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Aimee Whitcroft: Leading from the edges

Updated: Jan 23

Aimee Whitcroft's journey as a Pathfinder in the open data world is a testament to her passion, action-oriented nature, tenacity, and humility. Her dedication to promoting ethical data usage, breaking down silos, and advocating for societal good through data-driven solutions is truly inspiring. Aimee's work serves as an example for others to follow, demonstrating that positive change can be achieved through passion, action, and collaborative efforts. Her unwavering commitment to making a difference in the world of open data and GIS makes her a true inspiration to all.




In every industry, there are exceptional individuals who go above and beyond to shape and guide their field, inspiring others through their actions and dedication. Aimee Whitcroft is one such Pathfinder, a first-generation South African now residing in Christchurch, New Zealand. Her diverse background in molecular biology, neuroscience, business, management consulting, and science communication laid the foundation for her passion for open data, GIS, and the ethical use of data. In this article, we delve into Aimee's journey and achievements, which exemplify her passion, action-oriented nature, tenacity, and humility in the world of open data.


Passion for GIS and Open Data


Aimee's passion for geographic information systems (GIS) and open data is the driving force behind her enthusiastic engagement with these fields. She firmly believes that GIS thrives on data as its lifeblood, emphasizing the need to break down silos between GIS, open data, technology, and business, recognizing how they intersect and work together.


Open data holds a special place in Aimee's heart, stemming from her desire to create positive social and environmental impacts. She advocates for the responsible and ethical use of data, ensuring it benefits society at large. An example of her passion in action is her personal project, "Dogs and Kids," where she utilized open data to find new places to take her dog on walks, demonstrating how open data can enhance lives within communities.


Taking Action to Promote Open Data and GIS


Throughout her career, Aimee has been committed to driving change and making a difference in the open data landscape. Her efforts extend beyond mere advocacy, as she actively engages with governments to promote open data initiatives and even serves on the Open Data Charter Advisory Board. Moreover, she understands the need to address perceived risks associated with open data implementation and encourages organizations to view these challenges as opportunities for growth and innovation.


One significant example of Aimee's action-oriented nature is her advocacy for the adoption of the International Open Data Charter within government departments. Although navigating politics and securing buy-in can be challenging, she provides guidance on effective communication, highlighting opportunities, and making a compelling case for open data policies.


Tenacity in Pursuit of Social Impact


Aimee's determination and tenacity have been instrumental in her various roles, particularly when advocating for open government and driving change through data governance. Her work during natural disasters, such as the recent floods and cyclone in New Zealand, exemplifies her unwavering commitment to tackling challenges head-on and making a positive impact in the aftermath of crises.


Her dedication to open data and GIS, combined with her passion for societal good, has empowered her to develop strategies and frameworks to address the consequences of such disasters. Aimee's tenacity has enabled her to navigate complex situations, create solutions, and offer assistance to communities in need.


Humble Approach to Collaborative Solutions


Despite her numerous contributions to open data and GIS, Aimee remains remarkably humble and grounded. She recognizes that the success of any initiative is the result of collective efforts and teamwork. Acknowledging the contributions of fellow enthusiasts, communications experts, and data professionals, she emphasizes the importance of collaboration in driving change and making a meaningful difference.


Aimee's humility is evident in her willingness to collaborate and engage with people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. As an "edge kid," she dances along the edges of various communities, allowing her to bring unique perspectives and solutions to the table.


Final thought


Aimee Whitcroft's journey as a Pathfinder in the open data world is a testament to her passion, action-oriented nature, tenacity, and humility. Her dedication to promoting ethical data usage, breaking down silos, and advocating for societal good through data-driven solutions is truly inspiring. Aimee's work serves as an example for others to follow, demonstrating that positive change can be achieved through passion, action, and collaborative efforts. Her unwavering commitment to making a difference in the world of open data and GIS makes her a true inspiration to all.


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