Chris completed an honours degree in Urban Studies, following it up with a diploma in Town Planning where he learnt how GIS could play a role in planning and analysing the environment. Whilst working at Brent Council Chris completed his Masters in GIS at University College London which gave further impetus to his career. During this time Chris became involved in crime mapping and analysis and lead Brent Council to be one of the first local authorities in the country to work with the Metropolitan Police to improve crime safety by mapping crime. Headhunted by Esri UK Chris then embarked on further involvement in the crime and disorder space, working with police forces across the UK and internationally, including training new Crime Analysts in a wide range of geospatial crime analysis techniques. In 2010 Chris moved to New Zealand with his family and after 4 years of consultancy work became the Chief Technology Officer for a geospatial consultancy.
What made you decide to become a geospatial professional?
I’ve always had a fascination with the built environment and how people utilise the space around them and this lead me to undertake a couple of modules in GIS at university and that was enough to get me hooked on how spatial data and analysis could be used to solve problems and answer questions.
What did you do before joining Abley?
I’ve been in New Zealand for 6 years, working for another GIS consultancy. I worked with clients in a wide range of market sectors from Ports to Forestry and everything in between. In the UK I worked for Esri UK for 8 years mainly in the public safety, national security and defence sectors, which gave me a great understanding of the Esri technology stack.
What does a typical day in the office include?
I’m client focused so much of my day is spent talking with clients and ensuring that the work we are doing for them is on track and they are happy.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
For me it’s the light bulb moment you get with clients when they suddenly understand the role that spatial plays in their daily lives. It’s a great moment because not only have you helped to solve their problem but you’ve also introduced them to a new way of thinking about problems.
What's the most challenging thing about your job?
One of the things I love about my job is the amazing technology both in the geospatial world as well as the wider IT industry that I get to play with, however it’s also one of the most challenging aspects as well because the IT industry and technology as a whole move at such a fast pace that it can be hard to keep up with the changes.
What’s been your career highlight so far?
I’ve worked on many projects that I have been proud of over the years, but developing the Esri UK Crime Analyst Toolbar extension for ArcMap was something that required a wide range of skills and bringing it all together and seeing the tool sold internationally was quite special.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
With three kids and an old house I’m not sure if I remember what spare time is. However, if I was ever to have some then a spot of fishing, or a bike ride, or reading a book would probably be top of the list.