Mapping It Out


By Teresa Adams ’20

Peter Vancini ’14 says his certificate in geographic information systems (GIS) opened more doors for him than his bachelor’s degree. Together with support and encouragement from his professor, Timothy LeDoux, Ph.D., the GIS coordinator, Vancini applied—and secured—a job with Apple.

Now, Vancini works for Q Analysts, which contracts out his services as a geodata specialist/EOS operations lead to Google Maps. Working with a small team, he evaluates and improves the quality of Street View maps and enjoys the virtual exploration of different places every day. He appreciates the beauty of satellite imagery, his team, and even the food at Google.

“I feel really humbled and inspired every day just to be part of what I consider to be one of the most ambitious geography projects of our time,” Vancini says.

A Westfield native, Vancini received an associate degree in biology at Holyoke Community College in 2013 and a bachelor’s in journalism from St. Michael’s College in 2006. At Westfield State, he was also a freelance writer and worked at the Massachusetts Audubon’s Laughing Brook Sanctuary as a caretaker, sharing his passion about nature with visiting families and children.

Dr. LeDoux says he was impressed by all Vancini’s talents and remembers that Vancini was an asset to the course.

“Not only did he have a keen intellect and a knack for picking up the geospatial technology and skills, but he had tons of ideas on how to apply the skills and technology from class to his own interests.”

Dr. LeDoux and Vancini stayed connected after Vancini graduated, but that’s a little harder now with Vancini living across the country in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. LeDoux’s expertise in GIS impresses Vancini; he still revisits his course notes to this day and asks his mentor for occasional advice.

Vancini is also thankful for Carsten Braun, Ph.D., and William Sleavin, adjunct professor of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability, and credits much of his success to the faculty at Westfield State.

With his wife, Emma Evans ’10, a public relations specialist at Robert Half, Vancini travels, mountain bikes,
and rock climbs. “I’m a New Englander at heart,” he says.


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