School of Engineering

Student Osama bin Shafaat got interested in geoinformatics after experiencing a major earthquake

Osama for interested in Aalto after reading about the programme and the research on the field of remote sensing and laser scanning. Currently, he is planning to do his minor in the Data sciences to strengthen his skills in programming, which will ultimately support him in his professional career.
Portrait of a student Osama bin Shaft

While coming from Pakistan, I belong to a rural area there where I spent my childhood playing with the cattle and mud. My school was almost 40 km away from my home. So, my father took a very bold decision to migrate from the village and we settled in a nearby city where I started my educational career.  On 8th October 2005, I was in my school and there was a very severe earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 that destroyed the major cities of Pakistan and turned them to the ground. I was a school kid at that time and this incident really changed my interests I started taking interest in the earth observations and related geospatial phenomena. After completing high school, I decided to start my bachelor’s in the field of space science to learn more about the earth and the other environmental factors. So. In 2015 I started my bachelor’s in one of the renowned institutes in Pakistan, the University of the Punjab, Lahore. Being interested in earthquakes and satellite imagery, I did my thesis on monitoring the Chaman fault line by using the sentinel data and DEM.

After my bachelor’s in Space sciences from Pakistan with a major in remote sensing and GIS and I was planning to do my master’s abroad. Meanwhile, I came to know about Aalto University, and I explored that Aalto is offering a master in Geoinformatics. When I read more about the program on the program page, then the research in the field of remote sensing and laser scanning, it really motivated me to apply for this master’s program. So, I applied from Pakistan and well said that hard work pays you off, I got the acceptance from Aalto with the A-category scholarship.

rendered image of a 3D model
A rendered image of a 3D model

Miina Rautiainen (Professor of Remote sensing) and Matti Vaaja (Professor of laser scanning) guided me very well in choosing the major subjects and making my study plan. I joined the school in October 2021, but most of the studies were online so I missed the chance to meet my fellow class mates physically. During the program, I had some background in geoinformatics, because I did my bachelors in the same field, and I started enjoying the work during my academics. And here is a glimpse from that:

Spectral field measurement with class mates
Spectral field measurement with my class mates

I always love to play with the colors and fortunately the field that I adopted fulfills my interests in a context where I have to play with the satellite images with different color combinations and analyse the 3D-point cloud data in the same way.

I had the experience of using the ArcGIS and ERDAS Imagine software back in my bachelor’s but after moving here most of the software that is being used here was the open-source software such as QGIS, Cloud compare and MeshLab. The thing that I liked the most was that we don’t have to install any software’s in computer system because most of the software was an open-source that can be installed in a few minutes, but more than that all these software’s are installed in the schools’ computers, and you can connect to those computers by the virtual connection that is super-fast. Furthermore, I always find it very difficult to download the images from different websites (that takes too much time) and then preprocess the data I started using the Python and Google earth engines which are much better, easier and faster than the software. The cloud computing environments has the built-in functions for our analysis, and I always preferred to it in the cloud computing environment rather than doing it manually.

By using these cloud computing environments, I got pretty interested in python so I am planning to do my minor in the data sciences to strengthen my skills in programming, which will ultimately support me in my professional career.

My message to coming students to this master’s program is that, if you are really interested to make your career as a Geospatial Scientist or Remote Sensing Engineer, then this program is interesting and highly recommended.  The teachers are very cooperative and always motivated to answer your questions. Looking forward to see you at Aalto!

Read more about the master's programme

Geoinformatics students operate a drone at Aalto University.

Geoinformatics, Master of Science (Technology)

Master's Programme in Geoinformatics turns students' talent and hard work into excellence. After graduating, you will be able to work effectively in many roles in the society, applying and utilizing current knowledge of geoinformatics, and to contribute to the further development of the field. This degree is an excellent choice if you want to tackle big societal challenges such as climate change, security and urban development, or if you dream of creating advanced mobile applications.

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