Have you ever put your fingers in the nostril of a white tiger to help him breathe while he’s in surgery? How about helped sea turtles lay their eggs safely on an island or taken care of a six-month-old Siberian tiger? Witnessed the sunrise from the top of Mount Rinjani in Indonesia? Went diving with great white sharks?
Well, GIS Statistician Charlotte Paulet has checked them all off her list…and that’s just a taste of her life experiences, largely thanks to her career in GIS.
Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, are the systems and technology used to analyze the relationship between geographic data and an end goal. Specifically, MarketSource uses GIS to help find the best possible alignment of salespeople, location intelligence, and strategy.
Originally from Belgium, Charlotte is a biologist that specializes in ecology, environment, and sustainability. Her dream was to live the adventures she watched as a child on BBC and the National Geographic channel. In her senior year of college, her mentor sent her to Poland to study the reintroduced moose in a Polish national park for her final thesis. “I was asked to use a tool called ‘GIS,’” she says. “I didn’t know its capabilities or how to use it. He gave me a CD-ROM and told me, ‘You’ve got a year to figure this out and explain your findings. If you succeed, you’ll get your diploma.’” No pressure! But Charlotte credits that experience for allowing her the opportunity to work on projects all over the world ever since then.
She’s worked in a zoological park in France to map and observe the behavior of big cats in an effort to optimize their enclosures; studied the habitat and distribution of snow leopards in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan in an effort to help protect the species; worked in a Zambian national park, assisting local communities in living peacefully amongst the wildlife and helping rangers optimize patrols in their fight against poaching; worked to help protect orangutang habitats in Indonesia; designed and implemented a GIS plan for the urbanization of the city of Dedougou, Burkina Faso (population of 35K); and worked for the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products.
Charlotte gives us an example of the way her GIS work helped fight poaching in Zambia: “The principle of GIS is to represent reality with points, lines, and polygons. A point could be a city, store, electric pole, or lion. A line could be a border, road, power line, or river. A polygon could be a country, building, or national park. In Zambia, we knew we had poachers coming into the park, so rangers would patrol the area. I asked the rangers to bring a GPS with them during their patrol and to enter their position every hour, as well as save the GPS location of every poaching activity…a trap, camp, or dead animal. We imported all of that data into the software and I was able to create maps showing the rangers where they should patrol more often—that way, they could be more efficient and better protect their wildlife.”
In 2014, Charlotte and her husband moved to the U.S. and she has been working at MarketSource since 2019. “What drives my career are challenges, unique experiences, constantly learning, adding value, helping people, and feeling useful,” she says. “MarketSource is offering all of that, so I’ll continue to do my best for the company.” And we’re grateful to be a part of her adventure!