Environmental Informatics career services information
"In the context of SNRE's world-class environmental education, environmental informatics courses provide students with the technical capability to bring GIS, remote sensing, and computer modeling tools to bear on important environmental questions. Environmental problems occur at all spatial scales and involve interactions between locations and between people and their environment. The ability to examine, visualize, and model human and environmental patterns and processes over space and time enhances our capacity to both understand and provide solutions to these problems. We aim to provide students with the tools and skills they need to contribute to those solutions." -Dan Brown, SNRE Faculty
Favorite EI job search websites
CleanTechies Job Board Directions Magazine Career Center (resources for geospatial technology professionals)
Environmental Career Opportunities (Please go to eRecruiter to obtain the password for the job subscription)
Green Careers Journal (Please go to eRecruiter to obtain the password for the job subscription)
SNRE Job Posting Websites
State of Michigan Vacancy Posting Page
The GIS Jobs Clearing House URISA Career Center (scroll down a bit for a listing of current openings)
Employers of SNRE graduates and interns*
Check out the SNRE Group on LinkedIn to network with SNRE students & alumni who have professional experience in the field.
City of Indianapolis, Office of Sustainability
Contra Costa County, CA
Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
ESRIFlorida State University
Institute for Fisheries Research (IFR)
Louisiana Bucket Brigade
MDA Information Systems, Inc
Michigan Tech Research InstituteMichigan Technological UniversityNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Portland State University, Geography DepartmentSt. John's County, FL
The Woods Hole Research Center
The World BankUniversity of EdinburghUniversity of Michigan Biological Station
University of Michigan Botanical Gardens
University of Michigan and State of Michigan Department of Natural Resources Institute for Fisheries Research
University of Michigan, SNREUniversity of Wisconsin - Madison
US Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency
US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
US Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
US Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Washtenaw County Economic & Energy Development DepartmentWorld Resources Institute
Job titles and employment sector of SNRE alumni*
Please note that some positions may require a PhD.
Non-Governmental Organization/Non-Profit/Multilateral Institutions
GIS/Remote Sensing Analyst
Natural Resources Management Specialist
Information Manager Post-Doctoral Research Associate Post-Doctoral Research Scientist
Environmental Protection Specialist
Natural Resources Specialist/ Geospatial Coordinator
Natural Science Research Associate
Regional Wildlife Ecologist
Research Area Specialist Intermediate
Chief Technology Officer
Raster Support Analyst
Click here for some sample EI Career Opportunities
These are just a handful that have been suggested by faculty, students, or are registered employers on eRecruiter...many more are out there! Check out eRecruiter for a complete listing of EI employers that are registered with SNRE.
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (also check with their member agencies for employment opportunities)
Camp, Dresser & McKee (CDM)
Center for Environmental Informatics (CEI)
Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Michigan State University
Ecology and Environment, Inc.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of the Science Advisor (OSA)
Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, Inc. (FTC&H)
Florida Trail Association
Geographic Information Services, Inc.
Georgia Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research Program
Great Lakes Geologic Mapping Coalition
I. M. Systems Group, Inc. (IMSG)
Institute for Environment and Sustainability
Kachemak Bay Research Reserve
Lakes Region Planning Commission
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Michigan State University Extension/Michigan Natural Features Inventory
Mystic River Watershed Association
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Natural Resources Defense Council
Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) check out their website for employment opportunities at member field offices
Sonoma County Water Agency
Sound Environmental Strategies
Southwest Michigan Planning Commission
SWCA Environmental Consultants
The Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research (IWWR)
The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network
The Nature Conservancy
The Sitka Conservation Society
United Nations Environment Program
US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
US Geological Survey
Washtenaw County Government, Office of Strategic Planning
Western Reserve Land Conservancy
Also check with state, county, and local governments for job openings.
