Highway GIS Projects
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GIS Analyst with a Highway Department

GoGeomatics would like to introduce Patrick Korellis, a GIS Analyst currently working with Warren Township – Highway Department. This interview will be broken into two parts. First we would like to get to know more about Mr. Korellis and then we have some questions that we feel will be very helpful for new graduate students applying for similar jobs as this one.

Mr. Korellis, on behalf of GoGeomatics would like to thank you for accepting our invitation to share with our audience.


Could you please tell us in brief about your academic background and how many years of experience you have in this industry?
I graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Meteorology and Geography, with a GIS emphasis. I also received a GIS certificate. I have 2 ½ years experience working in GIS.

Where are you working currently and how many years have you been with the company?

I am currently working for Warren Township – Highway Department. I will be there for a year this January. I started off as a GIS intern for Lake County – Division of Transportation for a year and a half.

Could you also enlighten us on the ongoing research and/or current technologies used by the company?

ArcGIS and Microsoft Access are widely used by me every workday. I also use a Trimble GPS system to collect field data.

In a few words please let us know the history of the company and some of its major accomplishments?

We maintain the right-of-way of many of the streets in all unincorporated areas. This includes snow and ice removal, drainage, patching, etc. We are known for being the first in the area to come up with a beet juice mixture for snow and ice removal.

Was this the kind of job you always wanted and if so how well is it serving its purpose?

I always thought I’d obtain a career in meteorology, and ever since my internship I knew I wanted to do something in GIS. I am aiming more for corporate GIS instead of transportation, but overall, I am pretty happy I am making use of my degree.

What are your short-term and long-term goals for your career path?
My short term goal is to make advancements in the GIS system currently utilized by the Warren Township Highway Department, by adding more data sets and shape files. My long term goal is to obtain an advancing career in GIS by working in corporate GIS or even county GIS, where I was an intern.

Do you get to do any field work? If yes how often do you travel?

I do get a lot of field work; I use the Trimble GPS to collect storm sewer, sign, street light, and outfall data. I then transfer the data from the GPS to our database and into ArcMap, so all of the inventory is plotted onto a map for maintenance and/or resident use.


What knowledge of concepts and principles of Remote sensing and GIS should a new graduate possess?
While remote-sensing isn’t really needed, it is a good background to have to understand the RBG and what it means. GIS, however, is very important to have, and knowing the basics to GIS will help you have a great start to your career as you learn more about GIS.

What software skills are required for the technical aspect of the job?
You should have some database background, especially Microsoft Access. I learned how to use Access through my internship instead of through my education, and I find myself using it almost every day. I also learned how to use a Trimble GPS system during my internship, and that is widely used if you want to get into Governmental GIS. Of course, knowing the ArcGIS software is a requirement.

What skill sets are looked for in a new graduate? Could you make it clear from your personal experience?
I started off with a paid internship for Lake County, and they wanted basic GIS knowledge at the least. You learn new aspects to ArcGIS by having an internship, and gain more experience in GIS. Most entry-level jobs require 1-2 years of ArcMap use, and knowledge of Microsoft Access.

Do the theoretical knowledge of concepts and principles along with basic hands-on experience such as in labs be helpful in the industry for a new graduate or are there any specifics they need to know apart from what learn at school?
Hands-on use in the labs is what helped me the most, because you learn how to layout a map, and working with plotters is a big plus. I’ve printed out many maps, and by knowing how to work the plotter, your employer is very impressed that minimal training is required for using the plotter.

Are there any exclusive expectations from internationals in terms of technical skills and any other or is everyone at the same the level?
I would say everyone is at the same level; Some schools teach the database side of GIS, which would be using SQL along with Microsoft Access, which I found to be very important, and got to learn during my internship through the two GIS Analysts I worked with, and never learned in school. The most important is obtaining an internship, there are many municipalities and counties that hire GIS help during the summer months.

Thanks for your time Patrick,

J. Tompkins
“Jay is a Geomatics Specialist with GeoLogan as well as a GIS/Geomatics Moderator with GoGeomatics

We would also remind you that GoGeomatics is your best place to help you build and network your own professional Geomatics career and encourage you to get involved in the discussions on the GoGeomatics Forum.

If you or someone you know is involved in Geomatics and would like to share your experiences with us then we would love for you to contact us.

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