Alumniverhaal

Alumnus Frank Salet - MSc Geo-information Science

Frank came to Wageningen after his bachelor in Geodesy and Geo-Informatics at University of Applied Sciences Utrecht (Netherlands). After a few GIS positions at mostly commercial companies. He is now working at an NGO in Nigeria on the eradication of polio.

During my career I've been trying to find jobs within fields where the use of GIS is unique, challenging or still developing

The master degree in Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing that I gained at the Wageningen UR has given me a perfect toolset to enter the market as a GIS professional. During my degree I followed the courses on a.o. geo-statistics, spatial modelling, remote sensing and programming, and together they have formed the luggage that I still use for each job I take on.

During my career I've been trying to find jobs within fields where the use of GIS is unique, challenging or still developing. I started working for a meteorological institute as a research intern. This was followed by a consultancy firm that was mainly focusing on Business Intelligence in the fields of insurance and government. This was then followed by a large American software company, where I was specializing as a pre-sales for the Benelux region on solutions for retail and public safety. After that I worked as a geospatial engineer for a mining company in South America. And currently I work as a manager for a non-governmental organization in Africa.

The project I currently manage is about the eradication of polio in Nigeria. Our task consists of, firstly, mapping the project area, and secondly, supporting and assisting the polio vaccination activities with maps and spatial analyses. For the project I have temporarily moved to Nigeria to assist with building the organization and to set up the GIS work. We have managed to put a team of around twenty GIS specialists together - mostly Nigerian nationals with a Master degree in GIS (..it seems that I started working in a multicultural environment in Wageningen, and luckily, I've never stopped doing so). Together with my team of GIS specialists we are using satellite imagery to find and mark all the locations where people live, so that vaccination teams can go there and immunize the children. Also we give GPS trackers to the vaccination teams to verify that all settlements get visited.

Before my Masters I gained a Bachelor degree in Geodesy and Geo-Informatics at the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, but it was only when I came to Wageningen - and started working with the staff from the GIS department - that I learned about the opportunities and dynamics of the subject. During the courses that I followed, we worked on cases in which theory got combined with its practical use, and so we were able to learn dealing with real-life situations in an effective manner.

If you are looking to broaden and deepen your geo-information and remote sensing knowledge, then I can highly recommend the WUR. Even if you are already specialized in a certain field then I think that adding GIS as an extra specialization can be very valuable. I am certain that new GIS job positions will open in the fields I've worked so far (mostly commercial), which should give new GIS graduates good chances in making a career in any of these verticals.

And besides all that, Wageningen is a great place for living the student-life.

Frank also got interviewed about his work he does in Islamabad (Pakistan). You can read the full interview in Wageningen World.