Digital Mapping Intern with The Cairngorms National Park Authority

Location: Grantown-on-Spey
£17,618 per year pro rata
Full-Time (37.5 hrs per week) fixed term contract for 3 months
Immediate Start
Closing date: 16 September 2019, 12 noon

If you have a passion for the Scottish outdoors and an interest in geographical mapping for land management and conservation - this role is for you. 

- AAI Team

About the Company

“The Cairngorms National Park was established in September 2003 and the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) became fully operational at the same time – taking on the statutory powers necessary to ensure successful and sustainable development of the area.

The CNPA is designed to be an enabling organisation, promoting partnership working, and giving leadership to all those involved in the Cairngorms. The Park Authority does not duplicate the work of other organisations, such as the enterprise agencies or Scottish Natural Heritage, but is here to ensure there is a joined-up approach to projects and initiatives that help to meet the aims of the Park.

With a staff of 67, plus 19 board members, the Park Authority has several statutory duties including managing outdoor access in the Park, planning and development management, the production of a Local Development Plan and the publication of a National Park Partnership Plan.

The National Forest Inventory (NFI), a national dataset produced by Scottish Forestry, aims to depict all woodlands in Scotland above 0.5 ha in size and over 20% canopy cover. It is updated annually mainly by adding spatial data from the latest Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) woodland creation schemes. However, there will be cases where groups of trees are not mapped, either because they are too small or too scattered. It’s also likely that patches of young tree regeneration will not be mapped if they are not part of a grant scheme.

The Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan and Cairngorms Nature Action Plan each have a stated aim of 1000 ha of new woodland in the national park each year. It is therefore important that we have a clear understanding of how much woodland expansion is occurring through natural regeneration. Furthermore, small and scattered areas of trees are in some circumstances the last remnants of larger woods and are significant sources of seed that can act as nuclei from which localised woodland expansion may occur. However, young, scattered or lone trees are vulnerable to damage or removal through land use practices such as burning, incremental felling or chronic browsing pressures. In some cases, removal of trees is an illegal act. It is therefore useful for a variety of reasons to have a clear picture of the extent and location of trees outside woodland.”

For more information on the National Park and the CNPA please visit the website

The Role

Line managed on a day-to-day basis by David Hetherington, Woodland Adviser and guided by Will Boyd-Wallis, Head of Land Management, this project will compare the latest version of the NFI with the latest available aerial photography coverage to identify and digitise unmapped trees and woodland and create a comprehensive GIS dataset for the whole National Park. The varying age of the aerial photography coverage, and the inherent difficulty of picking out young trees with remote sensing, means that its effectiveness at identifying patches of young regeneration may be both variable and limited. However, potential patches of regeneration can be flagged up for future ground-truthing and more detailed mapping.

Your main tasks:
• Systematically analyse aerial photography across the national park to locate trees outside NFI woodland
• Create a digital dataset of trees outside woodland with associated metadata using ESRI ArcGIS software
• Compare with historic map resources such as Roy Map, 1st edition OS, Ancient Woodland Inventory, and Scottish Semi-Natural Woodland Inventory, to help assess age and potential conservation value of identified areas of trees.
• Collect relevant data about each newly digitised woodland polygon, relating to its area, canopy cover, altitude, vulnerability and age, and enter these into the associated data table.
• Develop proposals for keeping the data up to date
• Some field visits will be undertaken but the majority of the work is desk-based

• Produce a digital dataset of trees outside woodland with associated metadata
• Produce a short summary report of the work with recommendations

Additional Information:
• Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan 2017 - 2022
• Cairngorms Nature Action Plan 2019-2024
• Cairngorms National Park Forest Strategy 2018


CNPA is looking for an intern with a passion for the Scottish outdoors who has an understanding of the importance of geographical mapping for land management and conservation.

The following skills/experience are deemed essential:

• Experience of GIS systems and creation of accurate spatial datasets
• Understanding of Scottish woodland types and land management
• An eye for detail and ability to analyse detailed aerial photography
• Well organised with a systematic approach to work
• Able to work unsupervised and to own initiative
• Experience of research
• Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)

If you have any questions about this role or the organisation please contact Please do not under any circumstances contact the employer directly as doing so may negatively impact your employment opportunity.


Closing date for applications is 16 September 2019, 12 noon

Please submit a CV and tailored Cover Letter through the Adopt An Intern online application form by clicking “Apply” on our website. Examples of what we like to see in a cover letter can be found HERE.

All applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the closing date. In your Cover Letter, please state: A) your availability and B) relevant information on your skills/experience pertaining to the job specifications.

We do NOT accept email applications unless otherwise stated.

Successful candidates must, by the start of the employment, have permission to work in the UK.