Remote Sensing and GIS have a large number of career opportunities and growth prospects – Ashwini Vaishnav

Ashwini Vaishnav
GIS & Remote Sensing Expert

Q1. Please share your educational and professional journey with us?

After completing my masters in Geography from P.S.B. Govt. College, Shahpura (Bhilwara, Rajasthan), I have done P.G. Diploma in Remote Sensing and GIS, Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidhyapeeth, Udaipur (Rajasthan) and internship work at Regional Remote Sensing Centre-West, ISRO, Jodhpur. I have also done Diploma in watershed management from VMOU and P.G. Diploma in Urban planning and development from IGNOU and have cleared UGC NET in Geography.
I started my carrier as a Project Scientist in Regional Remote Sensing Centre-West, ISRO, Jodhpur, later I joined State Remote Sensing Application Centre, Jodhpur too as a Project Scientist. I was fortunate to work with Urban Improvement Trust (UIT), Bharatpur, Rajasthan as a GIS specialist, appointed through RUIFDCO, Jaipur. Presently I am working as a Guest Faculty Lecturer in Department of Remote Sensing and Geo-Informatics at Maharshi Dayanand Sarswati University, Ajmer, Rajasthan from last five years.
In my 15 years of total experience in the field of Remote Sensing and GIS I have got great opportunities to handle various Government sector projects such as Land Use/ Land Cover Mapping of Rajasthan, Integrated Watershed Management Programme, Forest Management, Water Resources of Rajasthan, Crop Acreage and Production Estimation, Cadastral Mapping, Wasteland Mapping, Urban Planning and Rajiv Awas Yojana etc.
While teaching in MDS University, Ajmer, I was also fortunate to appear in many online courses organized by IIRS- Dehradun, ESRI, NASA and other foreign universities/organizations. All these courses have helped me in enriching my knowledge in the field of GIS and Remote Sensing. I have also organized and attended many workshop, seminar, conferences related to Geoinformatics at MDS University. Some of my research papers have also published in National as well as International journals.

Q2. What did attract you towards Remote Sensing and GIS?

A career in GIS presents many opportunities to have an impact on your work. There is no end to spatial information to map and analyze. You can use your GIS skills by helping develop a neighborhood, conserve wildlife habitat or defend your nation as a member of the service. Whether you want to improve infrastructure, develop a business, or streamline operations on a military base, you will have the opportunity to shape the way humans interact with the world around them. GIS improves our understanding of the social, geological and temporal factors that contribute to some of the most difficult problems in the world. This is essentially the practice of accumulating, analyzing, processing and storing spatial information data and developing the relevant infrastructure. The field covers an extremely broad spectrum which extends to other sectors such as zoology, botany and environmental studies. Not only that, but fishing, forest mapping, bird watching, agricultural encroachment, etc. are also the fields associated with geoinformatics. It is therefore evident that the field has a large number of career opportunities and growth prospects. The technology that surrounds the field is advancing day by day, which forces people who practice this science to be up to date and knowledgeable in the field.

Q3. Which are the new major fields in Remote Sensing and GIS Domain for students?

Today, the field of remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) has become exciting and desirable with rapidly growing opportunities and provides essential tools that can be applied at the different levels leading to decision making on sustainable socio-economic development and the conservation of natural resources. Remote sensing and GIS technology and its applications in various fields have undergone successful development in recent decades. GIS and remote sensing can play an important role in the rapid planning of various control management programs. In addition, remote sensing and GIS have been merged in several studies to address development planning issues. Remote sensing also provides information about natural resources, a requirement for planning and implementation and monitoring of any development program.

Q4. What is the role of Satellite Images in Remote Sensing?

Remote Sensing technology collects the Earth’s surfaces in the form of images. The collected images of this technology help to monitor and map natural resources and manage them appropriately. In recent years, the high-resolution data integrated with GIS tools have played an important role in mapping natural resources such as agriculture, forestry, geology, water, ocean, etc. It also makes it possible to monitor the environment and thereby help in conservation. Remote sensing is generally used to remotely observe and detect the specific objects. Technologies such as aircraft-based sensor and satellite assist in observing the objects in many areas such as hydrology, ecology, oceanography, geology and glaciology. Remote sensing supports many real-time applications such as military, intelligence, commercial, economic and satellite and aerial imagery planning. The main purpose of remote satellite imagery is to collect data from hazardous areas. Remote sensing is the fast technology in the digital world.

Q5. Why do we study Geospatial Technology and how it is useful?

Geospatial technology is commonly known as Geoinformatics. Geoinformatics technology is used for visualization, measurement and analysis of the characteristics or phenomena that occur on Earth. Geospatial technology is used in various organizations such as the civil, commercial, government and military sectors. The advancement of these technologies contributes to efficient management of natural resources. These technologies help in many applications such as soil, geomorphology, hydrogeology, land use, agriculture, land archives, town planning, infrastructure development, water resources, basin management slopes, disaster management, health, education, security and defense, etc. Geospatial is a widely used term it describe the combination of spatial software and an analytical method with a geographic database. The traditional technique for generating the state of natural resources is time consuming and expensive. The state of natural resources includes the area, crop production, irrigation facilities, rainfed areas, etc. this information can be generated using GIS and remote sensing technologies and would be cost effective and save time. Geospatial technology, including three different technologies that are all related to the mapping of entities on the surface of the earth. These three technologies are Remote Sensing (RS), Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS). Geospatial technology improves organizational integration, makes decisions, and creates maps. Geospatial technology has become an essential part of everyday life. It is used to track everything from fitness to transportation to changes on the surface of the earth. “It’s one of the finest technologies on the market.

