My role as a Technical Relationship Consultant


James Armstrong

Technical Relationship Consultant

Ordnance Survey

Why did you choose Ordnance Survey?

When you think about GIS and Mapping, you think of OS. At university and in previous job roles, anything that involved looking a map or a location, meant looking at OS’ products. For me it was clear that a career at OS meant getting to see this data at its source and contributing to its creation.

Given how much OS’ data is used in improving people’s everyday lives, from use in emergency services to local walkers, it was clear to me that a role at OS would be rewarding and exciting to get stuck into.

What does your role include?

I’m a technical Relationship Consultant in our Consultancy & Technical Services team. My key responsibility is to support our public sector customers – anyone from emergency services to local government to the NHS – in using Ordnance Survey data and developing their geospatial capabilities.

This responsibility creates a very varied role, with varying levels of technical support. Some days I can be speaking to a customer to help them get started with our data, such as how to use topographic data in a desktop GIS. Other days, I may be developing a completely new project with a customer, helping them to explore what they can do with their own data, and how OS can enrich it.

Tell us the best and worst about your job

Without a doubt, the best part of my role is when at the end of a customer project or interaction, you know that you have helped them improve something within their organisation. As many of my customers are emergency services or environment and health agencies, this is a particularly rewarding feeling; to know that improvements that we have contributed to in their geospatial capabilities may contribute to the health and wellbeing of our environment and our communities.

The minor downside to such work, is the admin. All interactions with customers, big or small, need to be documented, and each project’s data suitably organised. This does have its perks however, as the Consultancy team thrives on knowledge sharing. Having the ability to refer back to old projects, of your own or of a colleague, makes learning new things and supporting current requirements all the easier.

What training have you received from Ordnance Survey?

My training on the graduate scheme and since joining this role has been extensive. I’ve had the opportunity to join on several remotely run courses for both hard and soft skills; including but not limited to coding with SQL, improving my remote working capabilities, and consultancy skills.

I’ve also had plenty of opportunity for on-the-job training; learning new technical skills on the go when starting a new project – with self-taught skills being hugely encouraged.

Are you involved in any networks?

Since joining OS, I’ve had the opportunity to join a number of networks tied to both internal projects, and more ‘extra-curricular’ activities. Most notably, I’ve been an active Giving Back Ambassador – a role in which I contribute to organising fundraising efforts for our corporate charity. This has become a big part of my life at OS outside of my main role, giving me the chance to meet people in the business I wouldn’t have otherwise worked with. I’ve hosted two charity quizzes, and a ‘map challenge’ – all of which were immensely encouraged by the business.

What makes Ordnance Survey a great place to work?

Work-Life Balance. To me, OS has excelled beyond any other organisation in their attitude towards working life vs personal life. I’ve never felt pushed to work exceedingly long hours and have been given great freedom in managing my own workload and time. People leaders have always been very accommodating when I needed any sick leave, time for medical appointments, or even car and property troubles. These are all things that I have felt apprehensive about raising in prior organisations but have always felt comfortable raising at OS.

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