People in Geoscience – Callum Dowds



Callum Dowds

Job title

Technical Sales Consultant


Maptek, Edinburgh

What do you get up to on a typical work day?

A typical work day can vary massively. My job title can be broken down to describe the 3 main aspects of my role in Maptek: “Technical”, to provide training and technical support to the users of Maptek products; “Sales”, to assist the sales manager in selling and promoting our products; and “Consultant” as I offer consulting services to the mining industry using our products.

Maptek offer two main product lines. Maptek’s flagship product is Vulcan, a 3D software suite for geological modelling, stratigraphic modelling, mine design and planning, resource estimation etc., for the mining industry. Vulcan and similar competitive software suites can be found on every producing mine-site in the world as they help to streamline every aspect of mine production and development.

Maptek’s second main product is developing and producing I-Site Terrestrial Laser Scanners for the mining industry. Our laser scanners can be used in the field to quickly survey a mine-site to provide an accurate mine model. This can be incorporated into previous mine designs created using Vulcan or similar 3D software. The terrestrial laser scanners also have many other uses, such as for slope monitoring and geotechnical analysis, geological face mapping, stockpile volume measurements etc.

I also help look over our newest product, Eureka, which is a 3D software suite for exploration geologists. Eureka is able to import, process and analyse large drilling, geophysical and geochemical datasets in order to help identify key ore bodies and exploration targets, or as part of a feasibility study for a site.

The majority of my time is spent in our office in Edinburgh which looks over the European and West African region. From here I can offer technical support and help run training classes for clients.

As well as spending time in the office in Edinburgh I often have to travel internationally for consulting work and to attend sales and promotional events. In the past year I have carried out consulting field work at mine-sites in the UK, Norway, Tanzania, South Africa and Lesotho. I have also attended trade shows and international sales meetings in Holland, Poland and Turkey.

How did you get into your field?

I studied for an Undergraduate degree in Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow, graduating with a 2:1 after four fun years! Throughout my degree I grew fond of exploration geology and wanted to go on to develop my career within the mining or oil and gas industry. I was always interested in finding a career that didn’t just have great prospects but also the possibility to travel for work and thankfully I have found both with my job in the mining industry.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to get into your field?

Apart from studying for a degree in Earth Sciences/Geology you need to look for other ways to develop your CV and skill set. Just having a relevant degree isn’t enough these days to effectively compete in the job market, you need to be able to demonstrate your ability to apply the knowledge and skills you developed as part of your degree and to make yourself more employable.

For example, I was lucky enough to have two summer internships with the Petroleum Services Group of Deloitte based in London. Most of the employers I spoke to while job hunting were really impressed with this due to Deloitte’s reputation and it certainly helped me stand out.

It is also vital that you develop the ability to sell yourself to an employer. In my case, two thirds of the job interviews I had after graduating involved me having to give a presentation and to “sell” my knowledge and experience to the employer to persuade them to hire me.

Best/most exotic field location you have visited?

For me the most exotic field location that I have visited was a gold mine in Tanzania where I was providing consulting work helping to update and create an accurate 3D mine model. The site was in the middle of the African Bush and at times seemed to be overrun with Monkeys and Lizards. I also enjoyed visiting a diamond mine in the mountains of Lesotho which claimed to have the highest bar in the world (over 3200m) and possibly the cheapest bar in the world (you could buy bottles of Jagermeister for £5).

Quick Questions

Hammer or Hand lens?

Why not both?

Volcano or Dante's Peak?

Dante’s Peak stars Pierce Brosnan. Need I say more?

Office or Field?

Field work for me is always interesting and I love visiting new places in Europe and Africa, although sometimes it is nice to be working in the office for a while and enjoy a relatively normal home life!

Best/Worst thing about your job?

Best: Apart from the extensive travelling I have a fantastic work environment back in the office. Living in Edinburgh for most of my time, even though I work in the mining industry, means I get to live a relatively normal home life as well.

Worst: Working in the office and helping to look after sales and technical work for a lot of customers often brings in a heap of admin work to be carried out. It is a necessary evil!