Resources for Fellows

Explore the sections below to learn about details relevant to students applying for or participating in the Azavea Summer of Maps program.

Applying to the program

Azavea Summer of Maps fellowship applications open in February - the program begins in June. Students apply online using the link on the Summer of Maps website. The application asks for information regarding their academic qualifications, their interest in the program, and supporting information including a work sample and resume. Most importantly, students review a list of the projects proposed by nonprofit organizations that have been preselected for that summer and discuss their interest in those projects.

A few qualities that help applications stand out are:

  • Additional geospatial technical skills beyond ArcMap. For example, experience with web tools and libraries 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 a 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 a professional career. We think their experience as a Summer of Maps fellow will positively contribute to their success within the industry.

Fellow responsibilities

Students that accept the offer to participate in the program are expected to work 12 weeks of time and 40 hours per week at Azavea’s Philadelphia office. Fellows are expected to adhere to a consistent weekly schedule. Responsibilities are listed below:

  • Work directly with their nonprofit clients and mentors to determine project requirements and conduct a scope of work
  • Research and assemble geospatial data from their clients and public data sources
  • Coordinate with their mentors to provide regular status updates to their clients
  • Develop map-based analyses for nonprofit clients
  • Design cartography for analysis projects
  • Write a minimum of two blog posts about the project work
  • Perform other data analysis and cartography tasks as directed by Summer of Maps mentors
  • Participate in kick off and culminating program events
  • Conduct final presentations to their clients
  • 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 agreed-upon client deliverables
  • Complete all program work to satisfaction by the final day of the program without exception


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, in an undergraduate, masters, or PhD program. Alternatively, applicants may be enrolled in an accredited non-U.S. university, but if they are a noncitizen, 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 of the current calendar year, 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 the week of June 1st.

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.

Compensation & time off

The Summer of Maps fellowship is a full-time (minimum 40 hours per week) position available beginning the week of June 1st. 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 monthly 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 minimum 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 one and a half paid sick days and will receive a paid 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 (up to $230/month for public transit and up to $20/month for bicycle expenses).

Fellows are permitted to take up to one week of unpaid 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.

Division of work

This is a general breakdown of work tasks:

  • 40-50% - Data Gathering, Geospatial Data Analysis, and Map Production
  • 15-20% - Project Management (client communication, project set up)
  • 15-20% - Documentation and Writing
  • 10-15% - Research and Learning
  • 5% - Office Meetings and Activities


Azavea Summer of Maps Fellowship applications open in February and remain open for about three weeks. In March, after the submission due date has passed, Azavea will review applications and select 10-12 finalists to interview. Interviews will be conducted via Google Hangout, Skype, or phone. If the student is local to the Philadelphia area, the interview may be conducted in person at Azavea’s office.

A homework assignment will be provided and reviewed to make a final decision. Fellows will be selected and invited to the program in early April. Fellows will have 3 business days to accept or decline the fellowship. Once all acceptances are official, a public announcement will be made.

The program begins the first week in June and extends twelve weeks.

Until next time

Summer 2020 is out of session

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