Maddie Johnson (’17): GIS for commercial real estate

Posted on November 3rd, 2016 by

maddieMaddie Johnson (Class of 2017) is a Gustavus double major in Spanish and Geography with GIS Concentration. She is currently the teaching assistant for GEG-240 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems. She spent summer 2016 conducting GIS data analysis for a real estate company.

Who did you work for and what did you do?

This past summer I worked for Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq, a commercial real estate company located in Bloomington, MN. I was a GIS intern in their GIS and Market Analytics department.

What were some of your daily tasks?

Typically, my daily tasks involved using ArcGIS software to create maps and demographic reports for the brokers. The maps ranged from simple parcel boundary delineations to more complex analyses that could show things like employee address concentrations or relevant retail locations. I also frequently ran demographic reports that helped the brokers better understand the areas at which they were looking.

What are some interesting projects you did for them over the summer?

Although I typically worked on several smaller projects each day, one of my larger projects was updating the retail database. This required me to go to company websites to find current open store locations and then use Google Maps Street View to make sure the stores were in fact at those addresses before adding them to ArcMap. Another project I worked on was finding and downloading parcel datasets for various cities across the U.S. Since each government website was different, sometimes it was challenging to find exactly what I was looking for, but I definitely got more practice downloading data.

What is something you learned that you found very valuable to your GIS experience?

It was great just to get more practice using the ArcGIS software on a daily basis. My mentors there also taught me a bunch of helpful tips and tricks, especially related to annotating and labeling, that made the whole map-making process a little easier. Since GIS can often be very time-consuming, these should really help me in the future. I also learned more about how maps can be manipulated slightly to present a property in the best possible light. The marketing side of GIS was one that I didn’t have a lot of prior experience with, so it was interesting to see it in action.

Was the internship different from what you expected it would be?

The internship was about what I expected it to be. I really enjoyed that I got to take my GIS skills outside the classroom setting and actually use them in the real world. It was especially interesting working for a company and having to follow their brand designs. For instance, I had to use specific shades of colors and certain fonts in my maps. Overall, I definitely learned a lot about how GIS is applicable in the business world.


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