Scientific Computing Officer: GIS Programming and Data Analysis, Glagow, UK


Reference Number S40129
LocationGilmorehill Campus / Main Building
Job Family Management Professional & Administrative
Position Type Full Time
Salary Range £32,267 - £36,298
Job Purpose

You will be responsible for delivering a range of GIS and analysis support inthe new Urban Big Data Centre funded by the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Big Data Network Phase 2 - Business and Local Data. The centre's work will focus on developing Big Data management and information retrieval solutions, curation and linkage of different sources of Big Data, and research on urban informatics, urban and regional modeling and simulations, complex systems modeling and data science to address complex urban challenges relating to social justice, lifelong learning, urban engagement and environmental sustainability in cities.
Main Duties and Responsibilities

1. Develop a variety of data products comprising core deliverables of the centre, including web-based GIS solutions for access to a linked urban data infrastructure composed of highly heterogeneous data sources for use by a diverse group of researchers.
2 Responsible for supporting Centre staff and affiliates to assist with their GIS and social science data analysis needs, particularly in meeting their need for statistical, data mining, social network analysis, agent-based modeling, operations research methods and/or other analysis approaches, as they arise.
3. Liaise with a range of public and private organisations with whom we expect to develop data sharing relationships, with external analysts who wish to use the centre's data products, and in training programmes involving end-users.
4. Responsible for assisting centre researchers with GIS solutions and support.
5. Responsible for providing social science researchers with data analysis, visualisation and other informational support including specialist programming support.
6. Provide core support to develop a web-based GIS data infrastructure on urban indicators and related web-based visualisation and analytics interfaces
7. Contribute to the centre's other data products including a multi-media data infrastructure of a city and in the development of GIS and data analysis tools and services to access and analyse the data
8. Support the centre's IT team in building a robust IT infrastructure and in adapting to changing technologies in order to ensure availability, confidentiality and integrity of the Centre's data
9. Develop in-depth understanding of all data services and products and proactively develop skills, programmes and technologies to support improvements in processes with a particular focus on open source technologies and software
10. Provide assistance to Senior IT Manager by installing software in individual machines and in servers/clusters as necessary, following procedures for archiving data particularly with the UK Data Service (UKDS) and in maintaining systems particularly the GIS and data analysis software
11. Assist Senior IT Manager and other senior centre staff to acquire data from data owners; clean, link and otherwise curate the data
12. Liaise and meet with external researchers and provide training to internal staff and external researchers in the use of systems, help organise or otherwise contribute to the centre's technical workshops, create computer system documentation, client manuals for operation and give advice to centre personnel if necessary regarding resource estimates for project costing
13. Provide support for data infrastructure cleaning and maintenance with activities such as creating and maintaining metadata
14. Develop skills, learn new methods, connect with research networks in Big Data and analytics, seek out novel sources of data and otherwise provide innovative solutions in response to new emerging knowledge, evolving research findings regarding GIS and statistical analysis solutions to urban research problems, data opportunities and technological change
15. Be able to complete tasks within strict timelines, to be supportive of the work of centre and external researchers, and be cooperative and flexible, undertaking such other duties as may be reasonably expected by management
16. Be able to travel to off-site locations as necessary.
17. To contribute to the enhancement of the University's international profile in line with the University's Strategic Plan, Glasgow 2020 - A Global Vision
Knowledge, Qualifications, Skills and Experience


A1 Qualified in IT to degree level and/or with postgraduate qualification in IT discipline.
A2 Significant GIS development and programming with web-based GIS solutions

B1 Knowledge of complex, heterogeneous urban data for research.
B2 Knowledge of legal aspects of data confidentiality and technical solutions of privacy enhancing solutions


C1 Excellent GIS programming and development skills.
C2 Excellent data analysis, visualisation and related information processing skills.
C3 Experience in data linkage and curation.
C4 Ability to develop skills in response to technological change, particularly in GIS solutions, web technology and analytics solutions.
C5 Excellent communication and writing skills.
C6 Excellent soft skills and ability to work in team settings with staff from multiple academic disciplines.
C7 Proven ability to complete tasks within strict timelines, and be co-operative and flexible, undertaking such other IT-centred duties as may be reasonably expected by management.


E1 3 years' experience with relevant qualification or evidence of progression and development gained through 7-10 years' relevant work experience.
E1 Extensive experience with GIS development and programming and with web-based GIS solutions.
E2 Experience with complex heterogeneous data sources that require linkage or cleaning.
E3 Experience in data analysis using specialist statistical, data mining and other systems and with the use of open-source data management, analytics or visualisation software.

F1 Experience with GIS installation and necessary systems integration.
F2 Experience in preparing technical proposals / reports.
F3 Web development programming expertise.
Job Features

As part of an IT team, responsible for meeting the scientific computing needs of a wide range of academic staff from several subject areas including Urban Studies, Mathematics and Statistics, Geographical and Earth Sciences, Computing Science, Education, Economics, Engineering and others, from several academic institutions including the universities of Edinburgh, Bristol, Reading, Illinois-Chicago (USA) and Cambridge.
Provide core GIS programming and development support.
Provide social science analysis support for a range of urban analysis and modeling applications.
Provide support for a range of data services including data linkage, cleaning and other aspects of curation.
Participate in development of overall centre IT strategy to provide support for research, data services and products.
Participate in meetings with internal and external researchers and liaise with external stakeholders as necessary.
Participate in the development of research proposals.
Participate in internal meetings to report on progress and upcoming timelines.
Responsible for the management of large complex databases.
Assist Senior IT Manager with routine programming and system management tasks.

Planning and Organising
Plan and organise own workload effectively and efficiently, completing tasks within tight time constraints.
Proactive in facilitating senior Centre personnel and client requirements in a flexible and ordered fashion.

Decision Making
Participate in the identification of significant and critical issues affecting the progress of projects and communicating such issues to Centre personnel in a timely fashion.
Apply specialist knowledge in the area of GIS and statistical programming and take independent decisions, where appropriate, and recommending changes/updates to current practices, as required.
Proactive in recommending new IT solutions and enhanced functionality to improve the efficiency of routinely collected urban data to clients.

Internal/external Relationships
Liaise on a regular basis with colleagues and senior management.
Liaise with external clients, as appropriate, in the provision of a quality data management service and in the development of client user applications.

Problem Solving
Recognise and resolve issues within the area of data management, flagging critical issues to senior Centre personnel appropriately and in a timely fashion and apply expert knowledge by offering solutions and advice at a technical level.

Contribute to building the Centre's reputation to be a world-leading research institution in the area of Big Data for urban analysis by providing at all times a high standard of work and by contributing to innovative technological solutions and widely recognised research developments of staff and universities involved in the consortium.
Contribute to the University's reputation in urban studies by providing a strong supporting service within the area of urban analysis and related methods and computational projects.
The nature of the post may require working outside of normal working hours.

Standard Terms & Conditions

Terms and Conditions

Salary will be on the Management, Professional and Administrative Grade, level 7, £32,590 - £36,661 per annum.
This post is currently available until the Research Council funding ends on 30/01/2019, with the possibility of extending the project to the later date if 30/07/2019.

New entrants to the University will be required to serve a probationary period of 6 months.

The successful applicant will be eligible to join the Universities' Superannuation Scheme. Further information regarding the scheme is available from the Superannuation Officer, who is also prepared to advise on questions relating to the transfer of Superannuation benefits.

Vacancy reference: S40129, closing date: 29 June 2014.