Summer of Maps Fellow

Summer of Maps is a 12-week program that provides competitive fellowships to students and matches them with challenging spatial analysis projects with nonprofit organizations. 

 The program has several objectives for students: 

  • Provide a high quality first professional experience for students with advanced geospatial analysis skills in order to prepare them to become the next generation of GIS professionals. 
  • Develop useful geospatial analysis deliverables that can be used to improve the operations of nonprofit organizations that would otherwise not be able to do so. 

Fellows are provided a $6,000 stipend and one-on-one mentoring by the Data Analytics team with support from other Azavea teams during the 12-week fellowship. The nonprofit organizations receive sophisticated analysis and visualization of their data. Each fellow works with two nonprofit organizations as part of the Summer of Maps team in Azavea’s Philadelphia office. Learn more about Azavea here


This is a paid fellowship program open to full-time or part-time students. The Summer of Maps program defines a student as an individual accepted into or enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution located in the United States, including community colleges, undergraduate, masters, PhD and programs. Alternatively, applicants may be enrolled in an accredited non-U.S. university, but if they are a non-citizen, they must have a valid work visa that enables work in the United States (we are not able to sponsor students for a visa or provide travel expenses for travel to the U.S.). If students are accepted into or enrolled in a college or university program on April 15, 2020, they are eligible to participate in the program, even if they will graduate during the program or prior to it starting. Applicants must be available to work at the Azavea office in Philadelphia starting on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Applicants may be asked to provide transcripts or other documentation from their accredited institution as proof of enrollment or admission status. Applicants do not need to be in a Geography or GIS program in order to apply, but they should have experience performing geospatial analyses using desktop software or open source tools.


Interested students should complete the extended application form below.  Because the application form is extensive, we encourage students to save a draft of their response in a separate program as they work through the questions. The deadline for submitting the application form is February 2nd, 2020.

A few qualities that help applications stand out are:

  • Additional geospatial technical skills beyond ArcMap. For example, experience with web tools such as CARTO, Leaflet or MapBox; experience with open source tools like QGIS, GeoDa and R; or experience with SQL or Python.
  • The inclusion of an online portfolio that highlights technical and cartographic capabilities of the applicant. (These are often shared via Google/Dropbox/S3 link or a web page).
  • A demonstrated interest in learning new skills on their own (either through online courses or other resources).
  • Interest from applicants in pursuing spatial analysis in their professional career. We think their experience as a Summer of Maps fellow will positively contribute to their success within the industry.


Students that accept the offer to participate in the program are expected to work for 12 weeks in Azavea’s Philadelphia office. Fellows are expected to adhere to a consistent weekly schedule. Responsibilities will include:

  • Develop project requirements and a scope of work
  • Research and assemble geospatial data from clients and public data sources
  • Coordinate with mentors to provide regular status updates to their clients
  • Develop map-based analyses 
  • Design cartography 
  • Write a minimum of two blog posts about the work 
  • Perform other data analysis and cartography tasks as directed by their mentor or the Data Analytics Project Manager 
  • Participate in Azavea company activities
  • Participate in kickoff and culminating program events
  • Perform final presentations 
  • Prepare short presentations on projects for the culminating event
  • Produce a final deliverable package for each project including documentation, data, maps, a report and other necessary client deliverables
  • Complete all program work by the final day of the program (no exceptions)


The fellowship is a full-time (40 hours per week) position available beginning Monday, June 1, 2020. Fellows are required to work 12 full weeks between June and August. Fellows will receive a stipend of $6,000. Because fellows will be working in the Azavea offices and using Azavea equipment, fellows will be considered statutory employees by the IRS. Fellows will therefore be paid as an Azavea employee, receiving a salary at the end of June, July, and August with social security and other payroll taxes deducted accordingly. 

Fellows will be paid $2,000 each month. This is contingent upon working a 40 hour work week and making progress on the two selected projects. If fellows are unable to complete the fellowship, they will forfeit a prorated portion of the stipend. 

Fellows are eligible to take 1.5 paid sick days and will receive a pay holiday for Independence Day during the duration of the program. Any additional sick days will extend the end date of the program.  Fellows that use public transit or a bicycle for commuting will be eligible for Azavea’s public transit or bicycle benefit.

Fellows are permitted to take up to one week of un-paid vacation.  However, taking time off will extend the fellowship based on the total number of vacation days. The program is unable to accommodate a later or earlier start date or duration of less than 12 weeks total. Additionally, no vacation days may be taken during the first two weeks of the program. 


Applications for students will remain open until February 02, 2020. In February, after the submission due date has passed; the Summer of Maps team will review applications and select qualified finalists to interview. The finalists will then be informed about the non-profit project shortlist. Interviews will be conducted via Google Hangout, Skype, or phone for applicants who are not local. In-office interviews are available for applicants who are local to the Philadelphia area.

A homework assignment will be provided and reviewed to make a final decision. Fellows will be selected and invited to the program in early March. Fellows will have 3 business days to accept or decline the fellowship. Once all acceptances are official, a public announcement will be made. All applicants will be contacted about the status of their application by March 31st.

The program begins on Monday, June 1, 2020 and extends twelve weeks, until August 21, 2020.

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