EI-focused master's projects
- Current Master's Project: Kalamazoo River Watershed Land Conservation Plan
- Current Master's Project: Corridor Performance: Measuring the Impacts and Benefits of Design on Urban Retail Corridors
- Current Master's Project: Environmental Flows for the Huron River System
- Current Master's Project: Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities, and Trade: Mapping Environmental Justice Project
- 2013: From Home Energy Audit to Retrofit and Beyond
- 2013: The Demand for Carbon Offsets in the United States: A Snapshot of U.S. Buyers on the Global Voluntary and California Compliance Markets
- 2013: Innovations for LEAP GI: Green Infrastructure Analysis, Design, and Application in Detroit's Lower East Side
- 2012: Using Life Cycle Assessment to Determine the Environmental Feasibility of Generating Value-Added Products from the Commercial-Scale Production of Biogas
- 2012: Enhancing Sustainability at the Huron-Clinton Metroparks
- 2012: Detroit Vacant Property Project
- 2011: Ecological Prioritization and Mapping of the Huron Clinton Metroparks
- 2011: Climate Change Adaptation Planning in U.S. Cities
- 2011: Assisting Great Lakes Coastal Communities with Climate Change Adaptation
- 2010: Protected Area Management Effects on Freshwater Conservation
- 2010: Renewable Energy in the California Desert: Mechanisms for Evaluating Solar Development on Public Lands
eRecruiter EI highlights
- Search for EI related jobs/internships (employers can register for eRecruiter for free)
- Find career events on campus
- Search for Employers who hire EI students
- Apply for EI jobs/internship on-line
- View our Document Library, full of helpful career related resources
What exactly is the study of Environmental Informatics?
Environmental research, impact assessment, planning, and management have grown increasingly reliant on computer-based approaches in the past few decades. Geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, dynamic-simulation modeling, and statistics are utilized in a variety of scientific and professional endeavors, ranging from forestry, landscape mapping, and watershed ecology to archaeology, pollution detection, and geology.
As a result, the need for professionals trained in technical and applied aspects of these approaches has risen dramatically. Environmental informatics, also called eco-informatics, addresses this need by focusing on analytical and computer-based methods in the study and management of natural resources and the environment.
The Environmental Informatics curriculum emphasizes not only the methods and skills of using computational and analytical techniques to solve environmental problems, but also the science, societal issues, and policy behind those problems. This field of study is particularly distinctive because it combines GIS with quantitative methods and modeling for natural-resource applications.
The USEPA Workforce Assessment Project noted that one of the top skills for environmental professionals is the mastery of information technology.
EI students qualify for a wide range of careers in academic research or professional environmental management. Graduates use their knowledge and skills to procure positions as remote-sensing specialists, analysts, or refuge managers with the government. Others have become environmental consultants with private firms, nonprofit organizations, and major research universities.
Some SNRE students have the opportunity to work with the Currie Lab Group or the Environmental Spatial Analysis Laboratory (ESA Lab), located on the University of Michigan Campus in the Dana Building.
Examples of EI coursework:
SNRE students learn about sampling, statistics, and probability, as well as important functions encountered in biology, matrices, and spatial and temporal processes. Lecture and laboratory venues acquaint students with remote-sensing physical principles, different types of sensors, image-analysis methods, and applications of remote sensing to the identification and solution of environmental problems. Students learn how to plan, design, and execute a GIS project for natural-resource management and become proficient in the use of mapping software. Some courses focus on modeling spatial patterns of landscape change or specific physiological processes governing ecosystem response to environmental change. Students obtain hands-on experience in labs and field trips to reinforce classroom learning.
Environmental Spatial Data Analysis Information about events and attributes that is referenced to locations can provide special insights into social and environmental processes. By analyzing this information in ways that take advantage of the spatial dimensions, we search for spatial patterns to generate and test hypotheses about the causes and effects of these patterns. This course deals with the processing and quantitative treatment of spatial data for use in ecological and environmental analysis and assessment.
