Jobs at DOC: Spatial Information Management, Wayne Tyson

Department of Conservation —  10/10/2011

Every Monday Jobs at DOC will take you behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation.

This week we meet Spatial Information Management Officer, Wayne Tyson:

The ascent to Crater Lake, Mt Ruapehu

At work…

Name: Wayne Tyson

Position: Spatial Information Management Officer (GIS), Canterbury Conservancy Office.

What kind of things do you do in your role?

I work primarily with creating maps and databases of spatial information. A lot of my work is involved with converting data from spreadsheets and tables into usable maps.

Recently I have been involved with Wildfire Threat Analysis which involves using GIS analysis tools to assess the likely threat of fire across Canterbury.

What is the best part about your job?

Meeting a bunch of people who are really passionate about their work and the contribution they make to the environment.

What is the hardest part about your job?

Trying to fit in all the projects that we are involved in.

Caving in Vietnam

What led you to your role in DOC?

I’ve always had a keen interest in the outdoors with a strong background in caving. Being skilled in GIS and working for DOC seemed to be the logical choice.

What was your highlight from the month just gone?

The Canterbury Wildfire Threat Analysis project was a large collaboration of data inputs with support from a range of organisations. Creating some really useful fire threat data that will be used across Canterbury is pretty cool.

No big earthquakes was also good!

Exploring caves under the Nullarbor Plain

The rule of three…

Three loves

Apart from my wife and cats, the things I would list as three loves include:

  • Skiing (especially those really long runs in Canada)
  • Caving (although I don’t get too many chances since moving to Christchurch)
  • Good quality rugby games

Three pet peeves

  • New Zealand road rules
  • Campervans
  • Earthquakes right under my house

Three things always in your fridge

  • Beer (because I never drink it)
  • Cheese (because my cats love it)
  • One or two bottles of wine for unexpected friends who may drop around

Three favourite places in New Zealand

  • Cardrona in winter—the best ski field in the Southern Hemisphere
  • South Island’s West Coast is just truly spectacular
  • Tasman Glacier, my introduction to the New Zealand wilderness

    Getting a weather report in the Stirling Range

Favourite movie, album, book

  • The Castle—it introduced a great set of catch phrases to the Australian vocabulary: “Tell him he’s dreaming!”
  • Amarok by Mike Oldfield—one solid hour of amazing guitar and sound woven around a number of recurring themes.
  • Touching the Void by Joe Simpson—the only book I have sat down and read in one sitting from 6pm to 4am.

Deep and meaningful…

What piece of advice would you tell your 18 year old self?

Move to New Zealand now!

Who or what inspires you and why?

The people of Christchurch. Over the last year they have had to put up with so much and have come through with great strength and determination.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A Merchant Navy Officer. I spent three years at it before I realised it was not such a good social lifestyle.

And now, if you weren’t working at DOC, what would you want to be?


If you could be any New Zealand native species for a day, what would you be and why?

A cave weta so I could explore those caves that the humans can’t get into.

What piece of advice or message would you want to give to New Zealanders when it comes to conservation?

Having grown up in arid Western Australia and overpopulated Malaysia, I think most New Zealanders take their incredible environment for granted. This is one of the most spectacular places on Earth. Look after it.

Travelling to school in Penang, 1966

One response to Jobs at DOC: Spatial Information Management, Wayne Tyson

    Wayne Devine 05/11/2011 at 9:36 am

    Loved the blog on Raoul. Never got there but helped arrange many expeditions pre-DOC.