Alumniverhaal

Alumnus Simone Vaccari - MSc Geo-information Science

Simone Vaccari came to Wageningen after his BSc in Telecommunication Engineering in Italy. Now he works as a research associate in Edinburgh.

To keep up with research developments, I frequently attend international conferences, where I can present my work and discuss challenges with other researchers

Education

My background includes a three-year Bachelor in Telecommunication Engineering at the University of Trento (Italy), during which I started working with Remote Sensing through my internship and thesis. After graduating in 2010, I decided to enrol in the Master Geo-information Science at Wageningen University, as I wanted to specialize in Remote Sensing and GIS data analysis for environmental applications.

During this two-year Master, I had the chance to follow several Remote Sensing/GIS courses and undertake different projects while working with other international students. During my internship at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver), I worked on a paper entitled "Bias in LiDAR-based canopy gap fraction estimates", which was then published in 2013. I have also worked with LiDAR data during my MSc thesis, in which I exploited its potential use for 3D forest modelling and data fusion with optical imagery through Radiative Transfer Modeling.

During my studies, I also had the chance to work as a student assistant in the two Master courses “Programming in Python” and “Remote Sensing”.

Present Occupation

Since right after my graduation in March 2013, I have been working as a Research Associate on a collaborative project between the University of Edinburgh’s School of Geosciences and LTS International Ltd. LTS International is a dynamic team of consultants working to improve people’s livelihood through a sustainable governance and management of forest, land and water resources in the developing countries. My research project consists on developing a semi-automated tool that combines high resolution radar data with ground truthing to monitor forest biomass changes in woodland ecosystems. The implementation of this tool aims to provide awareness in regard to changes of forest carbon stock in the developing countries, with particular focus on deforestation and forest degradation, to support sustainable forest management and enhance forest conservation.

I am currently working on a small-scale project at the border between Sierra Leone and Guinea to quantify biomass loss and carbon stock changes over a four-year period. Earlier in 2014, I have been involved in a sub-national level project study in Southern Malawi for quantifying the effects of deforestation and degradation in the process of soil erosion in the middle Shire river basin.

What I like the most about my job is the good balance of skills required, ranging from technical Remote Sensing/GIS data analysis to interpersonal and communicative skills. To keep up with research developments, I frequently have the chance to attend international conferences, where I can present my work and discuss technical challenges with other researchers. I believe that the Master in Geo-information Science at Wageningen University not only gave me the opportunity to learn Remote Sensing/GIS data processing techniques, but also gave me the right possibility to apply them over a range of different projects. During these, I was always working with other international students and therefore strengthening my teamwork and communication skills, as well as time management, and project planning.