Using sophisticated geospatial mapping software to help analyse masses of data generated from space with the help of NASA —images of the Earth’s surface relayed from satellites, drones, and high-flying aircraft—and from the ground is what the job of Cordula A. Robinson and her colleagues entails. They aim is to understand how sightings from far-flung locations relate to one another. Robinson, who serves as the lead faculty of the master’s in Geospatial Information Technology program (GIT) as well as two additional offerings quoted, “Man must rise above Earth, to the top of the atmosphere and beyond, for only then will he fully understand the world in which he lives.”
These words belong to Socrates but the person quoting them is Northeastern University’s Robinson who is an associate teaching professor in the Geospatial Information Technology program, an online master’s degree and certificate program launched in 2009. Robinson confidently opines, “Today there is a tsunami of free data—a ‘datanami’—from international space agencies including NASA as well as municipal, state, and federal governments. The silo walls have broken down and the floodgates have opened. Education in GIT is in a trailblazing phase. The NGA-USGS is looking to Northeastern as a Center of Academic Excellence to help create a structure, a path forward.”
She works with researchers in NASA while doing fieldwork in collecting samples as well as local engineers as part of a big interdisciplinary team. For instance, her findings concerned with those water pathways are guiding engineers in developing such an irrigation system that captures the water for farming as well as food.Given the quick development of applications for geospatial insight, Robinson is intensely mindful of the requirement for a modern workforce—one that exceeds expectations in aptitudes from information determination and investigation to data extraction and connection.
Ticking off just four possibilities, she exclaimed, “We expect job growth of 27 percent through 2018 in areas such as national security, international humanitarian relief work, disaster response, and logistics management.”