View Full Version : Cartography/GIS/Urban Planning Internships

04-16-2013, 09:12 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm currently in school pursuing a degree in Urban Planning with a focus on Geography and will be getting a professional certification in GIS.

As a transfer student and changing my major from Studio Art to Urban Planning, I am still catching up on courses for my major. Next fall I finally start GIS Fundamentals and Intro to Remote Sensing as well as American City Planning and Neighborhood Planning. So far I have taken Intro to Urban Planning and the Post WWII American City. This summer I'll be taking grant writing for planners.

I am currently looking for internships for the summer and I was just wondering if there were any suggestions or ideas for places I should look into. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of hands on GIS experience at this time. I am good at learning software and have years of experience with Photoshop, Illustrator, MS Office, etc.

I have a list of local companies that have hired interns from my program locally and have selected a few that seem interesting, but I thought I'd see what, if anything, you all would think of. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


04-16-2013, 11:20 PM
This site is really about illustration with a geographic theme rather than real geography. Only a few of us work with GIS. Think about a site about drawing cars. There will probably be a few automotive engineers and mechanics with interest in art on the site, but it will mostly be artists with interest in cars. The same is true of the Cartographers' Guild.

If you want to gain some experience working with map data, you could try contributing to OpenStreetMap. I learned quite a bit from it and I like to think it helped a little bit in getting me the job I have now. I also think my pretty fantasy maps made here at the guild helped so I heartily encourage to to stick around.

If you want to get some experience using GIS, there is a lot of open source GIS out there. QuantumGIS is a good starting point for a desktop GIS. If you want some more web/server orient software to try playing with, GeoServer, PostGIS, OpenLayers, and Leaflet might all be worth looking at. (For full disclosure, I'm a software developer at a company that develops and supports GeoServer, PostGIS, and OpenLayers, and I work on the GeoServer and GeoWebCache projects myself). You'll almost certainly be focusing on the ESRI software stack (ArcGIS, ArcSDE, ArcIMS, etc) in your courses so a bit of variety will give you some perspective, help you avoid vendor lock in, and give you some extra items on your resume.

I also recommend you get familiar with a site called GIS Stack Exchange. Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange (http://gis.stackexchange.com/) It's a question and answer site for GIS. If you have technical questions about GIS and can't find an answer in documentation, go there. The other Stack Exchange sites are also worth checking out.

It would also have helped if you had mentioned where you/your school are. Not everyone is familiar with the abbreviation 'NOLA' for 'New Orleans, Louisiana"; I'd never heard it until a conference there last November. It's also good practice to make sure all relevant information is in the body of a post/email/message/whatever. Don't treat metadata like the title, headers, etc. as part of the message.

04-16-2013, 11:28 PM
If you came here for GIS the first person I would have pointed you to just responded above :)

04-19-2013, 06:30 PM
Thanks for the reply. I'll certainly check out everything you mentioned. I know the majority of the software we have at school is from ESRI, so the other options are great to hear about. As a former graphic designer, I was one of the few who didn't jump on the all Adobe ship when they released InDesign. I always preferred Quark XPress, and it bothered me how quickly new designers dismissed it.

Just to give you a more complete picture, I do live in New Orleans and am attending the University of New Orleans. I'm technically a junior as I had a lot of transfer credits from my first attempt at a Studio Art degree. I'm at the point where the vast majority of credits I need for graduation are directly related to my major. That being said, I'm currently under qualified for a lot of internship opportunities in GIS related fields.

Thanks again for the information. I was initially drawn to the guild because of the artistry and it actually had some influence in my path when I decided to go back to school. I've been obsessed with maps for my entire life as well as art, so find a place where the two meet has been very exciting as well as educational.