Position for graduate student in GIS at USGS



Work Location:         Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center

MS 954, US Geological Survey

Reston, VA 20192 

Position: GIS Specialist

Background and Description of Projects:

Student contractor position will provide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) support and data collection/compilation activities for the Development of Assessment Techniques and Analysis Project (DATAP). The focus of DATAP is to update the application and development of USGS mineral resource and integrated multiresource assessment methodologies and capacity that are applicable at a variety of spatial and temporal scales, and national and international in scope.

DATAP will focus on improving USGS mineral resource assessments and assessment expertise and capacity by:

  • Modernizing procedures and products by incorporating geospatial/geostatistical techniques into the 3-Part form of assessment (including, but not limited to, delineation of assessment tracts).
  • Updating and expanding methodologies for estimating numbers of undiscovered deposits and associated resources.
  • Enhancing and adding measures and reporting of uncertainty and confidence in source data and results.
  • Developing standards and a strategy for re-building and updating grade and tonnage databases and models, as needed, to support more accurate resource estimates.
  • Adding filters to express a measure of mineral resource economic feasibility.
  • Developing techniques to assess stratiform mineral deposit types.
  • Developing techniques to integrate the results of mineral assessments with environmental, hydrogeologic, socioeconomic, and/or other considerations to perform multiresource, interdisciplinary resource assessments.
  • Developing technical tools and instruction materials to build USGS capacity and disseminate USGS expertise through training workshops, scientific exchanges, and collaborative assessment projects.

Work Requirements:

The student contractor will provide GIS expertise in support of the Projects’ database development, management, data analysis, and publication activities. The support activities include working with geologists and involved with data analysis. The student contractor will use advanced aspects of GIS and will be expected to assist in developing derivative GIS data layers from existing USGS and adjunct digital data for digital and more traditional publication formats. The student contractor will also develop information and digital graphics for release in print and web-publication formats.

Specific Tasks:

  1. Build ArcGIS projects incorporating diverse geologic and other thematic data to develop derivative maps and spatial models.
  2. Learn the use of statistical and USGS-developed software as needed for project activities.
  3. Maintenance of digital data bases, including sorting of records, merging of records, and entering data. Work will involve using spreadsheets and databases.
  4. Advanced GIS manipulations of spatial databases in ArcGIS 10x. Editing and synthesizing GIS data to produce digital maps for review and publication.
  5. Creation of graphics used in publications.

Work Experience Benefits to Student contractor:

The student contractor will receive a broad range of experience in working with a diverse group of USGS scientists. By collaborating with senior scientists and other GIS specialists, the student contractor will refine and develop skills in digital datasets, GIS applications, and spatial data analysis. These skills are of increasing importance in GIS applications and the geosciences.

Specific Qualifications Required:

1) The student contractor must be enrolled in a degree program at the University, but does not have to be a US citizen.

2) The student contractor must have practical knowledge and skills with ArcGIS 10x, including map projections and reprojection of data, working with both vector and raster data, appropriate use of ArcGIS tools and toolbox, and data management.

3) The student contractor must also have working knowledge of the major spreadsheet and database programs (for example, Excel, Access.) The student contractor must have the ability to quickly learn and deal with new software.

4) The student contractor should be familiar with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop software to be used to generate report illustrations and graphics.

5) Experience with ArcGIS ModelBuilder and ArcGIS extensions Spatial Analyst and Geostatistical Analyst is desirable.

6) Experience with statistical software packages, such as SAS, JMP, and R is desirable.

Additional Qualifications Desirable:

Background knowledge of geology and mineralogy is desirable.

Overtime Requirements:

Overtime will not be expected.


Student will work at the USGS National Center in Reston, VA. Student will be paid by requisition contract at an hourly rate as listed in the OPM pricing table for student services. Full or Part-time during summers and school breaks; part-time during school year as negotiated, up to a maximum of 20 hours per week during the school year; 1 year duration. Start October 2015.