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Drake Sprague
Works at Amazon & Lowland Tribal Empowerment Coalition
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Drake Sprague

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This is a stylized photograph from a project I produced from a recent photoshoot of typical Panamanian dancers.
Traditional dances of Panama
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Drake Sprague

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When it comes to ethnic (indigenous) languages, few places in the world compare to Oaxaca, Mexico. It's been several months in the making, but I finally completed a map showing of all of the indigenous (non-European) languages currently spoken in this linguistically complex state in southern Mexico, where we live - a huge breakthrough for our research work! It will be used to shed new light into both existing and much needed Bible translation and church planting projects. I plan to map the rest of Mexico's 365+ ethnic languages in the months ahead.
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Drake Sprague

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"GeoJournalism" is a branch of data journalism that integrates spatial data, i.e., maps, within the storyline, adding weight to the geographic context of the news report. While adding richness to the story itself, this type of journalism can help the reader consider wider reaching aspects and implications of the reported events.
The blog of the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, with contributions from the Maternal Health Initiative, China Environment Forum, and more
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Have him in circles
35 people
Kam B's profile photo
John Gibson's profile photo
samuel kiberlan presa's profile photo
Gisella Greenfield's profile photo
Mario Palacios's profile photo
clarence nofsinger's profile photo
Keith Giles's profile photo
Devon Holzwarth's profile photo
Patricia Moody's profile photo
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Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
Expert in geographic information and geospatial technologies
Introduction
Highly versatile and innovative geospatial expert with extensive international work experience, especially in Latin America, and over 9 years using geographic information systems (GIS) to analyze complex relationships between humans and their environments. Expert in spatial analysis, open source research, precision GPS, cartography, geospatial databases, photogrammetry, remote sensing, training, capacity building. Experience in business marketing and non-profit administration. Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills. Continuous learner with a strong desire to train others. English/Spanish bilingual.

My desire to help others solve problems associated with geography, using appropriate methods and technologies, shaped my master's degree research, and subsequent work experiences. I have held positions as a geographic information expert in support of projects ranging from geospatial intelligence production for energy developments valued in hundreds of millions of dollars, to equipping cross-cultural missionaries research and map the needs of tribal communities deep in the Amazon jungle. I have successfully leveraged geospatial technologies in support of urban planning, utility-scale wind energy, cultural resource management, and foreign ethnographic mapping. I recently lived and worked in Oaxaca, Mexico, analyzing and mapping complex human terrain systems. Currently, I serve as the research coordinator for an NGO focused on empowering tribal communities across the greater Amazon region to meet a range of holistic needs.

