It’s useful for people from all sorts of backgrounds to get involved with GIS

Interview with Venko Venkov, GIS and Database Intern at Esri Bulgaria.

For him, mathematics is a passion and art is more than a hobby. Venko Venkov is a second year Geospatial Technologies and Systems student at St. Kliment Ohridski University. He chose his major from the three he was accepted to. One of his dreams was to study chemical engineering, the second – business and entrepreneurship, and the third – GIS.

Accepted everywhere he applied – Venko finally decided that only Geospatial Technologies most fully united his diverse interests and passions: for mathematics, for engineering, for entrepreneurship, for art…


Mathematics and art have been your passions from an early age…

I graduated from Kazanlak Mathematical High School and mathematics has always been my passion, but my hobbies have always been related to art. I was involved in sports dancing for 8-9 years, and acting for almost 7 years. But I have always wanted to pursue a career in a science oriented field, and once I started reading more about GIS, I found that there is a very big future in this field, the demand is growing, and it is also very interesting. In GIS I can also weave my artistry – for visualizations, for making maps and dashboards one has to have an aesthetic eye.

What was your first encounter with GIS?

Before university, I had only heard of GIS, without having been involved with such programs. In my first year we had cartography, that’s when I actually met GIS. We were creating maps and from there I became very interested.

I also had a course project in the subject “Business Applications of GIS and Geospatial Information” at university. I developed a business and marketing concept for an app and/or website for photographs of storms and extreme weather phenomena. GIS is a suitable technology to build such an application as it allows to include a specific weather forecast, a collection of photographs and additional extras combining different services into one.

Why did you go for an internship at Esri Bulgaria?

I think this is the best place to start a GIS career as Esri are the leaders in the GIS field. They are the creators of ArcGIS, which is the main platform worldwide. The bigger and more serious companies rely on closed source programs rather than open source ones. And ArcGIS is one of the most used closed source platforms! There are also a huge number of Esri products, just to mention ArcGIS Online and Web App Builder and their rich capabilities.

During your internship what do you do, which applications do you use?

I was involved in collecting and processing raw climate data, which I then incorporated into geodatabases in ArcGIS Pro. The other project I was involved in involved georeferencing maps using ArcGIS Pro.

I mainly use ArcGIS Pro during my internship, but I really like ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Dashboards and all the tools related to mobile app development as they are very interactive. They allow you to let your imagination run wild and create very interesting information products with them.

Did you learn new things during the internship?

Yes, about data processing, about tables – I learned a lot of functionalities and details. And also about georeferencing I gained a lot of useful knowledge and experience.

The internship has been very useful for me because from time to time some problems come up that my mentors help me with and so I learn and if a similar case comes up in the future I will know how to get out of a situation and deal with it. When I have questions, I turn to my mentor – to help me. Everybody in the company is very friendly, we talk to each other on the phone, which is very supportive.

What expectations did you have for this internship, is this how you imagined it would go?

Not really, I thought it would be for beginners and I would be doing more basic stuff. Like data processing again, but some more elementary tasks. Whereas now I’m dealing with a really big database and working on a bigger project than I expected. It’s really nice because this is how I’m really getting into the professional field.

And what is your message to those who are just getting into GIS?

Let them try at home to work with different data from all sorts of fields, make different visualizations, participate in trainings, workshops and if they can – apply for an internship at ESRI. This way they will objectively assess whether this is for them. GIS is a comprehensive concept and everyone can find something interesting for themselves. I think it’s useful for people from many different backgrounds to get involved with GIS.