Get to know Jonathan Critchley: CUI's GIS Specialist

Jonathan Critchley is CUI's GIS Specialist. He started with us in February. Jonathan took planning at Dalhousie and a graduate degree in GIS at Ryerson, where he also teaches GIS part-time.

In the responses below, he sums up his experience at CUI so far, talks about the importance of datasets, who we should be following on Twitter and more.


Describe your favorite city and the reason why:

My favourite city that I’ve visited is Memphis. The combination of architecture, rich and varied history, music, and food combined to create a really memorable city.


You took planning at Dalhousie and GIS at Ryerson, and now teach there part-time. What’s your favorite part about teaching?

I’ve been teaching web mapping at the Ryerson University Chang School for the past two and a half years. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity as it allows me to keep current with what I find one of the most exciting and effective methods of disseminating digital maps and geospatial information to large audiences. It’s been a great way to follow new technologies and workflows in an ever changing industry.

The best part of teaching the course is that that I am able to make this information digestible by students from various backgrounds that would not typically be exposed to it or have the opportunity to approach it without a background in computer science. It’s a really rewarding experience getting to interact with new people and hear how they make use of mapping in different ways.


CUI’s dataWISE program helps municipalities understand how to manage and communicate available data. As CUI’s GIS specialist, what do you think the most important part of this process is?

An important part is processing and maintaining datasets in standard formats. Municipalities may have data they’ve collected for different projects and purposes. Processing and proper maintenance of these datasets can be valuable for use beyond their original purposes. It’s been interesting watching various levels of governments adopt open data policies to make data publicly accessible, and seeing the resulting uses and applications. Providing access to organisations and the public allows for data to be explored and experimented with beyond the scope of its original purposes and in a number of cases results in original applications.


You are on twitter @Afrikanadese. Who else should we be following to stay up to date on latest industry trends and why?

I’ve really enjoyed watching the growth of two companies: @Mapbox and @CartoDB. Both provide new and exciting ways to create engaging and accessible map products.


Finish this sentence, my time so far at CUI has been ....

Exciting! It’s been a great experience to see how the CUI has been leading the use of GIS across a number of projects its involved in, understanding the value of exploring and analyzing the spatial components of issues. It's clear CUI recognizes the value in well maintained and useable data, providing leadership to municipalities on what is possible to accomplish and best practices to process and maintain their data.