Solution specific articles for Integrated Technology Services.

Top 4 Reasons Millennials Love Working at Lynker

Lynker offers a lot of great things to our employees like paid training and upward mobility, but a recent article by Comparably dug into what matters to the Millennial generation. Here are the top 4 reasons why Lynker is a great company for Millennials.

#1 Social Impact

It’s no secret here that Lynker’s work is focused on protecting our natural resources. When you get to work for a company that identifies protected species on fishing vessels, studies humpback whales, and saves sea birds the social impact is pretty clear.

#2 Flexibility

Our work takes us everywhere! Whether you’re in the Lynker bunkhouse in Hawaii, our hydrology location in Colorado, IT central near DC, or out on the ocean the definition of “office” remains flexible. Supported by Lynker Corporate staff, each and every employee has access to quality consistent support services from Human Resources and Payroll to Tech Support and Training.

#3 Benefits That Match Their Values

There are already so many deductions before you receive your paycheck. At Lynker, we make it one less by providing full-time employees with comprehensive healthcare for FREE. Free? Yes, free! Lynker pays all full-time employee healthcare premiums which includes vision and dental.

#4 Feeling like a valued contributor rather than a number at work.

We want to be the company that customers want to work with, and the one employees want to work for. We do this by rewarding enthusiastic passionate employees. Our employees are encouraged to take initiative to improve processes, share ideas, and actively contribute to their team. Employees receive recognition and praise for their contributions in many forms such as project-wide kudos emails, team lunches, and spot bonuses.

ESA Section 7 Mapper

Lynker spearheaded the development and implementation of NOAA Fisheries’ new ESA Section 7 Mapper, an interactive, GIS-driven visualization tool NOAA scientists, federal action agencies, and the general public can use to help identify ESA-listed species and critical habitats in project action areas along the East Coast. We designed and implemented new GIS datasets for each Section 7 Consultation Area, locating where and when ESA-listed species (sturgeons, salmon, whales, turtles) of a given life stage (adult, juveniles, larvae, etc.) are found exhibiting relevant behaviors (migrating, foraging, spawning, rearing, calving) along major waterways and marine zones. The resulting interactive web map application allows Action Agencies to draw a project site, determine which Consultation Areas overlap, and generate a detailed report, expediting the process of determining whether further consultation with NOAA Fisheries is necessary. Lynker’s ESA Section 7 Mapper will reduce the number of unnecessary consultation requests and improve the quality and accuracy of necessary consultation requests. This easy-to-use mapping interface achieves those goals by publishing our agency’s current understanding of where the best available data dictates consultations are recommended.

Said the NOAA Federal project lead “This is some VERY GOOD news.  Congrats to all who worked so hard on making this happen.  I am quite excited to see how this goes and how this mapping tool helps our action agencies.”

Click here to access the mapper from the NOAA website.

NOAA Chart Tile Service

Lynker’s Chart Tile Service (CTS) project demonstrates our ability to bring innovative solutions using emerging technologies. Lynker began a NOS/OCS internally-funded mobile application demonstration project in 2011 that eventually evolved into the highly visible CTS infrastructure initiative, which has added tremendous value to NOAA in terms of reducing redundancies, streamlining secure data sharing, and improving overall quality of NOAA charting products. As critical, CTS has also met NOAA’s mission goal of increasing the usefulness, accuracy, and availability of its services to a wide range of stakeholders, many of whose businesses, safety, and livelihoods depend on MCD’s outputs.

Understanding that consuming nautical chart information on mobile devices would become increasingly important, Lynker began an Internal Research & Development (IR&D) project of a mobile app for mariners. The purpose was to display NOAA’s suite of 2,172 nautical chart datasets with Coast Pilot books. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey (OCS) liked the idea, and tasked Lynker to develop the prototype into a production-level NOAA technology demonstration project, with a one-year lifespan. The app was called MyNOAACharts, and was released on Google Play in May 2013. MyNOAACharts was widely considered a great success, with thousands of users and an excellent 4.6 rating.

Feedback on the demonstration app uncovered issues within other commercial chart plotters and mobile chart viewer apps. Many of these systems were reformatting NOAA charts, without any standard, and were not updating charts frequently for their customers due to the complexity and cost of the effort. This resulted in out-of-date and incomplete data, creating dangers to navigation.

