By Edward Pultar, PhD,  Lecturer, Spatial Sciences Institute, University of Southern California & President, Founder, Geographic Information Scientist at Valarm
Blaze your own career path!
While studying computer science and mathematics as an undergraduate, I decided I wanted to get my boots dirty and apply my love for the outdoors to my career.  I found geography and GIS at the University of Utah. 

My undergraduate research project was advanced for the time.  We mapped urban data clouds, performed in-situ wireless network data collection, and worked with agent-based models and cellular automata. 

A National Science Foundation grant funded my M.S. geography degree, where I developed a dynamic, spatio-temporal GIS including space-time algorithms, data structures, and queries. 

Michael Goodchild, one of the proverbial "fathers of GIS," was a Principal Investigator on the project, which helped land me at the University of California - Santa Barbara (UCSB).  
I spent several years at UCSB immersed as a PhD student focusing on the role of geography in social networks as well as how they integrate with data and transportation networks. During my time at UCSB, I interned at Google in Mountain View, California, and worked on the Google Earth product and a real-time hurricanes data layer. 

I also held an honorary appointment at the University of Melbourne, Australia and was a Jack & Laura Dangermond fellow in addition to receiving the University of California's President's fellowship. 

After graduating, I was a professor in Spain at Universitat Jaume, I worked with the international Master's program in Geospatial Technologies between Germany, Portugal, and Spain. There I developed fluency in the Spanish language and taught courses in English and Spanish to students from over 15 different countries. 

I'm currently a faculty member at the University of Southern California.  I recently developed our first Mobile GIS development course and one of the first courses where students use Google and Esri ArcGIS Software Development Kits (SDKs) to create custom apps. 

My brother and I recently launched an app in order to provide inexpensive remote monitoring, data acquisition, sensor networks, and asset / vehicle tracking, all with commodity hardware like phones and tablets.

Let's see where the road turns next...


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