This summer we are joined by Ian Rundle from Rice University . Ian is completing an internship with us in software research in association with the Rice University Space Institute, the University of Edinburgh, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. In this blog, Ian reflects on his first few weeks with us and his experience in Edinburgh so far.
“I was drawn to Space Intelligence because of their environmental mission, the computer science skills I could gain, and the collaboration with experts in so many other fields, like ecology and remote sensing.” – Ian Rundle
Flying eight time zones away from home to Edinburgh to work with Space Intelligence this summer has been an amazing experience so far. I was drawn to Space Intelligence because of their environmental mission, the computer science skills I could gain, and the collaboration with experts in so many other fields, like ecology and remote sensing. And of course, it was a perfect opportunity to travel internationally and experience Scotland!
Despite going way out of my comfort zone, I knew that flying to a new city in a different country with a different culture and figuring life out would be a great opportunity for my personal and professional growth. It was disorienting and a bit terrifying at first, but as I’ve explored Scotland and the UK and got to know more people, it has been quite a fun adventure! Edinburgh is a great city with friendly people, walkable sidewalks, good public transport (yes I was childishly excited about the double decker buses), and lots of cool places to explore. I’ve walked to the top of Arthur’s seat, biked along several scenic routes, and I hope to explore Edinburgh Castle and go to the Highlands soon!
Every day at work, I always learn something new and end up applying it in the research project I’m working on. In my time here, I am working with Dr. David Harris from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh about tree species in the tropics and learning about their importance to local people and ecosystems. This has been really interesting and insightful! I am also grateful for the guidance from Kristian Bodolai here at Space Intelligence, and talking with Stuart King at the University of Edinburgh. Collaborating with these brilliant businesses and institutions is such a valuable opportunity. Overall, it’s great being at the intersection of so many different fields, working with people from several institutions, and doing something impactful for the environment.
Working with Space Intelligence is showing me how much potential this emerging geospatial data industry has to solve so many of the world’s problems. There is so much satellite data out there and we’ve only recently been able to process it at such a large scale, so there is so much to discover in the field. And for someone like me who loves programming and dealing with data, this is a perfect opportunity to use my skills for an environmental cause, which is not traditionally known to have many computer science applications.