I thrive in cross-cultural contexts. I was raised in the former Panama Canal Zone, worked in Central America, South America, Mexico, Canada and Southeast Asia, and have had the privilege of living among remote indigenous cultures in the Amazon Rainforest and in northern Thailand. Experiences such as these have instilled in me a deep appreciation and respect for geography's impact on people and cultures everywhere.
Work
Occupation
South America Research Coordinator at ALTECO
Skills
open source research (data mining, data harvesting); spatial data analysis; GIS (ArcGIS, QGIS, ERDAS IMAGINE, ENVI, DIVA, Google Earth); GPS (Trimble); cartography and geovisualization; spatial databases; remote sensing; photogrammetry; marketing; project management; training; capacity building; public speaking; Spanish language
Employment
  • Amazon & Lowland Tribal Empowerment Coalition
    South America Research Coordinator, 2013 - present
    Coordinate the production, management and distribution of research information products across a network of 180+ Christian NGOs in 11 South American countries; train Latin American national and tribal personnel to conduct research (field-based and open source) and perform GIS (ArcGIS, QGIS) functions in support of holistic needs and capacity building initiatives; implemented Google Apps for project collaboration across internal and external networks; advised a large Brazilian NGO to develop and successful deploy ethnographic field surveys within hundreds of remote Amazonian village communities, providing expert guidance on field survey design, proper GPS usage across multiple field teams, and technical mapping tasks; integrated open data sources and GIS methods to develop a geographic database to spatially visualize and assess indigenous human terrain characteristics of Amazon Basin countries.
  • ETNOPEDIA.org
    Geographic Research Consultant, 2010 - present
    Developed innovative research strategies using open source data and geospatial technologies (ArcGIS, QGIS, GeoNode, GeoServer, ArcGIS Online, Google Maps, Google Earth) to identify, describe and map regional and country-level human terrain profiles (ethnocultural, linguistic), with an emphasis on Mexico, South America and South Asia; trained Mexican nationals to set up and use GIS systems; managed PHP-based MediaWiki content management system and Microsoft Access databases to produce and translate (English/Spanish) ethnographic profiles; traveled extensively in southern Mexico (Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca states) to conduct on site ethnographic field surveys within indigenous communities; trained indigenous Me'phaa field missionaries in participatory mapping methods to identify and address unique needs in tribal communities across Guerrero state; created maps of indigenous Chinantec language usage in Oaxaca state for publishing in book authored by SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics) linguist; harvested and geospatially analyzed information from many open data sources to produce detailed cartographic products of Mexico's indigenous linguistic diversity to the town level, and a database of Nepal's ethnolinguistic people groups.
  • NextEra Energy Resources LLC (a)
    Site Intelligence Analyst, 2008 - 2010
    Led feasibility studies in support of greenfield utility-scale wind energy projects; collected, mapped and analyzed wind resource data, orography/topography, cultural features, and constraints related to the design and construction of wind turbine farms using GIS and wind analysis software (ArcGIS, Global Mapper, ArcPad, WAsP, WindFarmer); analyzed and mapped tornado touchdown risks in and around proposed wind turbine farms using NOAA data; used S-PLUS scripts and ArcGIS extensions to analyze, calculate and map the Worst Case Fresnel Zones of microwave and communications beam paths affecting potential turbine array layouts; managed and edited geospatial datasets within multi-user enterprise DBMS environment; implemented system for rapid field data capture integrating digital photography, laser range detection, GPS and ArcPad field mapping tools; incorporated Military Aviation Training Route (MTR) IR and VR datasets into site suitability constraints analysis process; conducted technical due-diligence of wind energy assets and potential acquisitions; launched experimental deployment strategies for SoDAR (Sonic Detection And Ranging) remote sensing wind profiling systems; established bankable confidence in raw wind data acquisition and IEC (International Electric Committee) compliance of over 400 meteorological and wind data monitoring systems for potential renewable energy projects valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars requiring in situ ground truth operations across 14 U.S. states, Canada, and Guatemala.
  • Palm Beach County Department of Planning, Zoning & Building
    GIS Student Paraprofessional, 2008 - 2008
    Conducted GIS (ArcGIS) mapping and analysis in support for Palm Beach County long-range urban development projects; managed and edited geospatial datasets within multi-user enterprise DBMS (ArcSDE) environment; collected and mapped cultural resource data using precision Trimble GPS and ArcPad, created photomosaics of historic aerial photography, and curated artifacts in support of the County Archaeologist during excavation of historic Native American cultural sites in Lake Okeechobee (project featured in March 2008 issue of National Geographic).
  • Florida Atlantic University
    Adjunct Professor, Geosciences, 2008 - 2008
    Taught undergraduate-level World Geography lab sessions; used Microsoft PowerPoint to develop innovative and effective visual teaching aids.
  • Florida Atlantic University
    Graduate Student and Teaching Assistant, Geosciences, 2006 - 2007
    Graduate student; taught World Geography and graduate-level Remote Sensing lab sessions.
  • Christ Fellowship
    Administrator - Places of Hope International; Field Team Leader, 2003 - 2006
    Managed budgets and logistics in support of international and domestic humanitarian projects; led cross-cultural training sessions; developed country profile reports; used Microsoft Project to plan and coordinate logistics for multiple volunteer teams operating simultaneously in numerous countries; used Microsoft Excel to plan and track projects finances; allocated project budgets and led weekly budget briefings; led numerous in-country medical and construction volunteer teams in multiple regions of Peru; assisted indigenous missionaries among Thai Hill Tribe and Lao refugee communities, and conducted Phase 1 disaster relief following 2004 Asian Tsunami (Thailand 2004).
  • Sprint Nextel
    Account Executive, Business Sales, 2001 - 2003
    Conducted outside sales of wireless communications services to small and medium sized businesses across Palm Beach County, Florida; consulted closely with clients (typically business owners), to recommend wireless and digital data solutions optimized to meet actual needs; received training in advanced organizational skills and sales techniques; provided outstanding customer service and customized product training; consistently met or exceeded monthly sales quotas.
  • Reilly Foam Corporation
    Sales Representative / Assistant Production Manager, 2000 - 2001
    Managed production operations and personnel, and performed outside sales of custom plastic foam products for a broad range of consumer, medical, and industrial applications; managed product inventory and quality control; hired employees; managed shipping logistics; received specialized training to manage U.S. Department of Defense contracts and procurements of custom designed packing solutions; hired employees; visited suppliers; drafted sales contracts; cold called potential business clients and conducted sales calls throughout the state of Florida; consulted closely with customers on custom design, production costs and constraints, including a military nautical contractor throughout the design process of a projectile-resistant rigid hull inflatable boat.
  • International Raw Materials Ltd.
    Trader Trainee, 1998 - 2000
    Provided logistical and sales support for wholesale marketing and transnational distribution of bulk commodities, with a focus on dry and liquid mineral fertilizers and industrial chemical products; drafted sales contracts using International Commerce Terms (Incoterms) and maritime shipping terms for trades involving complex supply chain logistics including the chartering of break bulk ocean freighters, bulk overland transportation, insurance, safety protocols, storage and handling, and associated financial instruments including letters of credit from banking institutions; managed contracts in response to Requests for Tender (RFT) issued by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for Social Infrastructure Projects (SIP) requiring thousands of tons of chemical fertilizer products valued in millions of US dollars; traveled extensively to Guyana (deployments of up to a month) to closely coordinate port side deliveries of mineral fertilizers from ocean vessels, conduct quality control, manage insurance claims, contract local logistical services, and ensure stellar customer relations; traveled to domestic ocean port facilities to oversee and ensure successful deliveries of bulk mineral and mineral products; managed international and domestic trades of industrial chemical products; conducted market research related to sales of industrial-grade mineral salts across states in the Mid-Atlantic region; coordinated with outside digital marketing agency to develop e-commerce website; attended trade conferences; monitored trade reports and trends; conducted weekly fertilizer price forecasts; assisted in editing a weekly company market report for an international audience of customers and suppliers.
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