Jen Marcus I Am Geo

I Am Geography


“I fell in love with geography in my early days as an undergraduate as it became clear to me that everything on Earth is interrelated. Geography centers around the human scale of that connectedness which was fascinating to study and unfold. I loved every bit of it: studying physical geography and forces that have created our world; environmental geography and climatology and the math and physics that explain it; the history of environmentalism and the impact of humans on our planet and the impact of our planet on humans and their thinking. And I loved remote sensing and learning about the physics and math and sensors and cameras that produce pictures of our world in ways we can’t see with our eyes.

I started my career a Map Researcher at National Geographic Society’s Traveler magazine where there was a policy that a map accompanies every article in the magazine, using local spelling and naming conventions. The maps were artistic and technical and historical and also based on extremely accurate information that required research at the Library of Congress, hand tracing of topographic maps, and calls to locals in Botswana and everywhere. And they were essential in telling the stories of travel.

That’s how I fell in love with the importance of mapping in understanding any situation. For 20 years, I have been a geospatial professional involved in emerging technologies that benefit the US Federal Government’s efforts to derive intelligence from geography and the interconnectedness of it all.
In the last two years, I have been fortunate to get involved with the renaissance in commercial space remote sensing, joining Planet as the VP for US Government Strategic Partnerships. We get to launch new, tiny, imaging satellites in to space, now imaging the entire Earth once every two days. Planet is using this data to help all manner of public missions and private businesses through the power of Geography.

But, my favorite thing is using geography with my kids to expand their understanding of the world around them. We are currently on a sabbatical in London and we’re doing a lot of traveling. It’s an understatement to say that maps are important for us to understand where we are, where we’re going and how it all got that way in the first place.”


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