The Sanborn Map Company Reviews | Glassdoor

The Sanborn Map Company Reviews

Updated August 2, 2017
33 reviews

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3.5
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John R. Copple
16 Ratings

33 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Like Anything in Life, it's What you Make of it"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Sanborn Map Company full-time

    Pros

    Sanborn has a fascinating and storied history as America's oldest mapping company, which gives it a definite "cool" factor. As a modern, evolved organization, adding aircraft, high-resolution aerial cameras, airborne laser sensors, computer modeling and mapping, etc., and you're working in an organization that does some pretty neat stuff. It's one of a small number of companies left with the talent and resources needed to pull off major geospatial programs, domestically and internationally.

    Ok, straight up, to succeed here, you need to have it together. Know your stuff. Be motivated. Work hard. You can have a nice career and make a nice income, and the company offers competitive benefits. You'll be working alongside some really talented people, and with some very cool technologies. Speaking from my experience - if you make it happen, if you do for the company, the company will do for you.

    One of the things I love about the company is that it's still small enough that you can really feel like you make a difference, and that you have access to people at all levels of the organization. There are no ivory tower, golf-playing, figurehead executives in the company - they are all tenured industry professionals who are passionate about the business and deeply involved in the running of the organization.

    Cons

    It's a sad reality of modern business in America that employers expect employees to hit the ground running, and the old days of apprenticeship, mentorship and such, are largely gone, and Sanborn is no exception. While you will have the support and help of your peers, and it's a good place to gain experience, as previously stated, it's expected that you know your stuff and make material contributions to the organization from the start. Do not buffalo your way in expecting to be trained on the job. If you're the kind of person who needs constant training, support, reinforcement, encouragement, feedback, etc., you will not succeed here. While cross-training opportunities do come along, basically, you need to come to the company with the necessary skills for your job, be able to work as a member of a team under high pressure situations, and make it happen.

    This has never been an easy business. You're either struggling to get work in, struggling to get work out, or both. Workforce size shrinks and grows as a function of backlog, and while that may look and feel brutal at times, it's just a reality of project-based business. To a greater or lesser extent, this happens to everyone from defense contractors with multi-national business footprints to mom and pop t-shirt printing shops. It may suck, but it's about profitability at best, and survivability at worst. Welcome to capitalist America. Read any competitor's reviews and it's the same story.

    Advice to Management

    It's not only desirable but necessary to take a few fliers now and then, but don't lose focus on the core parts of the business, the stuff that keeps the lights on, even if it isn't the sexiest thing going. Avoid being a mile wide and an inch deep.


  2. "It's office work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Sanborn Map Company full-time

    Pros

    My co-workers were great people, helpful and friendly. While working you can listen to music on you're computer to help pass the time, and in my case helped me focus more. The company does include benefits if you so choose if you're full time. Weekends off is always a plus. You can be trained in multiple areas of the company to better you're chances to avoid furlough.

    Cons

    The building inside is rather dark and gets pretty cold, as well as quiet, not unlike a cave of sorts.
    Sometimes weekends is required to meet deadlines
    Furlough happens often (expect long stretches of time off between projects)

  3. "Great opportunity to learn and grow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Colorado Springs, CO
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Colorado Springs, CO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Sanborn Map Company (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great people. Great 'cool' technology that most people do not even know exists. You will learn a lot.

    Cons

    Very difficult and competitive industry. Weather creates constant challenges for the management team.

    Advice to Management

    Keep plugging away


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Sanborn is getting good... The company's push into HD Maps/Nav is exciting stuff."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Sanborn Map Company full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Sanborn has been incubating secretive map tech initiatives for the past three years that are beginning to emerge as super interesting business growth models. The company focused hard on precision in 2014 relating to proprietary multi-view aerial image systems to capture complex urban environments. Once very high levels were achieved, then Sanborn focused on automotive markets, while deepening its R&D budgets, and has made some tremendous traction in self driving cap map tech space. Good things to come for employees and candidates looking to really dig into automotive robotics models - and focus on next gen HD Map technology. John Copple (CEO) is on a mission to transform the company into a modern powerhouse in HD Maps. He's a good hearted guy but very focused on successful growth.

    Cons

    The core (legacy) business of Sanborn is quite boring. Aerial data and associated tech has been commoditized and so the production grind tends to be a giant data crunch. Much production is plagued/confined by ESRI based protocols which always means buggy end user environments. But the core business pays for the Sanborn air force, flight teams, and R&D - and so the grind is worth it when considering a bigger play into the next gen stuff.

    Advice to Management

    The company is on the cusp of some really exciting stuff, but during the transition begin to pear down the number and variation of the core geospatial products offered. Lots of variation causes entropy within the flow of the company and the noise can be distracting. It's a great place if you are an hard worker and maintain ownership of your work efforts.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Great opportunity. Unstable market."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Software Developer in Colorado Springs, CO
    Former Employee - Senior Software Developer in Colorado Springs, CO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Sanborn Map Company full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Sanborn was a great experience in the technical GIS industry. I was given opportunities to work on some really interesting map projects and management never asked me to do more than the standard work week. I was given time to complete projects and even when certain projects got behind schedule, I never felt uneasy communicating with management. They had some very ambitious projects there that I really hoped could gain some traction in the industry. I also made some good friendships from a few people in the technical group. They sent me to multiple GIS conferences (travel) to help with my learning and paid for code school and books.

