AGI Northern Ireland
AGI Northern Ireland (AGI NI) was officially launched in 2002 to help raise awareness of geographic information and to encourage data and knowledge sharing.
Over the years, our mission has developed to reflect the changing industry, society and environment around us by actively supporting a sustainable future for our geospatial community.
Since our formation, we have established strong partnerships with public and private sector organisations locally as well as further afield. Along with the support of our partners, AGI NI has representation on the AGI Council which helps steer the direction of the Association and the support it offers to Northern Ireland.
AGI NI hosts a yearly conference which brings together keynote speakers, presenters and offers an opportunity to display your geospatial work with the poster exhibition. A call for papers goes out in advance and everyone with an interest in GI is welcome to participate.
Along with the annual conference, AGI NI hosts other events including public seminars in collaboration with our network of partners (e.g. academic and private sector organisations). Traditionally, we hold a networking and information event during GIS week in November. Our events showcase a wide range of interests including environmental sustainability, infrastructure development, future GI developments, healthcare and social developments through greenspaces and access to provisions.
Benefits of joining AGI NI and AGI include:
- Networking opportunities with the NI Geospatial Community
- Continual Professional Development opportunities
- Opportunities to present your projects at Conferences and Seminars
- Career information and job opportunities across the UK
- Knowledge sharing, thought leadership and events sponsored by AGI Council
The current AGI NI Committee comprises 15 active members representing both the public and private sector who coordinate and organise events throughout the year. Our events include the annual conference, seminars and networking which bring the NI geospatial community together. These events offer support for professionals, early career networking, continuing professional development and business related opportunities.
We recognise that our volunteer members and those with an interest in the geospatial industry have played a vital role in the success of AGI NI and we are looking to build upon this further. If you are interested in supporting our mission and joining our growing geospatial community, please do consider AGI membership and we hope to see you at an event soon.
AGI NI Committee
Rico Santiago (AGI NI Chair)
Rico has been Chair of the AGI NI Committee since 2016, and has over 15 years' experience providing GI services in both public and private sectors in the United States and Northern Ireland. He enjoys his current role as the Deputy Head of Business Development at the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland, where he's able to leverage mapping, location data, and GI innovation to support the delivery of government and public services. Graduating from the University of California (UCSB) with a Master's degree in Environmental Science and Management, and a Bachelor's degree in Geography, he has a deep interest in the application of geospatial technologies for the public good.
Rachel Steenson - Civica
Rachel’s IT career has up until very recently been in the field of GIS. She started her GIS career at Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland, where she held a number of roles including LPIS Project Manager, Positional Improvement Project Manager and Mapping System and Contract Manager. She then went on to work at Esri Ireland first as a Customer Success Manager where she managed a number of large-scale corporate GIS implementations for customers such as Northern Ireland Water and Gas Networks Ireland and then as their Market Engagement Manager where she had overall responsibility for market development in Northern Ireland. She is currently a Business Development Manager for Civica where she helps the NI public sector deliver digital services for all citizens in Northern Ireland.
Rachel has an MSc in Computer Science and Applications from Queen's University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Geographic Information Systems from Ulster University and is a Fellow of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. Rachel holds a number of voluntary roles including BCS Council, BCS NI Education Committee and the Engineering Policy Group NI.
John Eltham (Secretary) Fibrus
John made extensive use of GI as part of his 27-year career as a public sector town planner, before moving to work full-time in the GI industry in 2018. He is currently the GIS Manager at Fibrus; a Belfast based telecommunications infrastructure company delivering full fibre hyperfast broadband to towns, villages, and rural communities across Northern Ireland. John previously worked for the Department of the Environment in various planner roles in Belfast, Craigavon, Downpatrick and Ballymena, and was the Senior Planning Officer in Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Development Plan Team. His GI career has seen him provide freelance and contract work for a range of clients and as a part-time GIS Consultant in the National Trust. In his spare time. he continues to do freelance planning, urban design, and GI work as the PUDSI social enterprise.
Alex Donald Geological Survey Northern Ireland
Alex is a geology graduate from Queen's University, Belfast and has worked at the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland since 2003. He worked on the Tellus project and has been involved in data delivery, data management and information products including the publications A Guide to the Tellus Data and Unearthed . He has a particular interest in urban geology and was involved in the delivery of the EU TU1206 COST Sub-Urban project www.sub-urban.eu .
