GIS Research Associate I, Global Forest Watch, Forest Program

  • World Resource Institute
  • Washington, DC
  • Feb 02, 2023
Full time Communications Database Technology Biotech

Job Description

This position is remote-eligible and only for consideration for the WRI US office where WRI is state registered. Existing work authorization is required at the time of application submission. WRI is unable to sponsor any visa work sponsorship for this position. 

About the Program:  


Global Forest Watch  

The World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Forest Program works with governments, businesses, and civil society to sustain forests for future generations. We aim to curb deforestation worldwide and help restore and reforest already-cleared land. With these goals in mind, the Global Forest Watch (GFW) initiative makes the best available data for monitoring forests accessible online. By harnessing cutting-edge technology, GFW allows anyone to access near real-time information about where and how forests are changing around the world. 

GFW Pro  

Recognizing that the agricultural industry is essential for human well-being yet is often associated with tropical deforestation, the GFW Pro team focuses on developing monitoring solutions for commodity supply chains. With the online application GFW Pro, companies, financial institutions and other entities can securely monitor and manage for deforestation risk in areas they buy from or invest in.  To ensure the continued utility and impact of GFW Pro, the team works closely with these stakeholders to identify, pilot and integrate new solutions into the platform.  

GFW Research 

As part of the broader GFW initiative, Global Forest Watch’s research team of GIS Analysts and researchers collaborates with partners to collect and analyze forest data and produce meaningful insights for day-to-day users, local governments, and other stakeholders, while also providing near real time forest monitoring platforms for local NGOs and forest monitoring organizations. GFW’s research team conducts research on the causes and consequences of forest change around the world, generally at large spatial scales with remote sensing-derived products. The research team collaborates with teams throughout WRI, as well as external partners. The research team creates new geospatial forest-related data sets for inclusion on GFW platforms and analyzes existing data.  


Job Highlight:  
The Research and GFW Pro teams are engaged in an initiative to include greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from forest loss in GFW Pro, in compliance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s forthcoming land sector guidance for companies. This will allow companies to report supply chain GHG emissions alongside deforestation using GFW Pro. This position will carry out GIS analyses to support the inclusion of emissions in GFW Pro.  


Four initial stages of work will be: 1) testing different permutations of calculating GHG emissions from forest loss (different data sets, different methods) with the Research and Pro teams, 2) working with a few companies with substantial land-based GHG emissions to pilot emissions methods with their own data, 3) calculating emissions from deforestation globally due to supply chains, and 4) working with the GFW Pro engineering/website team to include emissions calculations in the GFW Pro platform. After emissions calculations have been included in GFW Pro, this position will conduct other analyses (carbon and not carbon-related), both to support GFW Pro and as part of the larger GFW research team. 

This position requires experience programming with geospatial data, automating tasks, and large-scale analyses. Familiarity with forest carbon monitoring and corporate supply chains is required. Opportunities for outreach and engagement will also be available.  


You will be supported by researchers and analysts throughout GFW, as well as the engagement and communications teams.  

You will report to the GIS Research Manager for GFW. 

What you will do:

Research and Analysis (70%): 

  • Collaborate with researchers in GFW and elsewhere to develop and implement workflows and new analysis methods  
  • Analyze spatial data, including using spatial statistics and timeseries analysis 
  • Take methods from inception to small-scale pilots to operational, global analyses 
  • Write code and program analyses to automate recurring and/or large-scale GIS analyses  
  • Compare a range of geospatial data and their effects on analyses 
  • Collaborate with companies on using their data for piloting forest loss and GHG emissions analyses 
  • Lead select geospatial research projects, including designing methods, managing project tasks and timelines, and writing reports  


Data Management and GIS Technical Support (20%) 

  • Process, format, and manage datasets for input into GFW Pro 
  • Conduct geospatial analyses for QA/QC of GFW Pro and other GFW platformsthe GFW API, and associated web tools through collaboration with the GFW engineering team 
  • Provide data analysis support for GFW users   
  • Identify new datasets relevant to GFW, in the context of identified thematic and geographic research priorities 


Outreach and Communication (10%): 

  • Become an expert in GFW’s geospatial data and associated platforms  
  • Field and appropriately respond to GIS-related technical inquiries from GFW users and the media  
  • Write technical publications to document geospatial analysis methods 
  • Communicate about GFW data and analytical content to non-technical audiences 


What you will need: 

  • Education: You have completed Masters degree in GIS, Environmental Science, Geography, Forest Ecology, or another related field. 
  • Experience: You have 6years full-time relevant work experience using GIS. 
  • Demonstrated experience independently developing GIS methods and delivering robust analytical products  
  • Expertise in GIS software, including ArcGIS Desktop 10.x, ArcGIS Pro, and/or QGIS  
  • Programming experience using Python, R, SQL, and/or other analysis tools to automate workflows, including large volumes of data 
  • Experience with both raster- and vector-based GIS analyses, including large and complex datasets   
  • Experience with giving presentationand explaining technical topics to non-technical audiences  
  • Experience with writing, including the development of methodology and guidance documents 
  • Experience with Google Earth Engine a plus 
  • Experience with carbon accounting and reporting standardssuch as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol 
  • Experience with methods and datasets related to monitoring carbon in forests 
  • Experience with agricultural supply chains  
  • Languages: English required, with Spanish, French, Portuguese or Bahasa Indonesia a plus 
  • Requirements: Existing work authorization is required where this position is based. WRI is unable to authorize visa work authorization. 

Potential Salary: 
Salary is commensurate with experience and other compensable factors. WRI offers a competitive remuneration and benefits package 
How to Apply:  
Please submit a resume with cover letter by the date of February 24, 2023. You mustapply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered. 

Our culture: WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices. We are committed to providing equal opportunities in employment, we embrace all diversity and encourage women, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, Afro-descendants, and Indigenous people to apply. Recognizing our strong commitment to gender equality, WRI has also been awarded EDGE certification. 


Environmental Protection-Conservation, Other, General-Other: Project-Program Management, Database Development-Administration, General-Other: Business-Strategic Management, Environmental-Geological Testing & Analysis, General-Other: R&D-Science



$84k - $95k