Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Intern

Mercy Corps
Portland, OR, United States
Position Type: 
Internship
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Apply By: 
ASAP

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LENGTH OF INTERNSHIP:  January - April 2019 (dates flexible, up to four months)

INTERN SUPERVISOR & CONTACT INFORMATION: The intern will report to the Tech 4 Development Advisor (in Portland) and work directly with Humanitarian Leadership and Response Advisor (remote)

FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR THE INTERNSHIP: $1000/month stipend (for up to four months) 

Mercy Corps responsibilities

For the duration of this internship assignment the intern will receive:

  • Workspace and GIS Workstation in Portland HQ
  • Access to Mercy Corps internal resources and database
  • Reimbursement for monthly Tri-Met pass (bike locker access on-site)
  • All materials required for successful completion of assigned tasks

Intern responsibilities

Intern will remain responsible for all costs associated with:

  • Accommodation and living expenses
  • All other costs associated with this internship

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: 

Mercy Corps work is in transition. The context of our work is increasingly defined by complex crises in places of high fragility, testing the sustainability and appropriateness of our strategies. We are also being called on to respond to an increasing number of acute humanitarian crises, requiring rapid pivots in strategy and resourcing. To be effective, Mercy Corps needs greater access to decision-targeted information.

The world of satellite imagery and analysis is expanding rapidly and has the potential to be a game changer for our work by providing decision-targeted information at scale. Increasing our ability to apply satellite imagery analysis will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations (context analysis, program design, measurement). It will also allow us to facilitate the transfer of similar skills to our in-country stakeholders and program participants. To that end, an inter-departmental working group, the Satellite Earth Observation Working Group convened to do the following:

SEO Working Group Goal // Transform the impact, effectiveness and sustainability of Mercy Corps' work by enhancing our ability to employ satellite-based earth observations in operations and program strategies, in humanitarian and development contexts.

Outcome 1 // Enhance the capacity of Mercy Corps staff and systems to apply earth observations to conduct assessments, remote monitoring and impact measurement

Outcome 2 // Position Mercy Corps to be able to facilitate greater utilization of earth observations by in-country stakeholders and partners to develop transformational strategies and program design.

By taking manageable steps towards integration, Mercy Corps can build the capacity needed at pace, establishing itself as a leader in a soon to be transformational capacity.

DELIVERABLES:

The Remote Sensing and GIS intern will support the objectives of the SEO Working Group in the following ways:

  1. The intern will work directly with the Tech for Development, Agriculture and Humanitarian Response units to develop relevant maps to inform programmatic decision making. To accomplish this, the intern will have access to a GIS workstation at Mercy Corps’ headquarters in Portland, Oregon, software and imagery resources (from internal and external sources/partners).
  2. Work with the SEO Working Group to draft:
    1. Specifications for potential agency use cases to guide discussion with current/potential imagery and analysis partners. (ie - imagery and analysis products most useful in natural disasters, complex conflict, for agricultural development, etc.)
    2. Business model for organisational investment in greater GIS/Remote Sensing capacity with specific recommendations for country teams and headquarters departments interested in leveraging this technology. (ie - budget and system investment recommendations for teams, depending on potential use cases)
  3. Gather case studies/examples from field teams who are also using GIS/Remote Sensing.
  4. Other items may be added depending on the interests and career objectives of the intern. The internship can be adapted to meet graduate requirements or research project objectives as they related to mapping in development and emergency response.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

  1. The intern will learn about applying GIS, satellite imagery and other remote sensing data to make programmatic decisions in development and emergency contexts.
  2. The intern will also be instrumental in building organizational capacity for GIS, satellite imagery and analysis.

THE IDEAL CANDIDATE:

  • Currently enrolled, or recent graduate, or a relevant degree program
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certification or degree in progress or complete
  • Familiarity with ArcGIS and similar platforms
  • Interest in working in a multi-cultural and decentralized office environment
  • Comfortable with ambiguity, and personally motivated
  • Creative thinker and solution-oriented

This is a relatively new sector of technology application for Mercy Corps, and work around this to date has largely been owned by a working group of professionally interested colleagues. We don’t yet have a roadmap for how to apply this technology, and have a tight budget, though most partners are keen to provide resources pro bono or at discount. A successful intern will be comfortable in a relatively unstructured role, working with team members in multiple time zones. This is an excellent opportunity for someone looking to make this internship their own, as we have a lot of latitude across the agency to focus on multiple sectors (agriculture, women/girls, emergency response, water, health, food security, etc.) and geographies.

Mercy Corps interns staff represent the agency both during and outside of work hours and are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.