Alumniverhaal

Alumna Karin Kuiper - Geo- Information science

She chose a master in Geo-Information Science (GIS) after completing the bachelor in Soil, Water and Atmosphere. She graduated in 2015 and after working for MWH Global she now works for The Norwegian Mapping Authority as a GIS specialist who creates online map services.

I chose subjects in both areas with some programming and spatial statistics on the side. This flexibility gave me the opportunity to discover my strengths.

Study

During my Bachelor studies in soil, water and atmosphere I was introduced to GIS and how it can be used as a tool in discovering, understanding and visualizing spatial data. In my bachelor thesis I studied a GIS related subject: using Digital Elevation Models and spatial statistics to study Celtic fields (early bronze age agricultural field systems).

During this thesis I was impressed by how modern technology can be used to find well preserved prehistoric sites (like grave hills and Celtic fields) in forests, whereas the older aerial photography will only show tree canopies. This thesis made me realize there is a lot of possibilities/potential in GIS and therefore I decided to do this master.

Studying GIS in Wageningen was very flexible. You can keep your master broad and avoid having to specialize in, for example, earth observation or modeling. I chose subjects in both areas with some programming and spatial statistics on the side. This flexibility gave me the opportunity to discover my strengths. I also liked that the study cases and examples are current, relatable and interesting. You can choose project topics that you are interested in or propose a topic yourself.

My master thesis and internship were both in collaboration with companies. I visited multiple research institutes and consultancy firms, saw how they worked and what the differences were. This gave me a good impression of what was to come after the studies.

Jobs

During the last three months of my Master studies I applied for jobs in Germany, Canada, Norway and the Netherlands. My first job was for a consultancy firm, MWH Global based in the Netherlands. Here I worked as a GIS specialist on the soil risk map, updated and improving software that interprets lab results and assisted with determining the health risks levels on digging sites.

Currently I work for the Norwegian Mapping Authority. My colleagues and I are responsible for creating and improving all kinds of mapping services, for Norway and international projects.

The main goal for us is to make Norway’s open data available in the form of online maps. The work is diverse, challenging and very rewarding. The tasks range from data management, technical implementations, debugging and cartography, all of which results in maps that everyone can access.

There also is a big focus on keeping up to date with the latest developments (especially because we mainly use open source software). We go to conferences all over the world and get involved in international projects like Arctic-SDI. I love the traveling around doing what I am good at. Never thought I would have to learn Norwegian but it is definitely worth it.