Eleza Kollannur

Eleza Kollannur

I’m a GIS Professional (CGeog (GIS), GISP-AP) working in Water Sector for the past decade. I’ve taken up an international opportunity to work as a GIS Specialist with Stantec Doha, Qatar this June. In the past I have worked with Stantec ResourceNet, Pune; Symbiosis Institute of Geomatics (SIG) and DHI (India) Water & Environment, Delhi.

When I started my career with MWH (now part of Stantec) in 2010, I felt there was a need to explore innovative ways to make the data flowing between different software, be it CAD, GIS or Modelling Software. It could be to get pipe direction arrow to CAD drawing or setting a method to join upstream/downstream asset data to connecting nodes or something that can be solved with data driven maps. Like I say, trying to make the Engineers life a bit easier.

There is always something new to learn in GIS field, and when you learn you keep growing. Going by what I learned at Stantec, there are 3Es to develop as a GIS Professional, Experience, Exposure and Education. Some of the avenues I explored

Ideating: I feel that to learn new things, don’t just read about it, but also try implementing it. This way you try to resolve the issue using your own logic. Catch hold of people who have gone through similar struggle or google and see if someone has resolved a similar issue.

Teaching: In 2014, I took up the challenge to teach Facility and utility management as a Visiting Faculty at SIG. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to build students interest and enthusiasm in GIS and its applications. It gave me great personal satisfaction from teaching them and being a part of their journey towards being the next generation of GIS professionals.

Reviewing: In 2015, after attending a series of free or online webinars within budget, felt that only the basics of the tools are getting covered. But how to get to the next level. So, volunteered to work on Pre-publication Technical Review of book ‘ArcGIS Blueprints’ by Eric Pimpler. I learned that the possibilities of integrating GIS Programming with Python is vast, and I was just still making baby steps.

Mentoring: In 2016, completed mentorship course at Coursera and provided mentorship to learners on UCDavis GIS Course on Geospatial & Environmental Analysis. It helped identify some of the GIS struggles which learners go through and help me become a better mentor in my job role. These activities have helped me in being more succinct in providing feedbacks, giving actionable comments and to respond to a query in a reasonable timeframe.

Conferences and Networking: Being a woman in the geospatial industry, sometimes you must show that you can step out of your comfort zone. Present a paper, Network with the like-minded, be it Python conference, Industry Academia meet, ESRI User Conference or Geo Business Show; share your ideas, lead/chair meetings as a Developing Professional and stand out as a technical expert in your field.

Professional Accreditation: After going this process and more, I felt it was time to log in my professional journey and get accreditation for the same. In 2016, I received GISP-AP from SSSI, Australia and C.Geog (GIS) , Royal Geographical Society with IBG,UK in April 2019, biggest highlights of my career.

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