Internships in GIS – Slave Labour Or Valuable Work Experience?

internshipInternships in GIS. Slave labour or valuable work experience? Are internships worth what they are all cracked up to be? Do you get the experience you need? Is it just a way for industry employers to get free labour?

Well, the above statements could all be construed as potentially controversial but let me delve further and try and highlight who you should approach any job, not only an internship.

Firstly I must say that I am not a believer of ‘free’ work experience as I feel that employers can use it to exploit the fact that they have a semi-skilled employee for a number of weeks or months to use on projects that they should be paying someone to do.

Not all internships are unpaid but I do feel that both intern and employer get more out of the relationship if there is a financial reward associated with the work. The employer is more likely to put you on valuable, experience building projects and the intern is more likely to try to make a good impression and use the program to grow their skills.

Be Clear

Any job, paid, unpaid, voluntary, no matter what the situation, you will get out of it what you put into it. Before starting an internship, be clear as to what you want to get out of it and what the employer is looking to get out of you. You would be surprised how many people go into any job without really asking the simple questions about what the role entails and what are the expected outcomes.

If you go into the internship without this very clear, you may find yourself feeling let down and not gaining the skills you are seeking. Worst of all you may end up with a bad reference because the employer was expecting something else. Ask the questions before you start and do not be afraid to get very specific as this will not only show initiative but will show the employer the sort of person they are taking on.

Be proactive

Super-InternWhen you start the internship, be proactive in a number of ways. Get to know the others in the office. Get to know their roles, their experience, where they fit in the hierarchy, who you can turn to for advice. Always be willing to lend a hand to others as this will help you learn new skills and develop new industry relationships.

Be one of the first to arrive, be one of the last to leave, do a good through job and go the extra mile. These are traits that will serve you well in all facets of your career. If you want a good book to read look at “Think and grow rich” by Napoleon Hill as this is the basis of the book and how many people move through the ranks in an organisation quickly.


Get feedback at all stages of the internship. Have a weekly meeting with your supervisor to discuss your progress and how they feel you are fitting in. It is also a good time to express any concerns you may have or even to discuss other opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask for future opportunities. Some employers will ‘churn and burn’ interns as this is a way to keep costs down. Do not let employers take advantage of you. Stand your ground and be clear why you are there.

Talk with the other team members and ask them what they are working on. This may lead to continued opportunities for you to gain extra skills or lengthen the time of the internship or even to the possibility of a permanent role.

Finding Internships

Over coming weeks I will investigate where to find internships but in the past I have made a big point of networking and this will be vital in finding the right opportunity.

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Ads On Google Maps – Unexpected Move By Google Which Had To Happen

Google-Maps-Ads-GeoawesomenessLast week Google started to show ads on Google Maps app (both Android and iOS). We all knew that sooner of later our good friends from Mountain View would come to the conclusion that it’s time to monetize their 1 billion users of mapping service but we didn’t know when.

How does it look like?

When a user searches Google Maps, paid content will appear in a small box on the button of the smartphone screen, and the icon on the map will be purple instead of red. The user can tap or swipe to get more details, directions, reviews, and other information about the advertised businesses.

How does it work for businesses?

Taking into consideration number of people who uses Google Maps apps it might be an interesting option for brick and mortar businesses to drive foot traffic to their venues. Traditional AdWords campaigns are great for online businesses or for brand awareness campaigns but their geo-targeting possibilities are rather low. With this tool Google will try to get ad revenues from local businesses who are interested in getting a customer who is two blocks away to their coffee shop and searches for a place to go.

Google Maps Ads - Geoawesomeness

Salahuddin Choudhary, product manager of Google Maps explains how will it looks like in terms of charging advertisers:

When users click on an ad to get location details, they’ll see additional information such as the business’s address, phone number, photos, reviews and more. From here, there are a number of paid and free click actions they can take. Free actions include saving business information for later, sharing a business with a friend, or starting navigation. Aggregated reporting for these free clicks is available in your account. Paid clicks include the initial ‘get location details’ click, get directions, click-to-call and clicks on the ad headline. AdWords will only charge for up to two paid clicks per ad impression. Reporting for these paid clicks can be found by segmenting reports in your account by ‘click type.’

Is it really that bad?

Some people will be mad that Google is polluting one of its best apps but I try to look at it from the general point of view. First of all with the latest app updates Google created the best map and navigation app out there and its available for free! TomTom app for a typical European country costs around €60… Secondly after all it is not annoying enough to drive you away from using the app, especially taking into consideration huge sizes of all flagship Android smartphones (or long screens of new iPhones). Finally Google has a potential and scale to change the way we behave. Google Maps and Earth has revolutionized the location-awareness of whole societies. I believe that Google starting to show ads on maps is the beginning of yet another revolution – Location-Based Marketing revolution… outdoors and indoors…

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