Skip to main content

Brian Naess

GIS Analyst and Lecturer, UNC Institute for the Environment


Brian Naess is a GIS analyst and lecturer and has been with UNC’s Institute for the Environment since 2001. Naess is an expert in GIS and an experienced Python programmer, comfortable working with vector and raster data and developing complex scripts to process large datasets. Naess contributes regularly on funded research projects that have a spatial component, creating input data for modeling applications, visualizing and analyzing raw and post-processed datasets, and optimizing workflows. Naess also programs and manages multiple data-driven websites hosted on UNC’s cloud-based, container application platform.

Naess co-founded and co-directs the EcoStudio. EcoStudio engages with sustainability-focused companies, municipalities and organizations who are interested in working with undergraduate student interns, and Naess meets with EcoStudio students regularly to ensure a successful internship experience and to help students prepare for their careers. Naess leads the UNC Coral Reef Ecology in the Caribbean program offered through UNC’s Study Abroad Office. This popular program introduces students to the incredible biodiversity of coral reefs and features a trip to the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Naess holds adjunct lecturer appointments with the Environment, Ecology and Energy Program and the School of Information and Library Science.


M.S., Environmental Management and Policy, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001

B.A., Geology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1998