Ian Erickson, Developer in Durango, CO, United States
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Ian Erickson

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Geospatial Analytics Developer

Durango, CO, United States
Toptal Member Since
November 9, 2018

For the better part of 20 years, Ian has been a software engineer working in a multitude of industries. He has a special penchant for all things geospatial and ETL, but has contributed to teams large and small doing just about everything. His most recent experience was with Tableau Software and Alteryx where he held principal-level roles and helped shape the product vision and implementation.


C++, Python, Ruby on Rails (RoR)
Tableau Software
Python, C++, Java
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Tableau, Alteryx, MongoDB...




Preferred Environment

Visual Studio, JetBrains, Git, Ubuntu, Windows, MacOS

The most amazing...

...project I've built and deployed, as a team of one, was a new map tile service for Tableau Software used by every desktop and cloud user in the world.

Work Experience

Principal Architect

2017 - 2018
  • Deployed a number of internal and external APIs to support the distribution of company and client data and analytic information.
  • Managed, updated and debugged a distributed photogrammetry stitching pipeline.
  • Administered a number of AWS services including Batch, EC2, ECR/ECS, SWF, SQS, IAM, CloudWatch and CloudFormation.
  • Acted as the de-facto Agile coach and mentor for a small engineering team.
  • Acted as an architectural consultant for new service initiatives.
Technologies: C++, Python, Ruby on Rails (RoR)

Principal Software Engineer

2013 - 2017
Tableau Software
  • Built a new, from-scratch, map tile service to displace a costly and error-prone third-party service.
  • Generated a number of geospatial data ingestion tools for OpenStreetMap content.
  • Acted as an embedded architect and engineer on a newly formed Maps team.
  • Implemented support for geospatial data formats in Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server.
  • Worked on a next-generation geocoding solution for Tableau software that improved data compression rates over 80% and improved the accuracy and speed of matching of geocoding results.
Technologies: Python, C++, Java

Chief Web Services Architect

2008 - 2013
  • Developed a replacement to the company's only SaaS offering at the time using C# and early JavaScript toolkits including Prototype.js and script.aculo.us.
  • Implemented the first version of AlterxWeb. A SaaS product exposing the features of the company's desktop product and putting them online using WCF, AWS, MongoDB, and a host of other technologies.
  • Wrote some of the early connectors to support Tableau Data Engine (TDE) sources in Alteryx Desktop.
  • Wrote, debugged and improved a number of Alteryx geospatial components.
Technologies: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Tableau, Alteryx, MongoDB, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), Prototype Framework, JavaScript, C++, C#


2000 - 2008
  • Founded a geospatial consulting firm to support the training and development of geospatial technologies.
  • Wrote numerous geospatial web applications using commercial mapping services from ESRI and MapInfo in VBScript and C#.
  • Implemented a vehicle tracking portal using J2ME-enabled handsets and a web-based viewing application written in VBScript.
  • Authored proprietary ETL tools to support the retrieval and packaging of US Census data for sale written primarily in C#.
  • Wrote a US geocoding library for the .NET CLR using openly available data from the US Census and US Postal Service.
Technologies: ArcIMS, ArcView, Esri, MapXtreme, MapBasic, MapInfo, VBScript, C#, Java

Target Marketing Specialist

2000 - 2000
  • Was responsible for geographic analysis for the company's DSL marketing efforts.
  • Wrote a number of web portals to report on the effectiveness of the company's marketing initiatives using SQL Server, ASP, and VBScript.
  • Performed routine geospatial analysis to determine street-routed distance from customer residence to service central office to determine DSL qualification status.
  • Ran a number of geographic analytic reports to determine efficacy of target marketing efforts.
Technologies: MapInfo, MapXtreme, VBScript, Active Server Pages (ASP)

Software Developer

1999 - 2000
Empower Geographics
  • Acted a primary instructor for MapInfo Professional and conducted monthly 4-day training seminars.
  • Primary author of MapBasic extensions for MapInfo Professional covering a number of industry verticals.
  • Authored large format prints and cartographic presentations for company customers.
  • Performed consultative geospatial analysis functions for company customers using MapInfo, MapXtreme, MapBasic and custom software written in Delphi.
Technologies: MapBasic, MapInfo, MapXtreme, VBScript, Active Server Pages (ASP)

Translation & Fulfillment Specialist

1996 - 1999
BLR Data
  • Acted as the primary geospatial data translation expert within the company. I routinely translated a digital street network database into a variety of geospatial formats to meet customer requirements.
  • Managed a small team of shipping and fulfillment personnel.
Technologies: Autodesk, ArcView, Esri, ArcGIS, MapBasic

Tile Map Server

Over the span of 9 months, I was the sole developer responsible for designing, implementing, testing and deploying a new tile map server responsible for map visualizations across the company’s entire product line. Written in Java and C++, and based on a number of OSS technologies, the new map server rendered billions of customized map image tiles supported by OpenStreetMap (OSM) vector content for the entire world. The map server supported multiple locales and languages as well as varying styles and geospatial layer combinations.

The service was ultimately deployed to an AWS cluster across 4 different AWS regions, augmented by a custom-built cache mechanism and geographic DNS to support low-latency delivery to a worldwide customer base. Once deployed, the service provided clients with an experience that surpassed any performance and uptime metrics provided by the previous third-party vendor. In the space of three years of operation until my departure, the service had a 100% uptime record.


While at Kespry, I developed a prototypical workflow execution engine capable of performing a number of analytic and computational functions related to the company’s core domain of photogrammetry. Written primarily in C++, I leveraged a number of OSS libraries that included Boost, Qt, GDAL/OGR and multiple Structure from Motion (SfM) components to deliver 3D artifacts assembled from UAS imagery. The initial concept was to deliver a cross-platform (Linux/Mac OS/Windows) desktop solution with the ability to coordinate and manage remote workflows in AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure with a simple visual interface.

ETL/Analytic Web Service

In my time at Alteryx, I built and deployed numerous web services responsible for running ETL and analytic workflows for cloud-based users. The infrastructure was written entirely in C# using WCF patterns to expose RESTful services for everything from authentication to workflow execution. Initially deployed on AWS infrastructure, the entire server platform was adapted to allow for installation in on-premise environments thereby opening a completely new revenue stream for the company.




Geocoding, Tableau, MapInfo, Git, PyCharm, Visual Studio 2015, AWS Batch, Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), JetBrains, Visual Studio, MapXtreme, Esri, Autodesk, Perforce, Apache Maven, Eclipse IDE, Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudFormation, AWS IAM, Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS)


C#, Python, JavaScript, VBScript, Active Server Pages (ASP), Java, C++


Spatial Databases


Alteryx, MapServer, Windows, MacOS, Ubuntu, Amazon Web Services (AWS), AWS Lambda, Docker, Ubuntu 16.04, Amazon EC2


Ruby on Rails (RoR), Prototype Framework, Ruby on Rails 5, Boost, Flask


Amazon S3 (AWS S3), MongoDB, AWS SWF


Geospatial Analytics, Spatial Analysis, Geospatial Data, Mapping, Maps, Tableau Server, APIs, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), MapBasic, ArcView, ArcIMS

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