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Buzzing about the GoGeomatics Back to School Socials


The GoGeomatics Back to School Socials are taking place September 24th, 26th, and 27th. “These networking events are a fantastic way to meet and greet others in our industry,” says Jackie Woodruff, BC-based GIS Technician and regular GoGeomatics social attendee. “They are invaluable to new graduates because you never know who you are going to meet!”

Jackie’s not the only one who’s excited about a new season of GoGeomatics socials. Our group leaders can’t wait to welcome both new and familiar faces to their communities. We caught up with Darren Platakis, Kirsti Oja, and Aubrey Downie to chat about student life, networking, and the upcoming GoGeomatics social season.

GoGeomatics: What was/is your favourite part of being a student?

Darren, Niagara: During my university career, I was a tad older than all of my peers but I very much enjoyed becoming friends with them (they kept me feeling young). My age though helped me connect on a different level with my professors. That experience was also valuable. Overall, I love the diversity of classes and assignments. One minute you’re doing sedimentology, the next you’re remote sensing. You don’t realize how much you miss the diversity until you’re sitting in a cube.

Kirsti, Edmonton: Being a student is exhilarating and fun but also comes with hard work. You get to meet new people and make lifetime friends.

Aubrey, Calgary: My favorite part about being a student is meeting like-minded people in my field.

GoGeomatics: What don’t/won’t you miss about student life?

Darren: I think what I don’t miss are exams. I’ve never been one to do particularly well in that format. Grade me on real world assignments/projects, not what I can regurgitate in 2-3 hours by memorization.

Kirsti, Edmonton: This is an easy one, homework!

Alberta Geomatics Group Calgary GoGeomatics Social May 2014 1

Calgary GoGeomatics Social last spring, at the lively Libertine Public House


GoGeomatics: How important would you say networking is for students and recent graduates?

Darren, Niagara: Networking is IMPERATIVE!! I think networking should be started in high school. It’s surprising the number of university students who don’t have a LinkedIn account. These things seem to be left to the last moment in the waning weeks of 4th year when they should be created within the first weeks.

Face-to-face networking such as a GoGeomatics Social is a way to share stories, ask questions, vent, or explore ideas. The Niagara motto is: “Your next opportunity could be a conversation away.” I’d like to see some start-ups happen as a result of GoGeomatics socials.

Kirsti, Edmonton: When I was in school it was not drilled into us to network, but the earlier you start the easier it will be to find work when you finish.

Aubrey, Calgary: You know the phrase, it’s not what you know it’s who you know? Networking is the key to meeting the right people who can provide employment opportunities.

GoGeomatics: Why should students attend GoGeomatics monthly socials?

Darren, Niagara:

  • It’s a valuable networking opportunity outside the classroom
  • Most of the attendees have attended the same institutions as the students, which may offer valuable insight to assignments and ways to tackle problems
  • It gives the students a chance to stretch their legs after being in classes all month
  • We are there to help. If a student has ideas, we can act as a sounding board
  • They’re fun!

Kirsti, Edmonton: GoGeomatics is a good place to start your networking. Everyone else is doing the same, making it a friendly and a very social atmosphere.

Aubrey, Calgary: These socials gives students a chance to connect with employers and experienced employees in a casual setting. This is a much less intimidating way of networking compared to cold-calling or visiting the company location. You can also meet many employers in one setting instead of traveling to each company.

Edmonton social

GoGeomatics added Edmonton to our Social cities last spring, and the community has been growing there ever since!

GoGeomatics: Why is your city a great place for geomatics?

Darren, Niagara: Niagara is great for geomatics because we have it all! We have Brock University and Niagara College, urban and rural landscapes, agriculture, natural environments and trails. We have a great research environment. There are number of communities to get involved with where your ideas can grow into start-ups. There is Geospatial Niagara, Cowork Niagara, Software Niagara, Startup Niagara. Groups like Software Niagara have monthly sessions including Demo Camp, DevTricks and Open Hack nights. Niagara is an untapped resource of geospatial/geomatics excellence.

Kirsti, Edmonton: Edmonton is the capital of Alberta and a booming economy where there are great institutions for Geomatics like University of Alberta, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and MacEwan University.

Aubrey, Calgary: The job market in Calgary is supported by the Oil and Gas Industries. This industry is in need of employees to keep up with demand for oil.

GoGeomatics: What are you most looking forward to with the GoGeomatics Back to School Social?

Darren, Niagara: I’m looking forward to meeting the new crop of students. They are so wide-eyed and have no idea of how much they will grow over the course of the school year. At the end of the year it’s always great to see how much they’ve grown in confidence.

Kirsti, Edmonton: I enjoy meeting new people and I thrive off their energy. I’m always interested to learn about people’s lives, what they have accomplished in their personal and professional lives.

Aubrey, Calgary: I’m looking forward to meeting new students, employers and employees so I can learn about new opportunities and ideas.

Niagara photo 5

The GoGeomatics Niagara crew is a tight-knit community

GoGeomatics: What secret study trick can you share with our student readers for their new semester?

Darren, Niagara: Any assignment you do is a valuable part of your portfolio. Start keeping copies of your assignments and major projects. These are just as important in terms of work experience, because they’re projects that you have completed. Having a record of accomplishments comes in handy when creating your resume/CV.  There are a number of options for free e-portfolios or websites.

Applications such as Trello or Evernote can help you stay organized as well and operate across platforms. Dropbox or Google Drive are life savers!

Kirsti, Edmonton: Everyone learns differently, but my way of learning was rewriting my lecture notes before a test or an exam. Good luck with your studies!

Aubrey, Calgary: I tend to do better when I study my class notes first and the read the text when I have time. The professor usually gives you the information you need for your exams in class!

We would love you see you all at our cross-Canada Back to School Socials! Socials are taking place in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Niagara, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax. Click here for a full list of dates and times.


GoGeomatics thanks Esri Canada, Geospatial Advancement Canada 2015, and the Canadian Remote Sensing Society for sponsoring the Back to School Socials.

3 sponsors


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