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Geospatial, Technology, and Data Lead (UL424)

University of Minnesota Libraries
Minnesota, United States
$60,000.00 - $70,000.00
Posted date
Aug 23, 2021

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Position Type
Faculty Positions, Professional Fields, Urban & Regional Planning, Administrative, Academic Affairs, Librarians & Library Administration
Employment Level
Non-Tenured Track
Salary Band
$50,000 - $69,999
Employment Type
Full Time
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Mapping Prejudice is mobilizing people of all ages and backgrounds to map racial covenants, legal clauses in property deeds that barred people who were not white from occupying land. The project is leading a collective examination of these “unjust deeds” in order to open the door for systems-level change. Volunteers read historical property deeds in search of racial covenants, generating data that can be mapped. This process nurtures a constituency for transformative change, empowering participants to demand data-driven and community-engaged efforts to build more sustainable and equitable communities. 

Mapping Prejudice is seeking a geospatial researcher and data manager to join our highly-collaborative, trans-disciplinary team. Mapping Prejudice is building a long-term program of community-embedded research related to the history of structural racism in housing policy and practice, as well as the legacies of these practices for the built environment and the people who inhabit them. This person will curate the datasets for Mapping Prejudice, integrating data on racial covenants with archival research and geospatial data on other indicators of well-being. This researcher will lead new data collection efforts and will collaborate with other members of the Mapping Prejudice team as well as its scholarly and community partners.

The Geospatial, Technology, and Data Lead is responsible for creating and maintaining geospatial databases of racial covenants, managing the workflow for covenant transcriptions, creating maps, delivering presentations and responding to community inquiries, and overseeing research related to the covenants data sets, as well as maintenance of the project website and training interns in these areas. The Geospatial, Technology, and Data Lead modifies practices and procedures to improve efficiency and quality, searches for better ways to effectively achieve end results, supports the project mission by addressing information management needs of diverse teams working with diverse data sets, and works under general supervision, but has the discretion to make daily operational decisions. The Geospatial, Technology, and Data Lead is both a project manager and a data manager. Project management responsibilities include developing work plans, tracking tasks and overall progress, generating documentation, and communicating project status to stakeholders. 

This position works closely with the Project Director, the Project Co-Director (Head, Borchert Map Library), and the Volunteer Property Research Specialist and jointly directs the work of Graduate Research Assistants.

Job Duties and Responsibilities:  

  • Oversee and manage spatial data infrastructure for the project (20%)
    • Join normalized Zooniverse data to existing parcels datasets.
    • Manually map covenants parcels where appropriate using historical plat maps.
    • Create maps of covenants and/or related data as needed.
    • Create, manage, and maintain the spatial databases of racial covenants for each partner geography.
    • Manage and maintain a time-enabled web map of the racial covenants for use on the web page. 
  • Oversee and manage OCR and deed processing protocols (15%)
    • Facilitate transfer for deed images from partner geographies.
    • Deed image pre-processing.
    • Adjust and run OCR scripts.
    • Flag deed images containing racial language.
    • Upload batches of flagged images to Zooniverse. 
  • Oversee and manage crowd-sourced data collection (15%)
    • Maintain existing transcription workflows.
    • Create new workflows in Zooniverse to facilitate low-barrier, crowdsourced transcription of deeds identified with racial language and adapt as necessary for new geographies.
    • Export and normalize transcription data.
  • Community Engagement & Outreach (15%)
    • Coordinate and deliver presentations to build community relationships, mobilize volunteers, and share goals and findings of the project.
    • Write materials for academic and general audiences to convey the insights and methodologies of Mapping Prejudice. 
  • Research (15%)
    • Oversee and coordinate research data collection activities.
    • Oversee research activities to ensure ethical conduct.
    • Perform research planning and implementation; interpret and develop policies and carry out policy analysis, etc. requiring independent judgement.
    • Develop relationships with community partners to craft research questions and geospatial analysis and visualizations.
    • Develop relationships with academic and policy collaborators to develop research agenda and outputs.
  • Web Development (10%)
    • Oversee and coordinate the management and maintenance of the Mapping Prejudice website. 
  • Leadership (10%)
    • Develop and implement comprehensive timelines, project plans, and identify resources to manage and meet grant deadlines.
    • Set goals and design strategies for meeting goals.
    • Coordinate project work across disparate geographies.
    • Train, oversees, and directs the work of project interns.


Required Qualifications:

  • Requires BA/BS in GIS, Geography, Urban Planning, Public Policy, History, or a related field with at least 6 years of experience or advanced degree with 4 years of experience. 
  • Demonstrated experience with GIS.
  • Experience managing and maintaining geospatial data sets.
  • Experience designing and managing geospatial data workflows.
  • Demonstrated programming experience, preferably with Python.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of and commitment to the benefits of diversity and inclusion throughout an organization.
  • Experience working both independently and in cooperation with colleagues in a service-oriented, collaborative environment.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or advanced degree in GIS, Geography, Urban Planning, Public Policy, History, or a related field.
  • Willingness to learn, or demonstrated understanding of, community-based research methods.
  • Excellent communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills.


SALARY AND BENEFITS: The salary range for this position is $60,000-$70,000 and has a primarily onsite work location designation, with the opportunity for some remote work. This is a full-time, two-year, academic/professional position, with the possibility of extension. The Libraries offer a competitive salary commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits. 

TO APPLY: Position available immediately. Applications will be accepted until filled.  Submit a letter of application; a resume; and the names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses of three current professional references at .  Click on External Applicants.  Enter 342457 in the “Search Jobs” box.  Please identify the cover letter with UL424.  

The University of Minnesota is an Equal Opportunity Educator and Employer

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