A decade in review

Not only is it the end of the year, but it’s also the end of a decade. And a lot of things have changed in this decade. This post won’t cover all (or many!) of them, but I will try to give you a flavour of how things have changed for me (and maybe how I see the world at the moment).

10 years ago

I was working for a dynamic SME that was building an internal and external aerial survey company. It was intense, but incredible rewarding when I think of the depth of day to day learning that I was required to undertake. The opportunities were amazing, and I am always aware of how much that job defined how I approach my work now.

5 years ago

I was still in the early stages of Geoger, and was finding my feet. A key component of this was building connections. I spent quite a lot of time at networking events and trying to build an online profile. The key thing that I learnt was to always do the best work that you can, be yourself and also have confidence in your ability.  It isn’t always easy to have that self-confidence, when working as an independent consultant, as you have no colleagues to bounce ideas off, so a key thing to do is get to know other like-minded individuals doing similar work and build a small network of trusted friends and collaborators. A key lesson for me at this point in Geoger’s history was realising that people are hiring me, for who I am and what I can do, and that those skills and personality, and approach to work should not be undervalued.   

2 years ago

I started a podcast! You’ll likely know of Scene From Above if you follow this blog, or my LinkedIn or Twitter accounts. My co-host Andrew Cutts and I use the podcast to speak to people about the exciting changes happening in the Earth observation sector at the moment. In addition, we add our own opinions on various topics. I absolutely love putting this show together – interesting chat, community building, using technical skills, editorial decision making, constant learning. All things I really enjoy.

I also started looking into cloud processing a bit more, in particular Amazon Web Services. Understanding the implications and potential of these services really helped me: I was able to use them for a project that used UK wide coverage of Sentinel imagery, that would have taken too long on a local machine. I’d really like to grow these skills further.

1 year ago

At the other end of the spatial coverage scale, last year I undertook quite a bit of UAV image processing looking at land cover classifications, thermal mapping, invasive species monitoring and more. The detail seen in drone data never ceases to amaze me, and I have to confess that I can get lost for an hour or so at the start of a project just panning through some of these marvellous images. So far the projects I have worked on have provided analytics in a short time-period. What I would love to do is look into drone specific open-source tools and see how I can bring them into my workflows.

6 months ago

A few of the interesting things that I have been involved in recently include the following:

  • Deep learning (DL) applied to Earth observation imagery. I’d better quickly clarify that I wasn’t doing the DL, although I had a run through of the Raster Vision examples which was fun. I was working more in a review and manage capacity, but just learning about the variety of tools and how they should be applied was fascinating. Again, this is something that I’ll be looking to develop further.
  • In Feb/Mar 2019 I secured a position as the JNCC Business Associate for Earth observation and through this mechanism I have been lucky enough to work with a great team at the JNCC, and apply myself to a couple of really interesting projects. Being asked to fill this role is great as it helps me see some of the brilliant work being carried out in the UK Government but that isn’t always promoted across the EO sector as loudly as it could be.
  • In September I was voted into the position of BARSC Vice-Chair, which gives me additional opportunity (alongside my OSGeo:UK committee role, and podcast hosting position) to promote the brilliant Earth observation sector. Keep an eye on the BARSC webpage for more information of events coming up in 2020.

Looking towards 2020

It looks as if there will be a lot of things happening in 2020, which will be fun.  I’m due to take over as BARSC Chair, but that’s far enough away that I can focus on other things first (like learning about what that will mean!!).

I have also just secured Geoger’s largest contract, working with the UN, which will keep me busy through to the end of May, which is excellent. Having a certain level of certainty and job security is what every freelancer and independent consultant craves.

My network of contacts and potential clients and colleagues continues to expand, and it’s always interesting to find out what others are up to in the sector.

The Scene From Above podcast continues to grow in terms of numbers of listeners, Twitter followers and aspiration.  Andrew and I were chuffed to receive the RSPSoc Business Innovation Award of 2019 for it! I’m excited about taking this further in 2020 with Andrew, and getting to talk to interesting people in EO from around the world. Our 2 year anniversary episode lays out some of our thoughts on the near-future of EO, so do check it out.

And finally, as ever, I am looking for more challenges in 2020. I relish learning – about new tech, new ideas, new applications of the data. If you fancy having a chat about a new idea or how I might be able to help your business, then get in touch and we can arrange a call or coffee. It’d be great to connect!

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