The University of Washington START Center was recently contracted by Radiant (formerly the Open Imagery Network), a new geospatial platform that is funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Five Geography students, three graduates and two undergraduates, supported the meeting as rapporteurs and captured the detailed discussion during four separate breakout sessions over the course of two days. Participating geographers were Jonathan Engelbert, Kory VanDyke, Skye Naslund, Rebecca Stubbs, and Olivia Hollenhorst.
Geospatial experts from many different fields (academics, data providers, software developers, NGOs, international organizations, funders, etc.) were all brought together in a conference that allowed an exchange of recent ideas and developments in the field.
Skye Naslund, one of the graduate students who participating in the workshops, described the experience as "particularly interesting to get a sense from them where the field is going, what their priorities are for new research, and to learn about all sorts of new geospatial data sources that I didn't know of previously."
Kory VanDyke, an undergrad student who participated in the workshops, saw this as an opportunity not only to meet some industry leaders, but also "to work with them and really see how much of a demand there is for GIS professionals and what can be done with their own skills."
Overall, the five geographers were able to capture a sense of what jobs are available in the geospatial field, and actively encourage future students to take part in such a formative experience.