Chamber Spotlight: Geospatial Data, Inc.

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Don’t let GDI Project Manager Shella Carr fool you – this feisty blond is smart, like “out-math you under the table” smart. With a degree in economics, a minor in accounting, and a love for maps, Shella made our heads spin as she talked surveys, plats, varas, and rods.

Shella GDI smaller
Shella Carr, Project Manager at GDI

Bought by Curt McPherson in 1997 from Kelly and Associates, Apex Surveying and Mapping came to Canadian in 2004. They started out with an office on Main Street, but in 2011 they built themselves a brand new building on Hackberry Trail. In 2015, they were bought by Furman Land and in 2016 they were restructured into GDI, the oil and gas division of Furman. With the mixture of state of the art equipment like drones to scope out elevations and hilly country, and maps dating back to the 1800s, Furman and GDI work together to make sure they cover the bases of everything their clients need.

Shella moved to Canadian in 2013 and started work with Apex doing invoicing and slowly soaked up knowledge of the business. She constantly asked questions of Curt, the men at the office, and even her new husband, Tristan Carr. When Curt sold the business in 2015, avid-learner Shella got on the phone with one of the guys in Amarillo to learn about plats and next thing you know, she was Project Manager.

We asked her to explain what GDI does and that’s where we got a new vocabulary lesson. She pulled out one of the dozens of maps around her office and showed us plats around the panhandle, as designated by the Railroad Commission and named after the railroad that was built on it. We learned about sections and varas (a rule of measurement I’d never heard of before). One of the many parts of Shella’s job is deed research, the complicated process of finding out who owns which piece of land, researching back ten land owners, figuring out whether or not it’s in a trust, etc.

Hemphill County map from 1888. To see in greater detail, click here.

After wildfires ravaged the panhandle in 2017, GDI went to work. With so many fences burned down, boundary surveys for ranches were desperately needed. Although GDI does focus on oil and gas, they also do surveys for ranches, homes in town, and sometimes even the city, helping to establish the correct location of roads and alleys.

Shella and Son
Shella and son Brendan

Active mom of a nine year old and a set of two year old twins, Shella is passing on her love for her job and maps to her family. “I think land surveying is really cool and nobody knows about it,” says Shella. When going on trips, she always packs up her maps and refuses to listen to what the GPS “Donna” has to say. She will direct Tristan to take a road and when he tells her that the GPS is leading them a different way, Shella will wave her map and demand, “Don’t listen to Donna! I have a map!”

If you’re interested in being a part of the team at GDI, they are hiring a full-time field hand right now! Apply in person at 105 Hackberry Trail.

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