Ever wonder what it’s like to be a member of the NOAA Coast Survey team? We use the Coast Survey spotlight blog series as a way to periodically share the experiences of Coast Survey employees as they discuss their work, background, and advice.
Brian Martinez, Lead Cartographer
Knowing that the products we provide to the mariner community is essential to safe navigation for commerce gives me a sense of accomplishment.
What is your job title and how long have you worked for NOAA Coast Survey?
I am a lead cartographer and I have worked at Coast Survey for 14 years.
What is a day in your job like?
I update and maintain nautical charts (raster and electronic navigational charts) in the Mid-Atlantic region. Various tasks include reviewing compiled sources of data, performing quality control, and pre-evaluating a variety of source data types before they are applied to the nautical charts. As a team lead, I provide daily guidance and technical advice to fellow cartographers.
What drew you to this work?
I loved maps and computers growing up. In college, I really enjoyed all of the cartography classes that I took. I had a mentor that encouraged me to find a job in the field.
What aspects of your job are most rewarding to you?
Knowing that the products we provide to the mariner community is essential to safe navigation for commerce gives me a sense of accomplishment. Also, helping my fellow cartographers on a daily basis is very rewarding to me.
What advice would you give someone looking to pursue a career in your field?
Do what you think is best for you. Throughout college I was often criticized by choosing a major that people thought had smaller chances of landing a successful job/career. I got a lot of skeptical questions like: “What are you going to do after school?” or “What kind of a job can you really get with a geography degree?” Stick to your gut and find something that you will enjoy for a long time. I was lucky enough to find that job right after college when I landed a job as a contractor for Coast Survey!