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Meet Alex Robertson


Intelligence Operator.

Job description: 

I work, mainly with GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Mapping and with technical information to help build stories and models of how our city works.

Work background: 

I have a background in both IT and Surveying which led me, about 15 years ago, to learn how to work with GIS technology. After the November 2016 earthquake I moved to my current job which deals with the effects of this and how we can understand the threats to our city and also make our city much more resilient to future problems.

Favourite part of job: 

Finding really old information (several hundred years old) that has a large impact upon our understanding of the modern world.   

Least favourite part of job: 

Turning massive, ugly spreadsheets into something that I can use to build a great story (it takes ages).

What I am working on now: 

A large number of things related to the 2016 earthquake’s effects on Wellington City, understanding how we were affected and also preparing for the next emergency. This is part of a much bigger picture into making our families, businesses and city more resilient in the future.

A quick story about a job well done: 

It was great to find information from both the 1930’s and 1840’s that showed part of the story about why some areas of Wellington behaved like they did during these large earthquakes. Our Librarians found us some great info from years ago that marked where old streams used to be in the city. This then helped us understand how the ground behaved when it started shaking.

A (humorous) story about a job that went badly and what you learned: 

Not in New Zealand, but I used to do flood surveying in rivers in Wales. Unfortunately this meant that we had to work in some awful weather from time to time. We all learnt as a team it is a really bad idea to be downwind of a large sewerage inspection chamber when flood water bursts into it… it makes an incredibly large and disgusting fountain!


University qualifications in IT and Civil Engineering.

Interests outside work: 

I really like fishing and reading, but these days I don’t get a lot of time to do this. Other than that I love to play games on PC.

Alex Robertson is an Intelligence Operator at Wellington City Council. Image: WCC.