Rachael Brady: A Lifetime Learner 

The USGIF 2019 Government Achievement Awardee, Rachael Brady, talks about her career transition from Dispatcher to Data Analyst


For six years, Rachael Brady worked as a dispatcher for the State of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. While on the job, Brady was promoted to take over the department’s Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) program, where she began to learn about Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and data.

“When I originally took over the CAD work, I didn’t know everything that GIS could do. And then, eventually, I kept getting more and more exposed. I started pursuing an education with it because I wanted to know more,” said Brady.

Photo Credit: Rachael Brady

In 2015 Brady received a Bachelor of Arts in Intelligence with an emphasis on Terrorism from the American Public University System. In 2016, she received a Master of Professional Studies in Geographic Information Technology with a concentration in GIS from Northeastern University, where she also received USGIF’s Geospatial Intelligence Certificate.

Ultimately, she transitioned to the department’s regional office and began to work as a Research GIS Analyst. As an analyst, Brady continued to explore the different capabilities of GIS to help her department’s law enforcement officers effectively discover and apprehend serial arsonists. In this position, she provided cartographically accurate map products for intelligence gathering, created a database to support Law Enforcement operations, and provided general GIS support for region personnel and unit personnel.

Currently, Brady is a Research Data Specialist in the department, where she continues to support law enforcement operations using GIS.

“Every year, I go through all of our ignitions, and I get to identify potential wildland arson theories from the previous year. And we can plan over the winter how we’re going to go about mitigating those issues in the future,” Brady said, describing her role in the department. “During investigations, I do all of our analysis of trying to figure out what fires are related to the suspect based on the data we collect.”

After 13 years on the job, Brady has created a diverse working background for herself, starting as a 911 dispatcher and now as a GIS and data analyst. But, according to Brady, she is still learning about all GIS and data can do.

“This is such a broad subject that you can never stop learning. And in essence, as GIS people, we are lifetime learners,” said Brady.

Click here to learn more about the USGIF Awards Program.

Feature Image: Rachael Brady at GEOINT 2019 

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