Q6. . How do you see future of Remote Sensing and GIS in world?

All things considered, the future of GIS is very optimistic. It is about to be adopted on a larger scale than what we have seen in recent decades, as more and more organizations learn how much commercial value can come from geospatial data. We can expect that geographic information science and technology will not only transform, but will also help change the way organizations use these technologies. Everyone working in geographic information science understands the value of knowing exactly where you’re headed. But the future of GIS presents endless possibilities thanks to innovative technologies and approaches. Geospatial methods have already radically transformed data collection and strategic planning in areas ranging from real estate to humanitarian aid. What happens next depends on qualified professionals and organizations that are implementing more and more space tools for a wide range of applications. The development of GIS applications pushes the limits of what we can do with spatial information. New approaches to creating software for use on the web or on mobile devices continue to proliferate, facilitated by widely available GIS APIs and open source maps. The resulting applications can inform government agencies and the public about the history of natural disasters in a region, show health professionals the best ways to serve the people of a region, or educate travelers on travel websites, interest and nearby hiking trails. As more and more developers adopt 3D GIS tools, these representations will include layers with unprecedented levels of detail that deepen our awareness of the relevance of geographic data.

Q7. Which are the famous software and tools in RS and GIS?

Geographic information systems, better known as GIS software, collect, analyze and display geospatial data on 2D or 3D maps. As it provides valuable data on land management, logistics routing, technical design, demographic analysis, facilities management, etc., businesses in all sectors can benefit enormously. Collecting data from GIS software allows companies to observe patterns and trends; helping them to solve potential problems and improve business processes. Here, I’ve compiled a list of the best free open and paid GIS software that will help you map your geospatial data such as QGIS, SAGA GIS, ILWIS, Geomatica, TNTmips GIS, ERDAS IMAGINE, ENVI, GRASS GIS, ArcGIS, MapInfo, AutoCAD Map 3D and Global Mapper etc.

Q8. Please give any suggestions to students to get good skills in Remote Sensing?

The current structure of education differs enormously from those few decades ago. While the traditional education system relied on the hardcover books and lectures written on the sheets of paper, with the advent of the Internet and additional technological development, education has been transformed into a whole new atmosphere, bringing different online resources from the conventional framework of education. For me, using these new, innovative ways of learning became much more useful and practical than attending the lecture, so I decided to share some with you. For me as a GIS and remote sensing professional, I would focus on this domain, but overall these free tips on how to apply online learning can be applied to any professional area of interest Study MOOC (Massive Online Open Course).
1. Check universities for open online courses
2. Watch webinars and practice with instructors.
3. Learn from tutorials
4. Subscribe to the newsletters
5. Software Specific Knowledge
6. Analytical and Critical Thinking

Q9. How should I start if I would like to self-learn GIS?

GIS is a more application-oriented topic, so the more you work on GIS, the better you will be in GIS over time. You must first have GIS software in your computer systems. You can opt for open source packages like Quantum GIS, or download free limited-time packages from proprietary sources like ArcGIS. It is better to have experience with open source packages, as they will give you the flexibility of not relying entirely on proprietary packages. Then you need data to work. A good way to start is to download open source satellite data from NASA / ISRO websites. Then you can start to map basic functionality in GIS and create attributes of GIS layers by yourself. I hope this will help you start your GIS learning journey which you can always extend according to your interest.

Q10. What is the career scope in GIS and Remote Sensing?

Skills development in geographic information systems (GIS) can lead to a variety of career paths in government, real estate, public health, crime mapping, landscape architecture, urban planning, logistics and much more. GIS technology makes a difference in the world in part thanks to a wide variety of possible applications. In addition to trends and relationships, GIS skills can be useful for careers in real estate appraisal, retail, banking, natural resource management, emergency management and more. For things like real estate, retail and banking, GIS can mean better decision making for business owners. In the management of natural resources, this can mean greater transparency on the part of government authorities or help to identify at-risk or underserved populations within a community. For emergency management, this can mean identifying weaknesses or improving communications during a crisis. The growth potential of this sector remained high. As the use of GIS and other geospatial technologies grows, it offers opportunities for people with different work experiences and backgrounds. There are many open opportunities for a graduate in GIS and remote sensing. One can join both government and the private sector. A person can become a Project Fellow / Project Assistant, Assistant Professor, GIS Executive, Research Associate, Remote Sensing and GIS Software Analyst, Remote Sensing and GIS Technical Program Manager, Remote Sensing / GIS Specialist.
We can even join government sectors like Central Ground Water Board, Defense Terrain Research Laboratory, All India Soil and Land Use Survey, Geological Survey of India, National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, Town and Country Planning, Remote Sensing Laboratories from various universities Companies involved in GIS and its application studies, Public sector organizations: Indian Space Research Organization, National Remote Sensing Center, National Spatial Data Infrastructure, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Forest Survey of India, Geological Survey of India , Survey of India, Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of the Environment, National Computer Center, Northeast Space Applications Center, Indian Institute of Agricultural Research, Department of Agriculture and Irrigation , Department of Meteorology, Mining, Soil conservation, Land degradation and Groundwater Management, Natural Resource Management, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Space and Aviation Application Centers, Urban Development Authorities and Municipalities, Watershed and Wetland Management.