GIS and Landscape Modeling The goal of this class is to explore various approaches to modeling landscape pattern and change. The focus is on understanding, describing, and predicting the two-dimensional patterns of land-use and land-cover that are observable in map-based depictions of landscapes. The course will move between social and ecological processes and applications of the models, always with a geographical focus. Students that complete the course will be able to evaluate the trade-offs associated with use of a particular modeling approach within a given situation, and to implement several of the approaches discussed.
GIS and Natural Resource Applications This course gives students the ability to plan, design, and execute a GIS project for natural resources management. Students learn the potentials and limitations of geographic analyses. They learn how to build geographic databases, analyze data spatially, and produce output that succinctly summarizes their results. Students learn the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of raster and vector systems for addressing different resources management projects. They also learn where to acquire geographic data and the errors associated with using it.
Principles of GIS This class provides a firm understanding of the issues that affect the use of geographic information systems (GIS) for application, research and planning in natural resources. Students learn to conceptualize and implement geographic data management and analysis for research and application.
Remote Sensing for Environmental GIS Remote sensing, including air photos and satellite imagery is one of the most useful and important spatial data sources in both GIS and environmental sciences defined broadly. In this course students learn the theory, sensors, analysis methods, and applications of remote sensing. Labs present opportunities for hands-on analysis experience using ERDAS Imagine and ArcGIS software and several types of images.
Thinking Analytically for Policy and Decisions This course develops the skills of using analytic methods and models to understand real decisions and policy issues, drawn from the realms of natural resource management, public policy, business strategy, politics, negotiations, and conflict. The perspective is that of a decision-maker seeking better understanding of complex situations she/he faces in managerial and professional life, and practical guidance for making decisions in these situations. The course considers a variety of analytic techniques, methods, and models, particularly those emphasizing uncertainty and strategic interactions in decision-making. Concepts of modeling are also focused on, with emphasis on dynamics, uncertainty, and optimal choice under constraints.
Students can also reach out to other schools and departments on campus to find faculty members interested in Environmental Informatics. Faculty members in Civil and Environmental Engineering offer courses and conduct research in the field of Environmental Informatics.
Conferences are great avenues for resource sharing, presenting papers/poster, networking, and meeting possible future employers!
Applied Geography Conference
Clinton Global Initiative Annual Conference
Conference Alert (listing of upcoming environmental conferences)
EnvironInfo - Informatics for Environmental Protection (10.6-8.2010)
ERSI User Conferences
Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference (search the internet for workforce, labor development, or other green job conferences)
International Conference on Computational Information Technologies for Environmental Sciences
View the SNRE Conference Website
Many of the Professional Organizations listed below hold annual conferences, visit their websites for more information. There are also many state and local chapters that hold conferences in which you may have interest. The benefits are that the conferences are close to home and usually are less crowded than national conferences.
Air & Waste Management Association
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS)
Association of American Geographers (AAG)
Ecological Society of America
Emerging GIS Leaders (Emerging GIS Leaders also has a website with a listing of GIS Professional Organizations)
Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA)
Improving Michigan's Access to Geographic Information Networks (IMAGIN) (yearly conference attendees include many GIS professionals from Michigan)
International Association for Landscape Ecology (national meeting of landscape ecologists, good medium sized professional society, oriented towards science)
International Environmental Modelling and Software Society (IEMSS) (yearly international meeting focuses on the science and application of environmental modeling)
International Society for Ecological Informatics
National Association of Environmental Professionals
The North American Cartographic Information Society
Society for Conservation GIS (SCGIS) (Annual Conference) (yearly conference provides a good opportunity to network with conservation professionals working with GIS)
The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA)
University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an appointment with a SNRE Career Services staff member.
Lisa Yee-Litzenberg: Coordinator of Student Career Services
Room 1520 Dana Building
(734) 615-1633, email@example.com
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an appointment with a SNRE Career Services staff member.
*Data taken from 2006-2011 surveys of SNRE students/alumni and from our eRecruiter system