In the same year that GIS Analyst Ian Tyler first started work at Nelson Council, Waitangi Day was celebrated as a national holiday for the first time, former Prime Minister Norman Kirk passed away aged 51 and the country’s first Pizza Hut opened in Auckland.

Forty-seven years ago, Tyler’s family moved to Nelson and after settling into local life spotted an advert for a draughting positon in the Nelson Mail that could bring their eldest son home.

“I was working as an Architectural Draughting Cadet for a firm that supervised the building of homes for the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter staff,” says Tyler. “That was followed by a brief stint making butter at Southland Dairy Federation!”

“My application consisted of a single A5 letter to Geoff Toynbee , who was the City Engineer/Acting Town Clerk at the time. From that I received a phone call from Chief Draughtsman Ted Priest offering to pay half the cost of my flights to attend an interview over Queen’s Birthday Weekend. The rest is history.”

Tyler then enrolled at the New Zealand Technical Institute in Wellington and specialised in Architectural Drafting doing papers remotely, but says his most useful lessons came on the job.

“There’s no better experience than work itself.”

When Tyler started work Council’s offices were situated at the foot of the Church steps on the corner of Trafalgar Street and Selwyn Place (now the 1903 site) and he was lucky enough to share an office with a view of the steps.

“Office life in the early days was quite relaxed, the old TV One series ‘Gliding On’ was not far off the mark. But this has really changed over the past thirty years or so. Greater demands for accountability have made everyone’s lives much busier.”

The most significant change in Tyler’s career was the introduction of desktop computers for all staff in the early ‘90s.

“I had been patiently waiting for this to happen as I could see the potential it had in my area of expertise. The days of the 3H pencil, rotring ink technical pens, electrical erasers, tracing paper and drawing machines were numbered!

Tyler now works for the GIS team, which provides vital infrastructure information, spatial analysis and mapping to teams right across Council.
“Computers brought about a significant change in direction for me, as I moved from project and design work to the ever-growing GIS [Geographic Information Systems) world. It’s an area of work I love and is constantly evolving. You have to keep yourself up to date, and there’s not a day where I don’t learn something new.”

Tyler says he is proud of the GIS team’s involvement in recent Civil Defence Emergency events, assisting logistics, communications, and welfare with statistics, locations and publically available web maps.