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Alumni Profile: Jacob Jensvold Maps the World

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Alumni Profile: Jacob Jensvold Maps the World

Hands-on learning, field trips, and long nights in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) lab. Jacob Jensvold (’11) fondly remembers his time at UMD before graduating with a major in Geography, minor in International Studies, and an additional certification in GIS training. Shortly after commencement, Jacob was interviewed by Garmin, an internationally-renowned company that specializes in GIS equipment. Based on his education at UMD, Garmin hired Jacob only two months after graduating.

“One of my best memories of UMD was when my Field Techniques class went on a research trip to Ely led by Olaf Kuhlke,” said Jacob. “The trip was a good opportunity to apply the knowledge I gained at UMD as well as a chance to spend time with my fellow geography students before graduation.”

While pursuing his college career, Jacob faced an unexpected hurdle when a close relative passed away during his freshman year. “This was a very hard time for me, but with support from my family, I was able to return to class and succeed at UMD. I would like to send a special thank you to all of the professors and instructors in UMD’s Geography Department.”

Before commencement in 2011, Jacob applied for a position at Garmin—a company that focuses on innovative GIS equipment and software. As a leader providing navigation for automotive, aviation, marine, outdoor and sports enthusiasts, Garmin has more than 9,200 associates in 35 offices worldwide. A few weeks after finishing his last semester at UMD, the company called Jacob and arranged a phone interview followed by an onsite interview at Garmin’s headquarters in Olathe, Kansas.

“A couple weeks later I was offered the job, so I packed up my car and headed south,” said Jacob.

His official position, which began in April 2012, is with the Garmin Marine cartography team. As a cartography technician, Jacob’s daily work consists of editing, manipulating, and maintaining geographic data using custom software. He uses marine navigation charts from all over the world to create Garmin products.

“My favorite part with working at Garmin is being involved with locations all over the world from an office in Kansas,” Jacob said. “One minute, we might be working off the coast of Australia, the next, in the Mediterranean, and maybe even followed by Lake Superior. It’s been interesting learning about the geography of places all over the globe, it’s almost like traveling there…without the airfare.”

All in a day. Jensvold working at his desk for Garmin in the Marine Cartography Department,

All in a day. Jensvold working at his desk for Garmin in the Marine Cartography Department,