That is when OCS and Lynker had an idea. What if, instead of offering a single NOAA mobile app directly to mariners and boaters, NOAA created the enterprise architecture and infrastructure to provide a free, standard, Cloud-based, pre-packaged chart tile service, updated weekly, with a defined Application Programming Interface (API) to the maritime electronics industry? Industry would add value-added content and determine the end products. This way, NOAA would provide a portal of chart information to industry that would be leveraged to millions of their customers – a force multiplier. Lynker, in collaboration with OCS, confirmed strong industry interest at Lynker-hosted industry days, and OCS directed Lynker to begin work on the CTS. Lynker developed a relationship with Amazon Web Services and deployed the prototypes on the Amazon cloud. This successful strategy facilitated a smooth integration with NOAA’s Integrated Dissemination Portal (IDP), our current hosting environment.

CTS completed its successful first public release in December 2015. One user on Facebook happily reported that “I’m super-impressed with the NOAA developers (Lynker employees)” Lynker helped OCS recognize an opportunity to increase the value of existing chart products and services to thousands of stakeholders, leveraging cloud and mobile technologies.

GIS Support for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Lynker provides outstanding program, outreach and education, and operational support for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). Our GIS Specialists manage thousands of data layers representing physical and biological data for the ocean. We use data compiled by local, state and federal agencies as well as stakeholders and ensure that the data has the necessary metadata so that we can track the origin and data caveats. We validate the data by overlaying it on other data to ensure management decisions are based on the right spatial and temporal scales. When outliers are identified, we contact the creator of the GIS data to ensure that it is correct.

Often, we receive data that is not GIS ready and we create GIS data layers and corresponding metadata so that the data can be viewed with other GIS data. When large novel products are completed, we present the GIS processing aspect of the project at international meetings and/or develop peer-reviewed articles with ESRI story maps which are important communication and outreach tools engaging our stakeholders. We have also created ArcGIS online data projects for staff to use which provides them with power to look at spatial data.

Within the Sanctuary system, all other permit coordinators have to rely on GIS specialists for spatial analyses and mapping but we have staff that can quickly create a wide variety of GIS products in support of permits, which makes it much more time efficient and correct. As part of the team that conducted a deep sea lost fishing gear removal project, and in addition to successfully identifying locations where the gear could be found by incorporating GIS data created from database data received from partners, we were able to utilize the ROV navigating system within a few hours, making Lynker a valuable team member ONMS.

Technical Help Desk Support for the Information Resource Management Division

The Information Resource Management (IRM) division at GARFO is responsible for the development and maintenance of the technological infrastructure needed for fisheries management and provides GIS data and analyses both internally and externally. Lynker provides technical help desk support to GIS users, documenting and tracking GIS service needs to recognize patterns in performance. Lynker resolves over 1000 help desk tickets per month, supporting 250 internal and all external users on the east coast. Lynker and GARFO are currently collaborating to consolidate help desks into enterprise user support centers. Using HDI, ITIL, and ISO best practices we are establishing service level objectives and tying specific service level agreements (SLAs) to drive quality performance.

Innovative Portfolio Management for OCS

The Office of Coast Survey (OCS) provides navigation products and information for transportation safety. Lynker provides Enterprise Project and Portfolio Management support, helping OCS effectively manage their entire portfolio of projects. Lynker began by creating the structure to support the establishment of an enterprise level PMO. We then developed an innovative portfolio management and project life-cycle process supported by a SharePoint-based dashboard to provide OCS with portfolio level insight. The interactive dashboard has enabled overall IT improvement, mission alignment, investment review, value measurement and decision making. The dashboard has been adopted across OCS on more than 100 projects.

Interactive GIS Visualization for the Protected Resources Division

The GARFO Protected Resources Division is dedicated to managing, conserving, and rebuilding endangered and threatened marine species. Lynker designed and implemented the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 Mapper to assist Federal action agencies in identifying the ESA-listed species and critical habitat in their project action area. Awarded for being an innovative project solution, the Section 7 Mapper is an interactive GIS visualization tool combining GIS data into critical habitat layers based upon regulatory boundaries.