Olivia Powell

Geographic Information Manager, Avon and Somerset Police


“Don't be deterred and follow your passion!”

What do you do?

I manage the IT infrastructure, software and data ecosystem for all systems involving location and geospatial data in our organisation. As such I am responsible for curating accurate and timely geospatial datasets and making them available in the various systems used by our police officers, investigators and staff; I am responsible for configuring gazetteer and GIS systems and creating web-mapping applications to give the right tool and help our business lead resolve specific problems; I am the technical expert providing advice and guidance in the best use of geospatial data, tools and spatial analytical techniques / science to solve problems and enable effective decision making.

Why did you choose this field?

When I discovered the powerful capabilities and unique insight that Geographic Information Systems can provide to solve problems, I was blown away. I knew then that I wanted to use GIS as applied science . I started in the Environment sector but moved to olicing in order to feel closer to the community and contributing to keeping them /us safe.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

Featuring as a chapter in 'real' book in order to inspire and empower young women in GIS... my younger self would doubt all the time of her capabilities. I would have never thought I would achieve anything worth that amount of recognition. But I think it's best enjoyed "unexpected".

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love solving problems and challenging my creativity. This job contains both. I love trying to think of new ways of doing things , solving problems, or answering varied and unique customers' requirements.

Best advice for next generation?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg said: "Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception. " Nowadays STEM is a key sector influencing decision making. Without women in STEM or with a minority representation in STEM, we deny our representation at the decision making table. A diverse workforce is also proven to bring better outcomes so don't be deterred and follow your passion!

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" . I have been touched by it when I visited the UN building in New York when I was fifteen and have made it my moto in life ever since.

NOMINATE a woman in STEM

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