Defining the roles of geographers in government.
The profession has worked with the Government Analysis Function to recognise geography job roles within the function’s career framework: Geographic Analyst; Geographic Advisor and Geographic Information Specialist.
These are three of the five job roles within the Government Geography Profession draft career framework (see below). Geographers in the public sector undertake a wider range of roles than those captured in Government Analysis Function’s career framework and the profession will continue to recognise and support members across the full breadth of roles that we undertake. If you have any feedback on these, or new, job roles please contact us.
Geographic Analysts work with geospatial and georeferenced data to generate insight and support decision making. They are able to integrate geographic data within their analytical workflows and apply different specialist techniques to account for the geographic dimensions of the data. They communicate analysis effectively, including using cartography and geovisualisation to present intelligence from complex geographic datasets. Typical role responsibilities:
- Responsible for producing analytical outputs that integrate spatial and georeferenced data from a range of sources to provide integrated geographical evidence to support business decisions and policies.
- Ensures that spatial dependency and spatial relationships can be considered in generation of solutions to business problems through the application of a range of specialised spatial analysis techniques.
- Maximises the available evidence base and brings geographical insight to decision making through the application of specialist tools and techniques for analysing geographic data sources such as georeferenced administrative data, remote sensed imagery, point clouds, GPS tracks, and unstructured geographic text.
- Ensures that stakeholders are effectively engaged with geographic dimensions of their problems, for example through the use of best practise and standards from cartography and geovisualisation in their analytical outputs.
- Responsible for ensuring geospatial analytical outputs are of a high quality and fit-for-purpose through the application of best practise, policies and standards for assurance and reporting of geospatial analytical outputs.
Geographic Advisors use specialist geographic knowledge and techniques to contextualise and support decision making and the development, delivery, and evaluation of policies, or to develop and promote policies related to geographic understanding or information. They are experts in understanding and analysing environmental and/or human processes and interactions in places and at scale and use their knowledge to provide advice and evaluate evidence in support of government challenges. Geographic advisors are adept at working in multi-disciplinary settings and coordinating the activities of these different professions to solve business and policy challenges that benefit from geographical insight. Typical role responsibilities:
- Provide expert advice on business problems that benefit from geographical insight using their knowledge and assessment of related evidence.
- Develop and manage a programme of geographic research and collate an evidence base related to business needs.
- Coordinate activities by different professions around problems based on their integrated understanding of place, geographical systems, scale and inter-relationships.
- Synthesise geographical research and evidence to compile reports and make recommendations.
- Advise colleagues form other analytical professions on geographical aspects of their work and facilitate links to technical support where required.
Geospatial Information Specialists
Geospatial Information Specialists collect, collate, manage and maintain geospatial data. They understand techniques for primary data collection used in surveying, geomatics and remote sensing, as well as methods for linking administrative data by geographic references. They have experience working with a range of geospatial data sources and understand their strengths and weaknesses when applied to work in Government. They can represent and manage geographic information within spatial data infrastructures, applying relevant data standards and making informed assessments on data quality. They are able to employ different geospatial technology platforms for managing geospatial data and make them accessible to others, including building capability in their use. Typical role responsibilities:
- Captures and/or prepares geospatial data for use in business decisions and processes through the application of relevant scientific knowledge e.g. surveying, photogrammetry, geomatics, geocoding and addressing, cartography, and remote sensing.
- Generates derived, analysis-ready geospatial products e.g. terrain and surface models from point clouds, through the design and application of processing workflow and corrections.
- Responsible for the managing and administering geospatial datasets collated from different sources according to governance and quality standards for geospatial information.
- Develops and implements geospatial strategies for maximising the value from geospatial investments and ensuring quality and security of resources is maintained.
- Administers geospatial data platforms and manages their datasets to provide efficient and accessible geospatial data services.
- Trains others in the use of geospatial data and related information systems.
- Contributes to the development and application of standards, policies and procedures for geospatial data.
Multidisciplinary Geographers use a range of professional skills alongside their geographical expertise to deliver. These may be other professions in the Analysis Function such as GES, GSS, GSR, DDAT, GAD or GORS, the Government Science and Engineering Profession or with policy or operation delivery professions.
The use of geography is an essential skillset for their role, but other skills from multiple skillsets or disciplines are required. They use their geographical knowledge alongside other professional expertise and can bring this multidisciplinary approach to a range of roles. Policy makers with a geographic background may also be part of this group, using their geographic experience and knowledge to add value to the development and delivery of policy. Depending on background and expertise some people will have an affiliation to a professional body.
Affiliate Geographers have qualifications or experience in geographic disciplines (for example a geography degree or previous work experience), but they are not necessarily a core part of their day-to-day work. Affiliates undertake wider roles across the whole of the public sector (for example in corporate services, operational delivery, policy or regulatory organisations) and may also identify with one of the other Civil Service professions. Affiliate members will apply a spatial lens and their geographic background to whatever role they undertake and will want to keep abreast of developments in the discipline and the profession.