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Highlighting Five Fantastic Women in the Geospatial Industry

Posted on March 09 2021

Highlighting Five Fantastic Women in the Geospatial Industry


Photo by Sandro Gonzalez via Unsplash


By Ali Harford 


According to a study done in 2019, women make up less than a third (29.3%) of those employed in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields globally. Women of color make up only 11.5% of that workforce.


Women working in the geospatial industry, one that encompasses our mapping hearts, face those injustices—and they’re also smart, creative, and inspiring. In this post, we’re highlighting five of them. If you’re interested in learning more about the fantastic women in this industry, check out the organizations Women In Geospatial+ and Women in GIS.


Dr. Keiko Nomura

Dr. Nomura is a Senior Analyst at Space Intelligence, a company that “turns satellite data into actionable information, helping governments, companies and NGOs worldwide make better environmental decisions.” Her job responsibilities include “leading innovative remote sensing techniques using satellite-sourced big data from NASA, ESA and JAXA for carbon monitoring and estimation, earth observation, and natural capital accounting.” She’s from Kyoto, Japan, and has previously worked for the United Nations Development Program on projects to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. So basically, she’s a wicked smart climate warrior. Simply amazing.



Vanessa Knoppke-Wetzel

Ms. Knoppke-Wetzel is a Senior Map Designer at Mapbox, Board Director at the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) and editor of the NACIS Atlas, co-host of the cartography podcast “Urhere”, and Adjunct Professor of Cartography at George Washington University. She is also the founder of #creativecarto, which is an online carto makerspace that meets every second Sunday of the month at 2pm. The meetup is for participants to work on “all the projects you’ve wanted to work on, but haven’t gotten a chance to start or finish.” Ms. Knoppke-Wetzel also loves plants, according to her Twitter, so if you’re not following her for her cool maps, do it for the plant tips. 



Raynah Kamau

 Ms. Kamau is a GIS Technical Advisor for partners at and co-founder of Black Girls M.A.P.P., an online movement whose objectives are to “create awareness of Black women who are contributing to the progress of GIS” and to “evangelize GIS by engaging in community-focused projects.” For her efforts with Black Girls M.A.P.P., she was awarded the 2021 Diversity and Inclusion Award from the American Association of Geographers. She has also worked on the initiative People for the People (#P4TP), which was a GIS community-focused initiative that aimed to educate and empower people to be civic-minded going into the 2020 election. So not only does she play an incredibly important role at Esri, she’s also leading a new generation of Black women in GIS. To say the least, I’m obsessed!



Kati Perry

Ms. Perry is a Data Visualization Reporter and Developer for the Associated Press. If you kept up with the 2020 election on AP, you were probably seeing her maps; she worked on projects including , visualizing the vote recount in Georgia, and maps of voter sway. For her master’s thesis from the University of Oregon, which focused on the relationship between elections and migration, she was awarded the Bill Loy Excellence in Cartography Award and David Woodward Digital Map Award. I announce to you: the Queen of Election Mapping.



Dr. Lola Fatoyinbo Agueh

Dr. Fatoyinbo Agueh is a Research Physical Scientist in the Biospheric Sciences Lab at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. As a , she uses passive and active remote sensing instruments to study forest ecology and ecosystem structure. She also serves on Satellite Mission Science Teams and is the Principal Investigator on multiple NASA Earth Science Division funded research grants. And not to mention, she has like a million publications and speaks four languages. I, for one, would love her autograph.

Read more about Women's History Month with Maps101

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Women's Rights National Historic Park Map and Guide


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