GIS Technical Manager (Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data)

United Nations Foundation
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
Experience Level: 
Entry Level (0-2 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.


The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), hosted at the UN Foundation, is a fast-growing, dynamic international partnership bringing together over 300 different organizations including governments, UN agencies, private companies, civil society organizations, and many others. We make connections and broker partnerships to address the problems of gaps in data production, poor data use, access, quality, and to work with stakeholders to fully harness the new opportunities of the data revolution in the service of sustainable development. We aim to link and align action, capacities and resources across geographies, sectors and data communities.


In May 2018, the GPSDD in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), Amazon Web Services (AWS), Government of Kenya, Strathmore University and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) launched the Africa Regional Data Cube (ARDC). The ARDC seeks to provide analytically ready data across decades allowing for easily accessible geospatial analysis on key environmental issues. The initial focus for the data cube will be on algorithms to address priorities identified by GPSDD partners across 5 countries: Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania; with plans to scale up to other countries in the near future.


We are looking for a passionate and dynamic professional with strong coordination and technical skills to provide support to the ARDC. Working under the day to day direction of the Africa Regional Manager, and in close collaboration with the GPSDD secretariat team, and the collaborating partner organizations, the Technical Manager will support our country partners in the development of use-cases, and coordinate with the ARDC institutional hosts to ensure all partners can access, process, and disseminate satellite data in meaningful ways to a diverse range of audiences. He/she will coordinate with the ARDC collaborating partners to support the data cube’s sustainability strategy and its infrastructure; while promoting it to diverse audiences in different contexts. The Technical Manager will be a critical contributor to the GPSDD secretariat team and will also be actively and heavily engaged with the team.  


Type: Consultant 


Location preference: Nairobi, Accra, Freetown, Dar Es Salaam, Dakar


Application closing date: September 14, 2018


Technical management

  • Work in partnership with,and support the collaborating partners in the management of the ARDC infrastructure including access to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud (Simple Data Storage) of Landsat and Sentinel data.
  • In collaboration with Strathmore University, ensure that the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for the data cube management, new data ingestion, and web-based user interface, is fully functional and effectively meets user needs.
  • In partnership with the collaborating partners, ensure each country's EC2 Computing “instance” for analysis, the User Interface and Jupyter Notebooks are functioning optimally and troubleshoot where necessary.
  • In partnership with AWS and Strathmore University, coordinate the distribution AWS credits and ensure the S3 data storage is shared equitably among countries in the cloud.
  • Together with the collaborating partners, facilitate and coordinate capacity building efforts to country partners in the use of Jupyter Notebooks and pre-set algorithms.
  • Support the development of new methodologies and algorithms for wider sharing.


Partner relationship management

  • Build and strengthen relationships with partner countries’ governments and other data communities to support the ARDC as a self-driven resource for EO and satellite data.
  • Work with country ARDC focal points to strengthen the ownership and government coordinating mechanisms that effectively institutionalize the ARDC.
  • Provide hands-on support for the evaluation of user requirements for EO and satellite data.
  • Work closely with country partners in the development of prioritized thematic use-cases that demonstrate how EO data can solve practical data challenges in areas such as agriculture, land and crop cover, urbanization, illegal mining, water extent, environment and forest cover, among others.
  • Support the GPSDD ‘interoperability’ data collaborative and related task teams by contributing to the content of discussions, and facilitating partner engagement.
  • Interface and build multi-stakeholder data collaboratives and communities (civil society, research/academia, media, donors, tech community, etc.) around the identified ARDC use-cases.
  • Encourage research, innovation, and new product development around the ARDC.
  • Contribute to the development of the scaling up model and the ARDC interface with other data cubes and initiatives such as Digital Earth Africa.


Engagements and communication

  • Review technical material from the ARDC and partner country use-cases and work with the Communications team to develop content and key messages for diverse audiences.
  • Track and maintain an awareness of policy and other issues related to EO data.
  • Track debates on data for development, and cross-cutting policy issues in relation to implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Proactively identify opportunities for the GPSDD to play a useful role in discussions, policy development, and make the case for the use of EO and satellite data to support the implementation and monitoring of SDGs.
  • Seek and strengthen partnerships that provide financial, technical, human, and other resources that support the ARDC.
  • Represent GPSDD in technical and non-technical forums.
  • Document progress, challenges, and share learning emerging from country level work.
  • Any other duties as assigned by management.

Selection Criteria

  • The Technical Manager will need to be flexible; with the ability to think intuitively and multitask.
  • Ability to employ project management and coordination skills, and possess technical skills.
  • 3 years’ experience in a GIS related position engaging with governments and diverse data communities.
  • Master’s degree in GIS, information technology or related field.
  • Considerable knowledge of GIS hardware and software components, data communication and network methods and techniques.
  • Knowledge of automated mapping and geographic information processing methods and techniques.
  • Programming experience with Python is preferred.
  • Experience working with common land imaging datasets (e.g. Landsat, MODIS, Sentinel) is preferred.
  • Strong planning and organizational skills.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks with attention to detail and deadlines.
  • Experience preparing a variety of correspondence and complex tasks and reports.
  • Ability and patience to train internal and external stakeholders in the operation of the ARDC.
  • Multi-cultural experience with the ability to deal tactfully and courteously with the public.
  • Ability to work across departments and with partners from different countries and organizations to accomplish mission.
  • Communications skills (listening, speaking, and writing) and continuous learning skills.
  • Team player that is interested in being part of a highly functioning, fast-paced group of professionals.
  • Ability to work under pressure, handle stress, and meet regular attendance / tardiness policy.
  • Sense of humor and ability to work well with individuals from very different cultural and institutional backgrounds.
  • Experience with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the relevance of multiple sources of data.
  • Knowledge of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will be a distinct advantage.
  • Knowledge of written and spoken French will be an added advantage.