Meet the Esri Community Maps Team

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Whether it is the individual GIS professionals who work hard to prepare and their content contributions, the decision makers who promote the program within their organizations or end users who realize the value of these online authoritative basemaps, the key ingredient to the success of Esri Community Maps has always been people. In this page we would like to introduce you to another part of the "community" in Community Maps - the Esri team members that love the program and can't wait to help Esri users become successful contributors.

Don Cooke

Don's the Product Manager for Community Maps. He got his start in GIS with the Census Bureau "DIME" (now TIGER) program in 1967. A serial entrepreneur, his best-known startup, Geographic Data Technology (GDT) is now part of TomTom. Don admits to having too many interests including windsurfing, chamber music, astrophotography, ice hockey, and vintage sports cars (1959 AC). He immortalized his GPS-wearing pet cat Mary in his Esri Press book Fun with GPS


Seth Sarakaitis

As Program Manager for Esri Community Maps, Seth leads the team of project managers, geospatial analysts and cartographers supporting the Community Maps Program. Seth joined Esri as a project manager on the Utility Team in Esri's Professional Services division in 2007, where he was involved with the management of several database migration projects for electric and gas utility companies. In 2010 he began working with on Esri's Community Maps Program as a project manager, consultant and workshop instructor before stepping into his current leadership role in 2011. Even though he loves leading the Community Maps team, Seth occasionally still pines for the excitement of his favorite part-time job - Bumper Car attendant at the now defunct Opryland USA theme park. Seth is an avid cyclist and also enjoys spending time with his family and reading classic fiction.

Brian Sims

Brian is the project manager for Community Maps 2.0 and automation of QC, data integration, and web-based contribution management. He fell in love with geography in college after dabbling in geology (and too many ceramics classes). He started his professional career with an internship mapping the Bolsa Chica wetlands for the CA Dept. of Fish and Game, and from there spent four years with Southern California Edison supporting wireline and wireless mapping. He then managed the GIS program for the City of Pasadena for seven years, and this local government background nicely suited his transition to the Esri Community Maps Program. As crazy as it sounds, Brian enjoys endurance road and mountain biking, as well as hiking and international travel (which makes much more sense). He hopes to visit all 7 continents (1 to go) and ride the Furnace Creek 508 solo.

Shane Matthews

Shane Matthews is from Evergreen, CO and serves as Cartographic Specialist and Technical Manager for Community Maps. Shane's family and friends used to jokingly ask … "So, how do you earn a degree in geography, memorize all the nation's capitals"? However, once they saw the interesting work Shane has been doing during his career in geography - from working for local government GIS departments for a regional council of governments, collecting seismic data for the Geohazards Division of the USGS, mapping recreation areas across the world for National Geographic and managing their recreation product line, to now working for the ArcGIS Content Team at Esri - they now ask… "How do I get a degree in Geography"? Like many of his fellow Coloradans, Shane loves snowboarding, camping, rafting, playing guitar and pizza (though not necessarily in that order).

Greg Merget

Originally from Tustin, CA, Greg is a Geospatial Analyst for the Community Maps team, providing technical and systems support and helps with various data conversion efforts. His career in GIS began in 1990, starting with Thomas Bros Maps then Rand McNally before joining Esri in early 2010. He is an accomplished accordion player and also enjoys camping, backpacking, cooking, eating (particularly sushi) and music. Other interests include anything related to earth sciences, particularly pertaining to geography.

Mark Stewart

A native of Texas, Mark is the Training and Support Coordinator for Esri Community Maps. A longtime Esri trainer, Mark enjoys working with ArcGIS users to help them include their content in the Community Maps program and watching them realize the benefits of participation. When he isn't preaching the good news of Community Maps, Mark tries to keep his old Mercedes diesel running. He has also spent the last 10 years attempting to surf and play guitar, but is not optimistic about his chances of success in either endeavor.

Kate Borland

A long time ago in a place not so far away a young driver named Kate kept getting lost. The realization that she was directionally challenged led her to ask Santa for a Thomas Guide for Christmas. After all, the Thomas Guide was the best street map for a native Southern Californian such as Kate. She was now able to bravely venture into unfamiliar territory and she discovered the wonders of maps. Years later, after getting a degree in Geography she started making maps for Thomas Bros in 1983. She continued her GIS career at Rand McNally and joined Esri in 2010 as a Geospatial Analyst for the Community Maps data production team. When not making maps, Kate who now lives in Tustin and still has no sense of direction, enjoys reading, crossword puzzles, and spending time with her chickens.

Tamara Yoder

Tamara Yoder was born and raised in western Pennsylvania. She is a Geospatial Analyst on the Community Maps team. Her responsibilities include co-teaching workshops and leading the quality control aspect of the program. She has been at Esri for two and a half years. In 2010 she received her B.S. Degree in Geography from The Pennsylvania State University. She is currently enrolled in Penn State's World Campus in hopes of receiving her Post- baccalaurate Certificate in GIS. Her interests include watching TV, reading and playing with her 3 dogs. Hailing from western PA, she enjoys watching the Steelers, Penquins and Nittany Lions!

Arthur Crawford

Originally from Los Angeles, Arthur came to Esri in 2000 after spending time in the Army as a Terrain Analyst. He works out of the St. Louis Regional Office in Missouri where he originally focused on supporting the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency until joining the Community Maps team as one of its early members. Arthur provides a variety of support to Community Maps, including writing tools, developing and delivering training material, working on production of content and personally assisting contributors with their questions. His main focus is topography, automatic extraction, raster data, elevation data, vegetation and developing data content for ArcGIS Online. Some of Arthur's hobbies include illustrating (6 books so far), collecting antique maps/survey equipment and travelling (39 countries so far and lived overseas several times).

Karen Cook

Karen is a native Southern Californian who graduated from CSU Long Beach with a degree in History. She saw the value of adding geography classes to her curriculum in order to better understand the historical development of the countries she studied. Never considering herself much of an artist, she was happy to discover she could at least draw a line from point A to point B in her Cartography classes. Armed with that knowledge and her trusty French curve, Karen was hired by Thomas Bros. Maps after graduating in 1983. She saw the transition from ink on mylar map panels to vector data on computer workstations and continued producing street map guides for Rand McNally after its acquisition of Thomas Bros. Maps. Karen started working at Esri as a GIS Analyst in 2010. She enjoys reading, travelling, eating and drinking at new gastropubs, watching her Angels play baseball, and "investing" in Las Vegas casinos.