    Cons

    The biggest con during my time at Sanborn was there time reporting system. They started tracking time by clicking a button on a website. Seeing as I was a salaried employee that typically put in more than my 40 hours, I found it rather tedious. I also was worried about the stability of the company. I had seen quite a few people laid off during my time at Sanborn and I found it alarming as certain benefits started to be removed from the company (such as free coffee and water).

    Advice to Management

    Keep building on your successes and try to hide your faults. Layoffs and removing benefits (even when small) can really hurt worker morale. You've got a great group of people, make sure they feel that way and I bet they'll give you their best.


  6. "A good GeoSpatial Company with a solid foundation"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Colorado Springs, CO
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Colorado Springs, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Sanborn Map Company full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great career opportunities if you are willing to contribute, smaller company without big company politics. I like being part of the team, company & look forward to coming to work.

    Cons

    Sometimes communication from management can be slow. If you are not willing to wear multiple hats or contribute to areas outside your comfort zone than maybe not the culture for you (not really a con from my viewpoint)


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Great opportunity for learning new things"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Colorado Springs, CO
    Current Employee - Director in Colorado Springs, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Sanborn Map Company full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    1. Young and Energetic Management: The current Executive Team is pretty young and dynamic (average age below 40), and open to getting their hands dirty. This means that since many members of the management have themselves been on the production floor in the recent past, they are more realistic about the project schedules and estimates.
    2. Open to New Opportunities: Sanborn has recently been the trend leader in the industry when it comes to new technology. Whether it be buying the latest sensors, developing an indoor mapping robot in-house (an industry first), building a fleet of UAVs, complete with an FAA Section 333 Exemption, HD Maps for self-driving cars or being a Google Cloud Partner, the company has been keen to look beyond the horizon. Of course, this allows opportunities for employees to delve into new exciting ventures.
    3. Stable Tenures: Unlike many of the disgruntled reviews here, the senior management has been around for an average of 5 years with the company. This allows for a well-planned transition and opportunity to rise. Most of the production team members are also cross-trained across departments, meaning that a lack of work in your own department in the short term does not mean you are getting fired.
    4. Flexible work-hours: Not just the managers, but even production technicians can take time off and either work from home or make up for the lost time over the weekends. I have never seen an employee request to be absent for a personal appointment be denied!
    5. Great People: When you see people hanging out together even outside work (pretty common at Sanborn), you know they enjoy the camaraderie!
    6. Investment in new technology: Sanborn has been quietly upgrading its production systems to achieve better efficiencies in processing, automating most of the workflows and even offering cloud-based services to improve application availability and reliability.
    7. Flat Organizational Structure: The management is approachable and has an open door policy, meaning that employees can walk in with concerns or suggestions any time.
    While some people here have complained about a lack of “growth opportunities,” your job is what you make of it. We have had some people go from the production floor to the Executive Team in 5-7 years!

    Cons

    1. Location: While Colorado Springs is a great place to live, the technical employee pool is limited in the city. This means that hiring employee replacements takes much longer (a month is not uncommon) disrupting ongoing projects.
    2. Benefits: Since the company has been consolidating, the negotiation power with insurance companies has deteriorated leading to higher co-pays compared to 3 years ago. However, this can be blamed partially on the political climate, as many other companies of the same size have suffered the same problem.
    3. Lack of redundancy: Another side effect of consolidation has been the lack of redundant employees: you see people checking emails even on vacation to avoid the huge backlog when they return.

    Advice to Management

    Have more frequent social outings and all hands meetings. Free-donut Fridays are awesome, we need more Beer30 events!

  8. "Project Manager"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Mana in Colorado Springs, CO
    Current Employee - Project Mana in Colorado Springs, CO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Sanborn Map Company full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good Learning place. Open communication between management and technical teams.

    Cons

    A little stressful sometimes. Top down communication issues.

    Advice to Management

    Focus. Messaging from Management should improve.


  9. "Just don't..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Sanborn Map Company full-time

    Pros

    In general the folk working there are nice and it is scenic town. It is not going to be a google type working experience. It is a company that needs to get work done. If you want to work then this is definitely the right place.

    Cons

    The company has been financially struggling for years. The CEO is volatile and unpredictable. There are absolutely no people or business skill present within the organization .

    Furloughs and layoffs are the answers applied to all business struggles. This makes it very stressful and unpredictable as an employee as you really don't know from month to month if you will have a full paycheck or not.

    You should also be aware that Sanborn has a terrible reputation in the industry so having them on your resume does not help you.

    Advice to Management

    They have been beating the same dead horse for years. It's time to try an entirely new approach. Unfortunately the problems start at the top and that is not likely to change.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Meh"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at The Sanborn Map Company full-time

    Pros

    Good Opportunity, decent pay, good people

    Cons

    Barely any communication, make you work like a horse.......

    Advice to Management

    Get a new CEO.


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