Junior Data Specialist, Global Forest Watch

Data Analysis & Technical Research Washington, District of Columbia

Job Summary

In this role, you will streamline and manage the process for updating and incorporating data into the Global Forest Watch platform and associated applications. This will include researching new data sets, coordinating with multiple team members, assessing data quality and completeness, cleaning GIS data, and other tasks related to the “data pipeline” process. You will work closely with the Platform team to visualize data, with the Communications team on data-related blog posts and bulletins, and with the Research team on new data products and analyses. You will also serve as a data spokesperson, interacting with GFW partners and users.

Job Responsibilities

Manage data for the GFW platform and associated applications (70%)

  • Evaluate new and proposed data sets for quality, completeness, and relevance to the GFW mission
  • Communicate with third-party data providers to obtain permissions to display data and sign off on data set descriptions and visualizations
  • Clean and process GIS data as needed
  • Write, edit, and update data descriptions, as needed, and ensure these are updated across GFW applications
  • Work with GFW web developers to determine how to best visualize new data sets
  • Coordinate with product managers and developers of the various GFW tools to ensure consistency across the entire GFW ecosystem
  • Develop and implement a strategy to update data sets on the GFW platform, including potential automation of data coming from other platforms (e.g. LandMark, Forest Atlases)
  • Coordinate with back-end staff to ensure updates of major data sets to the GFW platform and associated applications (e.g. weekly GLAD deforestation alerts), including checking for proper functionality of visualization, analyses, and dashboards
  • Act as point person for web developers on data-related matters
  • Review and advise on appropriate use of data in communications pieces and in summary statistics and graphics on GFW websites
  • Oversee GFW’s Open Data Portal; add and remove data as needed

Communicate about GFW data to users (15%)

  • Coordinate with Communications team to announce new data on GFW and associated applications
  • Contribute to the monthly Data Digest newsletter to alert users of new data and features
  • Answer user emails and questions related to GFW data
  • Present the GFW platform and data products as needed

Research and analysis (15%)

  • Analyze new data to glean policy-relevant insights and contribute to blog posts, as needed
  • Assist in the curation of “Places to Watch,” including visual interpretation of satellite imagery to select interesting areas of alerts on a monthly basis
  • Contribute to analysis and evaluation of near-real time alert systems, as well as experimenting with techniques to better prioritize and summarize alerts

Job Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in a related field
  • Minimum of 1 year of relevant, full-time work experience
  • Familiarity with GIS workflows and software; experience with Esri ArcGIS software required
  • Highly process- and detail-oriented
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative and complete tasks with little guidance
  • Familiarity with issues related to tropical deforestation and/or forest monitoring
  • Strong writer and communicator
  • Experience coordinating and engaging with multiple stakeholders around a deliverable
  • Interest in product management and open data
  • US work authorization is required for this opportunity.


  • Basic programming skills (Python, Javascript, SQL, HTML), experience with GitHub
  • Knowledge of Carto, ArcGIS Online, or other online mapping technologies
  • Familiarity with remote sensing methods and data
  • Language skills in Spanish, French, Portuguese, or Bahasa Indonesian a plus

How to Apply 

Please include resume and cover letter with application. Applicants must apply through the WRI Careers portal to be considered. 

Program Overview

Global Forest Watch (GFW) is an online platform that provides data and tools for monitoring forests. By harnessing cutting-edge technology, GFW allows anyone to access near real-time information about where and how forests are changing around the world in order to better manage and conserve forest landscapes.

Global Forest Watch uses machine learning algorithms and expert analysis to distill satellite imagery, crowdsourced information, and hundreds of open datasets into actionable insights and policy-relevant information about forests worldwide. GFW’s online platform is simple to use, allowing anyone with an internet connection or mobile phone to access data, create dynamic maps, and produce custom analyses with just a few clicks.

Designed for action, Global Forest Watch enables researchers, government officials, companies, civil society organizations, and concerned citizens anywhere to make better-informed decisions about managing and conserving forests.

WRI Overview 

World Resources Institute (WRI) is an independent, nonprofit global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. We are working to address seven critical challenges that the world must overcome this decade in order to secure a sustainable future for people and the planet: climate change, energy, food, forests, water, sustainable cities, and the ocean. 

We are passionate. We value our diversity of interests, skills and backgrounds. We have a flexible work environment. And we share a common goal to catalyze change that will improve the lives of people. Our shared ideals are at the core of our approach. They include: integrity, innovation, urgency, independence and respect. 

The foundation of our work is delivering high-quality research, data, maps and analysis to solve the world’s greatest environment and international development challenges, and improve people’s lives. We work with leaders in government, business and civil society to drive ambitious action and create change on the ground. Equally important, we bring together partners to develop breakthrough ideas and scale-up solutions for far-reaching, enduring impact.  

We have been growing rapidly: our staff has doubled in size over the past 5 years and our operating budget is now $150 million. Founded in 1982, WRI has a global staff of 1,000+ people with work spanning 60 countries. We have offices inAfrica, Brazil, China, Europe, India, Indonesia, Mexicoand theUnited States as well as a growing presence in other countries and regions.   

WRI is committed to advancing gender and social equity for human well-being in our mission and applies this principle to our organizational and programmatic practices.   

The World Resources Institute (http://www.wri.org) is an environmental and development research and policy organization that creates solutions to protect the Earth and improve people’s lives. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, it is WRI’s policy to recruit, hire, and provide opportunities for advancement in all job classifications without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, protected veteran status, or disability. WRI’s global agenda requires a staff that is diverse – with respect to race, gender, cultural, and international background. Diverse perspectives and experience enhance the way WRI selects and approaches issues, as well as the creativity and applicability of WRI's policy research and analysis. WRI, therefore, encourages applications from U.S. minorities, persons from other countries (especially developing nations), and from women of all backgrounds.