Patrick McGarry Northern Ireland Housing Executive
Patrick is the Infrastructure Digital Project Manager in Translink, the public transport provider for Northern Ireland. He is responsible for the Asset Information Management Strategy for Translink, which aims to help staff access the highest quality of asset information via innovative applications in order to make more informed, effective decision making, reduce operational costs and improve customer services. This will encompass the implementation, development and integration of applications such as GIS, BIM, Data Analytics and Asset Information Systems.
Previously the Corporate GIS Manager in NIHE, Patrick has 25 years' experience working in the GIS industry in both public and private industries. Qualifications include a Geography degree at Queen's University Belfast and postgraduate qualifications in both Digital Cartography (PG Dip) and GIS (MSc).
Gareth Young Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland
Gareth has worked for Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland (OSNI) for over 10 years and has a wealth of knowledge and experience using geographical information within the public sector. He has managed the development and growth of OSNI’s web mapping platform and currently holds a role advising on the technical integration of OSNI geospatial information within other public sector IT systems. He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Geography from Queen’s University Belfast in 2001 followed by an MSc (Distinction) in Geographical Information Systems from Ulster University in 2002. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a Chartered Geographer (CGeog) with specialism in GIS and has served on the AGI Northern Ireland committee since 2014.
Malcolm Calvert Department for Infrastructure - Rivers
Malcolm is a Chartered Engineer and Member of the British Computer Society. He has over 20 years experience of working with Geographical Information Systems, and is currently in charge of the Modelling & Mapping Unit within DARD Rivers Agency. The Unit are responsible for river & coastal modelling and production of flood maps; and for corporate GI management within the Agency.
Andrew Paul Spatial NI Manager Ordnance Survey
Andrew is currently the Spatial NI manager at Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland (OSNI). Andrew has 10 years’ experience in the geospatial industry. After completing an MSc in GIS at Ulster University. Starting his career as a GIS Officer at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute on the DOLMANT Project, Andrew joined OSNI in 2013 where he has worked since. First training as an aerial surveyor and photogrammetrist. Andrew’s main interests are in remote sensing and 3D geospatial data and how they can be used to help improve data collection and analysis.
Jonathan Hardman (AGI NI Communications Co-ordinator) Ordnance Survey
Jonny has worked in the GI industry since 2011. His first job was as a GIS Intern for a local further education college. Since graduating from Ulster University in 2013 with a BSc. in Geography, Jonny has worked as a GI Specialist for a regional canal charity as well as in the private sector. He currently works for the Ordnance Survey Northern Ireland (OSNI) as a GI Consultant dedicated to the Department of Health (DoH), where he provides consultancy services and advice to DoH, Health and Social Care Trusts, as well as regional and cross-border government agencies. Jonny is also the current Communications Coordinator for the AGI Northern Ireland group and Northern Ireland's representative at AGI Council.
John Hewitt Geolytical
John has over 15 years experience in the GI field and is currently a Senior GI Consultant with the SOPRA Group. He is mad about GI, especially all things open.
Dr Lorraine Barry Department of Infrastructure
Lorraine Barry is a Transport Planner and Modeller within the Department for Infrastructure and has over 20 years experience as a Geographical Information Scientist with a background in GIS for teaching, training and research.
Lorraine has developed many years of experience in FOSS4G (Free and Open Source for Geospatial) and python programming for geographical data science and geo-visualisation. Lorraine enjoys continuously learning and developing in the field of GI Science. She graduated from Queen's University Belfast with a BSc in Geography in 2001 and from the University of Leeds in 2003 with an MA distinction in GIS for Business and Service Planning.
In 2020 she completed a part-time PhD on The Geographical Data Science of Population Movements. Lorraine is a member of the Royal Geographical Society and has been a Charted Geographer with a specialism in GIS (CGeog GIS) since 2017.
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What AGI NI members say
When completing my Under Graduate Degree at University of Ulster, I struggled to find a placement. After months of searching I found a contact who was chair on the AGI NI board. Only for the AGI NI was I able to secure my placement job in SERC.
Jonny Hardman – Mapping Specialist for OSNI
As a teacher it was very interesting to hear about the careers, research and uses of GIS. I also enjoyed the posters and that format is a great learning experience for my pupils, they loved chatting to people about their poster.
AGI NI Conference Attendee