Research Projects

METRANS

by Adylbek Abdykalikov, USC, IPPAM 2020

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are an integral part of the transportation industry, and more and more students are becoming advanced GIS specialists. Meet one such student, Kyle Chin, now a recent graduate of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), who has successfully started his career at Esri, a GIS technology company with offices across the nation, as a desktop analyst. 

Chin completed a Master of Science in Geographic Information Science this past Fall. His Professor at CSULB, Executive Director of Center for International Trade and Transportation and Associate Director of METRANS Thomas O'Brien remembers that throughout his studies, Chin cultivated his interest into a deep understanding of Esri products, handling large datasets, mapping, data cleansing, and developing spatial analysis reports.  Chin also taught Esri Story Maps to students in the Port of Long Beach Academy of Global Logistics at Cabrillo High School, Long Beach.

Before his employment at Esri, Chin worked as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) for the METRANS Transportation Center and the Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) at his university. The skills he acquired during his study helped him conduct complex research and policy analysis and serve as project lead for federal grant projects in the areas of trade and transportation, as well as in workforce development.

While a GRA, Chin made significant contributions to an award-winning Esri story map "Digital Freight Matching Technology and the Role of GIS" illustrating the consequences of traffic congestion caused by trucking in LA County and introduces how Digital Freight Matching (DFM) could serve as a potential solution. Chin demonstrated significant leadership in the development of that story map, and together with his peers, Geographic Information Science Masters Students Gulben Kaplan and Glen Shepherd, was selected as Student Showcase Jury Winners at the 2019 Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) General Assembly.

Kyle Chin along with Gulban Kaplan and Glen Shepherd at the SCAG Regional Conference & General Assembly

Chin also demonstrated excellent abilities in software integration and organizational management in the development of project management methods and applications. His efforts significantly improved the efficiency of PSR projects, O’Brien noted. He revamped office workflow and process management by implementing project management and team collaboration applications such as Trello, Slack, and Microsoft SharePoint. He was also responsible for the procurement and implementation of a live polling and audience engagement tool that was used at the 2019 METRANS Smart Freight Week.

Besides all that, Chin did a great job contributing to the launch and quality control processes of our new METRANS website, for which we are very grateful.

Chin's shared that his proficiency with GIS software applications, organizational management best practices paired with his qualitative and quantitative skills were instrumental in him securing full-time employment with Esri as a Desktop Analyst.

Professor O'Brien believes that Chin is representative of the next generation of new mobility professionals who will bring much-needed data visualization innovations to the design, development, operation, and maintenance of transportation systems. "With his technological aptitude and innovative approaches to transportation research and workforce development, Kyle is uniquely positioned to make fresh contributions as a working GIS specialist who can apply that geospatial understanding to future mobility systems," he shared.

About the Author:

Adylbek Abdykalikov is a graduate student in the International Public Policy and Management Program at USC Price. He has working experience in various positions at the Ministries of Transport and Communication and Investment and Development of Kazakhstan and was in charge of Transportation and Civil Aviation policy development and implementation, and serves as lead student event coordinator for METRANS and PSR.