Ocean Career: Marine Conservation Institute Geospatial Database Coordinator

We seek a highly qualified individual to join Marine Conservation Institute as a Geospatial Database Coordinator for the Marine Protection Atlas (MPAtlas). MPAtlas is a key platform for organizing strategic coalition planning, research, and communication, providing up-to-date tracking of MPA commitments and national and global MPA coverage, and this role will be a key contributor to that platform.

This individual will coordinate and administer our marine protected area (MPA) assessment database, associated MPA boundary database, and GIS library. The database coordinator will work closely with the MPAtlas team to better streamline and expand access to these data for use by Institute staff and partners in web applications and analyses.

As our database coordinator, you will work closely with Institute staff and collaborators; particularly those engaged in implementing The MPA Guide, an effort led by Marine Conservation Institute and others to standardize MPA definitions and classifications. You will support MPA research by curating a database of MPA assessments and the spatial boundaries of management zones within these protected areas. These assessments will be linked to other geospatial data to analyze and report on MPA coverage on several scales, demonstrating the value of The MPA Guide framework.

The coordinator role may expand to support additional analyses, interactive data visualization products, reports and other tasks to help showcase the data on the MPAtlas platform. Much of the database structure is already in place but needs improvement and new automation algorithms. Much of this position will be maintenance and database clean-up so we are looking for someone who enjoys and finds database management rewarding. The coordinator will also be tasked with creating and facilitating training and instruction on data submission for staff, collaborators and interested parties from around the world to conduct and contribute independent assessments to our platform. Our efforts will support adoption of the framework by the international community.

To succeed in this role, you will need excellent analytical, organizational, and communication skills as well as substantive knowledge and experience in database management and geospatial analysis. You should share our commitment to protecting marine life and have a demonstrated ability to work independently, with minimal direct supervision. This position will be remote, with a preference for locations close to our existing offices in Seattle or the San Francisco Bay area for occasional in-person meetings.

Primary Responsibilities and Duties

  • Create, refine, and maintain the current MPAtlas assessment database (~2,200 records and increasing) and associated MPAtlas geospatial database in Postgresql + PostGIS
  • Streamline existing data processing pipelines, or build new pipelines as needed, to regularly ingest spatial MPA data from major providers
  • Develop and support automated methods and manual procedures for linking geospatial MPA boundaries to MPA assessments, including identifying and applying updates to existing geospatial boundaries
  • Create clear processes to increase staff use of and access to data by developing queries, data processing scripts, and instructional guides
  • Perform tuning, optimizations, and updates to the database and ensure that the databases are backed up and managed securely
  • Troubleshoot performance issues within the databases and data processing pipelines
  • Develop robust data import/export routines to facilitate offline and bulk data entry by Institute staff and partners
  • Contribute to reports summarizing research on global MPA coverage
  • Communicate proactively with all key stakeholders, including internal and external colleagues

Skills Required

  • Demonstrated proficiency with management of relational databases, especially Postgresql
  • Demonstrated proficiency with geospatial database operations, particularly PostGIS
  • Demonstrated proficiency with developing and maintaining data processing pipelines using open-source libraries, especially with Python toolkits
  • Demonstrated proficiency with geospatial data analysis, using ArcGIS, QGIS or other tools
  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously (planned and ad hoc)
  • Must be able to manage time effectively and to deliver on commitments
  • Proactively manage deliverable deadlines and progress reporting
  • Experience managing databases and server architecture using cloud infrastructure (Amazon Web Services) is a plus
  • Proficient in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

Desired Skills

  • Bachelor’s degree in the sciences, with preference for computer sciences
  • Proven proficiency in database management, python coding and geospatial analysis, through either formal education or experience
  • Experience with JavaScript; experience with REACT and REDUX a big plus
  • Experience with RESTful API design; experience with Django rest-framework a big plus
  • Experience with AWS cloud deployment or a strong desire to learn; experience creating resources using infrastructure as code (IaC) a big plus
  • Familiarity with ocean conservation issues, including marine protected areas and management

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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