City of Pullman hires first geographic information system administrator

Administrator will use artificial intelligence to record location, boundaries of buildings; data will be used to plan Pullman infrastructure



Sam Jenkins started working as the City of Pullman’s first geographic information system administrator earlier this month.

ANDREA GONZALEZ, Evergreen reporter

The City of Pullman hired its first geographic information system administrator to analyze the location and distance of various properties, which are compiled into maps.

GIS is a software that can record the location of buildings and other physical boundaries, said Sam Jenkins, new City of Pullman GIS Administrator. Artificial intelligence is used to gather data, which gives information about a parcel of land or zoning region. This is communicated through maps. 

Jenkins said the information gathered is used to make decisions about Pullman’s infrastructure.

“I think it’s a really exciting time in the [GIS] field,” he said. “It’s a really great opportunity to come and help the city set this up.”

Jenkins said he is interested in improving the efficiency of the city’s functions. He will be using information from all city departments to record and analyze GIS data. 

He said another part of his job is communicating to city staff about GIS data so they can make the best decisions on where to spend resources in the community. 

“[Jenkins’] ability to really explain those different programs in simple terms, I think, helps out others throughout the city that aren’t super familiar with GIS,” said RJ Lott, City of Pullman Planning Director.

Lott said Jenkins has an extensive background in GIS, and that his background and knowledge made him a good fit for the position. 

“He’s got a great attention to detail and willingness to work with others in various departments throughout the city,” Lott said.

Jenkins said he earned a master’s degree in environmental and conservation science with a focus in GIS at North Dakota State University. Before working for the city, Jenkins spent the last 10 years working as a GIS coordinator and analyst. 

About four years ago, Jenkins moved to Pullman to work for WSU Facilities Services. He said he helped record WSU’s utilities infrastructure, including electric, tunnel, communication and water systems. 

Jenkins started working for the city of Pullman earlier this month. Lott said the original plan was to hire Jenkins in March but the pandemic hit, which switched the plans of the city. 

“He’s already brought a level of professionalism that I expected from him,” Lott said. “It’s really been a blessing to have him here.”