Come behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation (DOC).
Today we profile the Geospatial Services Team.
Andrea Sward is very impressed by New Zealand’s beautiful landscape and the selection of snack foods available.
Andrew Evans is recently married.
Ann de Schutter is almost used to “hot dogs” made with a slice of bread, we use buns in Belgium.
Brenton Wilson is renovating a 100-year-old villa or out hunting in the weekends.
Caroline Vickridge is ½ French, ½ Kiwi, recently back in New Zealand to discover the South Island and help save kiwi.
Chris Conner came to New Zealand after meeting his Kiwi wife running the 2009 Antarctic Marathon.
Dion “gravity is only a theory” Fabbro is a keen mountain biker.
Doug Anderson likes field trips and going on courses (the golf kind).
Duane Wilkins ia a slayer of hedgehogs, worked for USAID in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Elaine McAlister loves travelling and takes the family back to Northern Ireland as often as possible always via different routes.
Gary Eason is a slave to a bichon frise.
Geraldine Moore once played chicken with an enraged high-speed falcon to prove it existed.
Gisleine Ribas is from Brazil, she enjoys exploring New Zealand’s beauty and is eagerly awaiting winter snowboarding!
Greg Hawker is Dunedin born and bred, amenable to Speights.
Heather Campbell is a keen photographer who is enjoying life in the Tron!
Helen Curtis (GIS, Marine Ecosystems Team) is a keen runner, climber, 1/8th Polish.
James Kinney started as unpaid intern, and still here three and a half years later.
Jen Iles went to the subantarctic islands last year and now can’t stop thinking about how to get back there.
Marea Smith is a super mum to a girl and three boys.
Mark Peacey’s interests include mountain biking and craft beers.
Martin Slimin has been head down in pesticide work presently, incapable of being interesting!
Matt Grose’s favourite pastime: dancing to “Nellie the Elephant” (Toy Dolls version) with his girls.
Neil Dingle likes to test Freedom Camping sites in his spare time.
Norm Thornley is a year dot employee and weekend stoat masher.
Peter Hiemstra has spent time in the Galápagos Islands as a GIS volunteer.
Robyn Crisford dreams of sailing around the Pacific Islands living on kai moana and island smiles.
Terry Conaghan is presently trying to convert a collection of healthy weeds to an unhealthy state.
What’s your team’s role at DOC?
We provide a comprehensive service for staff that includes mapping, analysis, data, technical advice, support for field operations and emergency response. We help staff by providing tools, training, support and advice. We also collaborate with other providers and agencies.
How does this help achieve DOC’s vision?
It’s hard to look after and promote New Zealand’s many treasures without knowing where they are, what they are like, and how they are connected and interrelated.
Where are you based?
Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, National Office (Wellington), Motueka, Hokitika, Christchurch, Dunedin, Invercargill and field locations as required.
What’s the hardest part about your team’s work?
Saying “No” or “Sorry, please wait”.
Not necessarily knowing what is coming — our job is very reactive.
Asking the right questions.
Overly tight deadlines.
Very taxing field operations.
What is the best part of your job?
“Seeing my map on a sign, at a visitor centre, or on a ranger’s notice board three years later.”
“The variety, we work across all areas of DOC.”
“Helping rangers and DOC staff on the islands of the Hauraki Gulf. Getting to visit special places like Little Barrier Island.”
“Saving things — a highlight was a client saying my map helped DOC win an environment court case, saving a species of endangered snail!”
“Seeing someone have an ‘aha’ moment, making the power of spatial information work for them.”
“Working with passionate staff.”
“Going from collections of overlooked dog-eared notebooks to an app with which staff can enter, keep track of and report on years’ worth of weed control.”
What are your team’s favourite things?
Beyond chocolate and golf? Making products that change the world, passionate clients, experiencing how our work helps, tidy spreadsheets (well, someone has to like them), GPS files, clients taking a moment to understand our world as we understand theirs, sharing ideas and building better ones, metadata someone else has written, making a superior “thing”, helping someone meet their spatial information needs themselves.