Meet Shankar Lakshmanan, Software Developer

Hello, my name is Shankar Lakshmanan, and I'm a Software Developer at GeoDecisions. I've been part of the Madison, Wisconsin, team since 2013. I love meshing my passion for maps, geography, data analysis, and computer science.

Education and Professional Background

I grew up in the city of Chennai (Madras), India, and completed my undergraduate studies with a bachelor degree in computer science at SRM University, India. I worked on utility-based GIS web development projects for the Indian information technology giant, Tata Consultancy Services, and had the opportunity to visit the mighty Himalayas while I was working in Kolkata (Calcutta). It was an amazing life experience and I encourage all of you to do it if you visit India!

I moved to the U.S. in 2010 to pursue my master degree in computer science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I made so many great friends in Lincoln, and used my GIS background to secure a valuable internship mapping real-time GIS utility data at the university's facility management and planning department. I also fulfilled a summer internship in Lincoln, where I worked on GIS web applications in the property management domain. I acquired a diverse set of skills from administering GIS servers, publishing map services, creating databases, and designing and developing web applications during those formative years.

After graduation, I moved to the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan to hone my software development skills by mapping groundwater and surface water pollution. The UP and northern Wisconsin are such beautiful locations. My fiancé Rachel and I always seem to find ourselves driving north on our vacations to explore and hike the endless forests, caves, and rivers.

Skills and Expertise

In my role as a software developer at GeoDecisions, I challenge myself to learn and strive to improve on every aspect of software development. This includes intuitive user interfaces with the help of great mapping frameworks from Esri® and modern front-end Javascript frameworks. It also includes building backend data services and APIs using C#, NodeJS and Java, and using databases like SQL server, Oracle and Mongo. I love learning new technologies every day, and spend time keeping myself updated with the latest web technologies to develop great-looking and efficient applications. With big data, drones, and virtual reality taking off, I believe we’re on the cusp of yet another GIS revolution! I’m excited to find out where we’ll be five to ten years down the road in the rapidly developing field of GIS.

At GeoDecisions, I've collaborated with our team on several government and commercial projects including reusable jump starter libraries, such as MapLaunch, which can be used to springboard a wide variety of projects big and small. On a daily basis, I collaborate with our teams across the globe, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Hobbies

Music has always played a major role in my life, and when I'm not in front of a computer, you can find me strumming the guitar and listening to new music. From my elementary school choir to vocals in college bands, I was exposed to diverse genres including: Indian classical music, blues, jazz, rock and roll, and heavy metal. I currently play lead guitar in two local bands - one blues/jazz fusion, and the other progressive metal. I also like experimenting with cooking and learning new recipes that blend traditional Indian dishes with diverse North America cuisines.

It's exciting to develop new applications as the power of GIS evolves, and I'm proud to be a part of the great team at GeoDecisions!