Akhilesh, GIS Analyst


My Job

The team I’m on is developing a product that is used every day to help manage traffic in the Chicago corridor, which is the busiest in North America. It’s a mapping solution that displays railroad infrastructure to help increase the efficiency of trains moving through the corridor. Much of the focus of my work has been on using GIS data to build the geometry and geography around the track throughout the corridor so users can have a complete geospatial view of the area and make better traffic planning and management decisions.

My Day
We’re taking schematic data and turning it into map data—like on a Google map—to show where trains are in real time. Most of my day involves analyzing schematics from railroads. I’m looking at GIS track data, segmenting the track and assigning attributes to it. I work closely with our product team to make sure they’re up to date on my progress and with our GIS consultant, who has a lot experience in the freight rail industry. When I’m done creating a data set, we go through the process of cleaning up the data and putting it into a format so it can be used in Clear Path.

 

"Not only is the technology cutting edge, my work gets into production. When I'm done working with data, it gets put into the application for customers to use. That's cool to see."



What I Like
I get to apply GIS to real-world business problems that have implications on the daily movements of trains. I like the people. Everyone has a good work ethic, the culture is collaborative and everyone is helpful. The work style is great, and our Agile approach helps keep projects moving. And not only is the technology cutting edge, my work gets into production. When I’m done working with data, it gets put into the application for customers to use. That’s cool to see.

My Path
I earned a master’s degree in natural resource and forest management and a GIS certificate from N.C. State University, and I worked for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture on projects like mapping wildfires and managing the data around them. Then, at the EPA, I used GIS data to show the relationship between environment and health. But I didn’t see the product of my work on a daily basis. I thought there was a lot of room for GIS to solve problems in the freight rail industry. After talking with the team here, seeing what GIS could contribute, I was sold. It’s something that has never been done before, and I get to be part of it.