that you complete and the life that you lead.

7. What is one piece of advice you would give to a newbie in the field?
Network as much as possible.  I know this isn’t new advice, but by getting out to conferences and meetings, I have learned so much from colleagues in the field.  I have also come to find that there are many wonderful people in the field who have easily become great friends.

This concludes this series of On the Map interviews.  It has been an awesome experience to interview five of the most influential people in GIS in Maryland, at least in my opinion.  Stay tuned for another series of interviews coming to your inbox next Spring. If you missed any of the other interviews check them out here:

Jim Cannistra, Director of Data Planning Services for the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP)

Barney Krucoff, Maryland’s State Geographic Information officer at the Maryland Department of Information Technology

Kenny Miller, Maryland’s Deputy State Geographic Information Officer at the Maryland Department of Information Technology

Michael Scott, Professor and Graduate Program Director, MS in GIS Management, Department of Geography and Geosciences, Salisbury University