Position Title: Geology Assistant
Park Unit: Alaska Region Office
Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Number of positions available: 1
Can this position be fully remote: NO

Duration: 52 Weeks (not flexible)
Start Date: 11/03/2024
Flexible Start Date: YES

Weekly Stipend: $665.00
Relocation Allowance: $1,050.00

CURRENT NUMBER OF APPLICANTS: Under 75 (This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first.)

The Alaska National Park Service manages large protected areas, but has poor resolution topographic information that is useful for modeling environmental and geomorphic responses to potential impacts. The participant will assist with various fix-wing mounted structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry projects. This consists of collecting imagery in standard color (RGB) and near-infrared, which are used to generate detailed digital elevation models (DEM). The participant will help process, analyze, and collect these datasets and integrate them with other datasets. We desire a candidate with remote-sensing experience, especially with imagery analysis and landcover classification.

In the last few years, the Alaska Region has deployed a revolutionary SfM system mounted in fix-wing aircraft. SfM use is commonly deployed using unmanned aircraft, but the areas are much larger in Alaska needing high-resolution and accurate imagery and DEMs. The manned system relies on a survey-grade GNSS unit in the plane, as a base station, and measuring ground control points. These data are necessary for understanding geomorphic and landcover changes. This manned SfM system has been deployed to monitor landslides, map intertidal elevations, map and monitor coastal geomorphology and erosion, classify landcover and icebergs, respond to glacier outburst floods, monitor glacial surges, and monitor glacier recession. For more information, see this NPS Alaska Park Science Article: https://www.nps.gov/articles/0... primary duties of the participant will be to process images using SfM and build DEMs that will be used to map coastal erosion and iceberg seal habitat.

In September 2022, the west coast of Alaska was struck by Extratropical Typhoon Merbok, generating significant storm surge that caused severe flooding, erosion damage, and loss of subsistence infrastructure to over 35 communities along more than 1300 miles of Alaska’s western coast including the coasts of Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and Cape Krusenstern National Monument. To assess the impacts of the Merbok Storm and subsequent wave action causing erosion of the coastal bluffs, we intend to re-map the coast using structure from motion (SfM). These data will be used to compare with earlier elevation datasets to map coastal erosion.

The tidewater glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park are retreating and some will soon become land-terminating glaciers. As these tidewater glaciers retreat from the sea, the icebergs in the fjords will no longer provide pupping and resting habitat for harbor seals. The participant will continue the iceberg classification project to map the seasonal and annual changes in iceberg sizes and total area. Additionally, the digital elevation models will be used to measure the retreat of the glaciers.

The participant will be using classification workflows already generated by pioneering work previously completed by interns. During the winter months, the work will be computer-based; however, the year-long term goes through the summer field season, so the participant will assist with acquiring new imagery across Alaska and fieldwork for ground control.

The participant will work with high-resolution imagery, geospatial software, and surveying equipment. Ample mentorship and training in these techniques will be provided throughout the term. And, importantly, the participant will engage with a wide range of disciplines, scientists, and park managers.

The participant will be assisting with measuring the impacts to the parks from climate change. Storms along the arctic west coast have been flooding villages and eroding shorelines. These storms are eroding archeological and paleontological sites. The data collected and analyzed by the participant will help park managers identify resources at risk and develop response plans. The glacier changes in Kenai Fjords National Park are changing the fundamental fjord ecology, and documenting these changes will highlight the impacts of climate change, and measuring the rate of retreat of the glaciers will help inform projections of when tidewater glaciers will not longer be tidewater and of interest to the thousands of visitors.


Digital elevation (DEM) maps and vertical difference analysis, orthorectified photos, and image classification; metadata; workflows/manuals; project reports.


- Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree in natural resources, geosciences, or GIS by the start of the appointment.

- Coursework required: Remote Sensing and GIS (or demonstrated proficiency).

- Proficient with Python

- Electronics, photographic, and computer expertise with ingenuitive problem solving are necessary.

- Surveying or mapping grade GNSS skills desired.

- These datasets will be very large and time-consuming to process, so the ability to efficiently work with large datasets is a necessity.

The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. legal permanent resident (“Green Card holder”). Prior to starting this position, a government security background clearance will be required. The applicant must be available to participate for 52 Weeks in order to be considered and participate.

Work Environment: Work will primarily be in a typical office environment. Long hours will be spent working on a computer processing data, making maps, and organizing data.

Fieldwork will be from May through September and will be conducted in remote areas across the state flying in small aircraft. The flying is challenging in that you are in the air for up to 5 hours monitoring equipment and troubleshooting. Motion sickness is common, so it either requires a strong stomach or medicine. Fieldwork will consist of long days and the fieldwork scheduling is irregular, so the participant must be flexible.

Anchorage is like any medium size city in the US. But, it also has great trails for running, hiking, road biking, mountain biking, and skiing. There are many parks within the city and just outside the city for hiking and backcountry camping (moose, bears, and sheep are common).

The weather is sub-arctic maritime, so cloudy and light rain is common. However, there is 24 hours of light during the summertime, and with so many easily recreational activities available, it is difficult to find time to sleep. Wintertime is dark and cold (typically around 10-20 degrees with cold snaps below zero). There are ample outdoor snow and ice activities available. Anchorage has over a hundred miles of groomed ski trail, many of which are lighted for night skiing. Three lakes in town are plowed for ice skating and wilderness ice skating can be enjoyed throughout the season.


  • Applicant must have a valid driver's license to drive a government vehicle.
  • A personal vehicle is recommended for this position.

Park housing is NOT available. The intern will be responsible for finding housing in the nearby area. The participant will most likely have to find a place to rent in Anchorage, which has recently had an easy rental market. Assistance can be provided for examining housing to secure a place to rent before arriving. Craigslist or Zillow are best sources for looking for rentals in Anchorage. A room in a shared house is typically about $500/mo.

Remote Sensing, Natural Resources, Mapping, Air Photos, Glaciers, Geohazards, Coastal Erosion, GPS, GNSS, Climate Change

This posting will close after receiving 75 complete applications, or at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, 16 June, whichever occurs first. Once you begin applying for a position, the application must be completed in one sitting. You cannot save and return later to complete it. Applicants can apply for up to five Scientists in Parks Intern positions per winter. You need to complete a separate application for each position in order to be considered. You should receive a confirmation email after successfully submitting an application. Sometimes institutional email filters/settings can redirect or block emails related to the application. We recommend watching spam, junk, and promotional email folders in case your service delivers messages there. Please visit How to Apply for additional resources and information about applying (i.e., learn what materials to have ready for applying, find a worksheet that previews application questions, etc.)