Inspiring the next generation of geospatial professionals

Strategic analyst Josh Lingard-Smith talks about the success of this year’s Virtual Work Experience Programme at Ordnance Survey and how to encourage teenagers keen on breaking into the geospatial industry

3 minute read
Last week, Ordnance Survey's (OS) Geospatial Virtual Work Experience programme brought together a group of young people, aged 14-19, from across Great Britain to showcase the range of careers and pathways that the geospatial sector has to offer.

We teamed up with Speakers for Schools to deliver four days of talks, demonstrations and activities, the aim being to create an engaging and informative experience that challenged the students to think like geospatial professionals and inspired them as they think about their next steps. And by running the programme virtually, we were able to reach a wider geographic distribution of young people than in-person work experience and include speakers from outside OS including Royal Geographical Society and some of our Geovation Start-ups.

The programme showcased a variety of topics and gave students an understanding of what OS is and what we do, how geospatial data goes from capture to the end user, and how geospatial data and maps are being used - including consumer mapping applications, town planning and emergency response. We explored how Data Science is being used to solve big problems, how Earth Observation data is being used for mapping and understanding our planet and its role in sustainability, and how Artificial Intelligence can be used in geospatial processes as well as potential ethical issues. We demonstrated a broad range of skillsets, including Geographic Data Visualisation and Cartographic Design, using GIS and the application of geospatial in real-world decision-making, and learning about entrepreneurship with Geovation.

An example of an earth observation image showing a river from above

With students keen to understand more about careers and what it is like to work in a geospatial role, it was great to hear our speakers talk about their own diverse journeys and what is important to them in the workplace. I was incredibly impressed by the students – both their willingness to be involved and to interact with each other and the thoughtfulness of their questions and the way they took on the tasks. Their feedback was really positive and I hope that we’ll see many of those students representing the geospatial community in the years to come!

The Geospatial Virtual Work Experience is delivered under the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement Education Plan, funded by the Geospatial Commission. It continues our commitment to education and demonstrates the important role that OS plays in helping to create the next generation of geospatial experts and future users of geospatial data.

For more information about careers in geospatial, please visit Careers | Ordnance Survey.

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