ESRGC Spring Spotlight 2023
"I was interested in interning with the ESRGC to
prepare for my first real ‘adult job’."
Name: Adam Phipps-Dickerson
Graduation date/ School: Bachelor of Science in Geography (GIS Track)
Hometown: Snow Hill, Maryland
When did you first use GIS?: Dr. Harris’s GEOG 219 (Map Interpretation and Analysis) during the Fall 2012 semester. I was a Biology / Marine Science dual major at the time and this was the class that convinced me to switch over to Geography.
What is something you wish everyone knew about GIS?: I wish people knew that GIS is more than just ‘mapping’. It is a system of data, people and processes that can provide invaluable insights to decision makers in many different forms. One day you could be creating the traditional paper map that depicts projected sea level rise flooding and the next day enhancing a permitting workflow using Survey123 and a suite of web maps. GIS can be applied in countless use cases and is more than just your static paper map in this day and age.
What interested you in working with the ESRGC?: With graduation coming up and knowing I needed to be prepared for the job market, I was interested in interning with the ESRGC to prepare for my first real ‘adult job’.
As an intern you were placed with Wicomico County, what task(s) did you work on there? : There were a couple of intern positions at Wicomico County. One focused on the Planning & Zoning Dept, and the other on Public Works. I was brought on as the Public Works intern. I worked on updating the Public Works Facilities maps, digitizing County Right of Ways and creating a clunky interactive web map built with ‘MapBox’.
While working with Wicomico County what surprised you most or what is something that you learned from it?: I was surprised at how much data a County-level GIS team creates and maintains. Many local government GIS shops are located within a specific department but support the entire organization. This was actually well-received because your daily work can vary drastically, which keeps it from being redundant.
Where are you working now? And what are you working on?: I currently hold two positions:
GIS Coordinator, Town of Ocean City, MD
Manage the City’s GIS program that supports all departments. Since I started in 2021 I have been modernizing the City’s permitting and public service programs using web-based GIS tools such as Survey123 and ArcGIS Online. One of our latest projects was implementing a building permit web map that allows staff, citizens and contractors to view their building permit status and all submitted documents all within one web map and in real-time.
(In my spare time) GIS Developer, Coastal Risk Consulting: RiskFootprint™
Develop and maintain the source code, manage AWS environment, and implement enhancements for the RiskFootprint™ SaaS program. RiskFootprint™ is a comprehensive flood, natural hazard and climate impact risk assessment technology.
Have you gone to any GIS conferences? How did they go?: Yes, I have been to a few: TUgis, Esri Mid-Atlantic Summit and the Esri User Conference. All are great programs and well worth the time and effort to attend. I had the opportunity to attend the User Conference last July and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the seminars and technical workshops. I came home with several new tools and workflows I could immediately test and implement.
Dream job?: Become the CTO of a successful tech company, retire early and live on a sailboat in the Caribbean 😊
What do you like to do in your spare time?: I love to spend my spare time at the beach, kayaking, scuba diving or (attempting) to garden at the house.
Do you have a LinkedIn?: Yes, I do.
The Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative (ESRGC) at Salisbury University regularly features a current or former intern for our Intern Spotlight. The ESRGC provides geographic information system (GIS) technology, data, technical support, and training to governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations in Maryland and across the Mid-Atlantic. Since launching in 2004, the ESRGC has provided valuable paid internships to hundreds of Salisbury University students, allowing them to learn real-world skills that prepare them for a direct transition to the workforce. ESRGC internships range from analyzing databases for local governments to field verifying broadband access in rural areas, and everything in between. For more information on how your organization could leverage the advantage of this inexpensive, highly-motivated, technical GIS intern, or how to apply for an internship, please contact Lauren McDermott at firstname.lastname@example.org.