Many GIS professionals are good at what they do. However, they have difficulty in their delivery. The good news is that there are easy ways to improve your tech writing skills to complete your analyses and reports.
The Role of a GIS Professional
As a GIS technician, you create and interpret maps and know different geographical positions located on the earth’s surface. Using advanced software, you are able to collect, manage, analyze and present spatial data. In many cases, you work with a team, where each member has a separate function. This collaborated information is helpful in many industries which include health, local government, transportation, business marketing and geology.
Use of the Collected Information
The stored information lets companies and government agencies plan ahead for things like emergencies. For example, knowing where rivers and lakes are located in an area prone to flooding gives officials the data they need for possible scenarios that can play out during a disaster. As a result, this allows the local city and government agencies to warn residents living in these areas ahead of time. Using technical writing tools, you can transfer the data into an easy-to-read written format.
Where Tech Writing Benefits a GIS Professional
Not every audience is the same. In some cases, you are establishing reports for highly educated individuals who have a greater understanding of technical terms. However, in other cases, your audience might be regular people with only a high school diploma. Using the same language would not make it easy for them to understand. Once you establish which target audience you are addressing, you must consider the information they need. Going back to the emergency scenario, the people living in these areas want to know what the worst case scenario is. Will there be flooding? How long will the water remain a threat? This is vital information that can save lives.
GIS Professional Duties
While a GIS specialist will create graphs and maps and perform various research, they also need to compile the information obtained and write a report of their findings. This often entails making a presentation through developed literature and slide shows.
How to Begin Your Tech Report
The best way to begin any report is with an outline. An outline will allow you to break up the report into meaningful sections that are just a few sentences long for an easy read. Creating an outline also makes it easier to come up with information on a per topic basis.
Filling in the Blanks
You have the knowledge, now it’s time to put it into words on paper. Without writing skills you may not be able to complete the task. However, by breaking it into small sections, you can take the information stored and apply it to the related topic.
Keep it Interesting
Most people have short attention spans and if you create a report that’s long and boring, chances are your target audience will skim through it at best. Instead, add appeal by adding photos related to the report or topic. They are easy to find online and then with a simple copy and paste, your report just got more interesting. It’s also important to make it an easy read. One way to achieve this is through the use of graphs, bold headings, subheadings and bullet points or numbered lists. Additionally, avoid long wordy sentences that expand beyond 25 words. Instead, say what you mean in as few words as possible.
Many of the topics you will write about are difficult to explain. Because of this, it’s essential to your final product that you proofread it prior to submission.
GIS Professionals gather, store, analyze, and then often write a report. Unlike webinars that people might not even pay attention to, written reports can be referred to again and again. They won’t let your hard work go to waste.