The ESRI User Conference’s Impact on a Young GIS Professional


I’m 24 years old and I’ve been in the world of GIS for only 4 years. 3 of those years being a mixture of internships and college classroom exposure . I didn’t realize my passion for GIS until I had completed my first 40 or 50 hours of school… I’ve now been working as a GIS Analyst in the energy industry for a little over a year.

This year I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the world renowned User Conference that esri puts on every summer. There were a staggering 16,000+ GIS professionals in attendance. We came from all over the world. I met so many people that I lost track of them in my head. I mingled with folks from Sweden, India, Abu Dhabi, Japan, and a trillion others who live right here in the United States. One of the most important aspects of this conference is networking and sharing perspectives with other like minded individuals. I believe that in itself makes coming to this conference worthwhile.

I sat through session after session, workshop after workshop, speech after speech, and demonstration after demonstration to let it all wash over me. I was so energized and excited about ideas I had come up with for my current employer that I sat up late into the nights working on them. It’s difficult to describe the atmosphere of the ESRI UC, but it’s refreshing to experience. I’m looking forward to the conference next year already. I’m hoping some of my college GIS friends will be able to attend so we can experience it together, as well as the San Diego night life. I’ll be bringing Tay to this thing next year no doubt. I want to expose her to this environment. I think she’ll thoroughly enjoy it.

Until next year!


Passing the FAA’s Remote Pilot Exam

There is no question that drones are the future in GIS. Sure they have an enormous presence in the industry today, but at a capacity that is microscopic to what it will be in the future. ESRI has even taken recognition by launching the robust Drone2Map software. If you haven’t had the chance to play with this software or at least watch some tutorials on it, I would highly recommend you do so.
So about the CFR Part 107 Exam

Back in August of 2016 the FAA instituted regulations that must be adhered to when piloting any UAV. This means you must obtain a certificate for commercial use here in the United States. Commercial use simply means that you’re either flying on behalf of your employer or you’re flying it personally to earn money. 

Now to get your certificate you must pass an aeronautical exam that was developed by the FAA and is administered by the FAA. This is no joke either.. It isn’t  something you can go and pass using the product of elimination or just plain common sense. You MUST STUDY. As long as you care about passing the exam and you study for a good week (about 2 hours per night), you’ll be fine. 

Some basic info to know if you’re going to go after your certificate. 

  • There are 60 multiple choice questions
  • There are 3 answers to choose from
  • You must earn a 70% to pass
  • You must take it at an FAA testing center
  • The test costs $150.00
  • You must wait 2 weeks to retake it if you fail on your first attempt
  • When you finish your test, you’ll know right away what your score is

My studying approach…

I chose to read the actual Part 107 study guide that the FAA released word for word. Once I read all 70+ pages and let it wash over me, I went back through and made some notes. On top of this, I watched YouTube videos discussing airspace classifications, how to interpret weather reports, how to read sectional charts, and other things that I found to be a bit abstract from the FAA’s study guide. Once I did all of these things I had created quite the study guide. Well… my girlfriend had created quite the study guide haha. She took it upon herself to organize all the information into an interpretable document that she could quiz me with. We studied for roughly 5 or 6 days and then I went and took the exam. I earned an 83%. I felt that the amount of studying I did was a bit of an overkill, but I learned quickly during the exam that I was lucky I studied as much as I did. I expected an A, but an 83% gets me off the ground so I was happy with that. 

If you’d like to discuss the exam with me please just shoot me an email. I’d love to help in any way I can.

Here is the FAA issued study guide to get you started:
Good luck!!