My life in Geospatial (thus far), where am I?
Today is 4th of July, JULY?! Who else can't believe it? Today officially marks the 7 month anniversary of being in Europe and being away from Australia, *sigh*. SO, I am currently sitting in my Geneva apartment, in Switzerland, as the summer evening fades to night (very late I might add, this 'sun sets at 10pm' always gets me!). COVID-19 has become a very distant word these days, with very minimal restrictions and most people vaccinated life seems to be moving in a more normal direction and I am happy about that! But apart from living my bouji Swiss life (jks), what else have I been up to?
In April 2020, I wrote this blog about geospatial science in relation to COVID-19, the pandemic in April 2020 was just ramping up (little did I know) and things really took a turn for the worst in 2020 (and 2021) within most of the world. I was lucky enough to live 2020 mostly normal without lockdowns or restrictions, mostly at the sunny shores of Hervey Bay, in Queensland - sticking it out at my parent's place while I finished my Masters wasn't too bad. I mean, we had sun, the beach, cafes and restaurants and no COVID restrictions, so what more could you really need?
But as I powered through working and studying online the thought of graduating in a year ravished by COVID-19 was quite frightening, especially when my whole life goal was to work and travel within the international sphere. Barred from leaving the country, limited flights, border closures, loved ones halfway across the world... lockdowns, it was all in the back of my mind, along with the approaching deadline of my Master's thesis.
I guess they say, things come when you least expect them! (or do they?) Well, for me it happened this way. An unexpected email from my now boss, asking me to chat about a geospatial consultancy position in GENEVA, turned into me relocating to Switzerland mid pandemic.
I landed my dream job during the pandemic.
United Nations office in Geneva - DISCLAIMER I don't work in the main UN compound as we are a technical agency we actually sit in the WMO building - but it's just across the road from here!
It's no secret I am a HUGE humanitarian and advocator for the UN, I am really passionate about sustainable development, especially using digital technologies - such as geospatial science. With 2 years of experience at the UN Secretariat in Bangkok (UNESCAP) and a BSc and Masters in Geospatial Science, working at the United Nations Satellite Center (UNOSAT) was a natural next step.
UNOSAT (recently named the United Nations Satellite Center) is an operational satellite applications programme and technical agency, under UNITAR. We have a vast array of staff working on using satellite applications and geospatial information for humanitarian and development efforts. UNOSAT works hand-in-hand with other UN agencies, Governments and stakeholders to deliver mapping products, capacity building and training when required. AND that's what I do!
I am a geospatial analyst, I get to use my technical knowledge in GIS and remote sensing and my diplomacy knowledge of the UN system every day and I love it. Everyday the team works on something different, a different mapping event or satellite analysis required for a different situation, whether it be rapid mapping, emergency mapping, consulting and monitoring or environmental analysis - we do it all.
Moving to a new place, again, is tough and while it's fun, wild, thrilling and all - it's also tough. At first, it was really difficult, the Swiss love their rules and high-quality way of life but after being here for quite a few months I am really starting to enjoy life. Geneva is absolutely stunning and honestly one of the best places I have lived!
I feel so lucky to have been able to continuously push the boundaries with my job and within my field and be where I am today, despite everything going on in the world.
You can check out UNOSAT's public map gallery and work here - https://unitar.org/maps
Big news in 2021.
Thus far I have been lucky enough to have a few articles published recently! The first is an article in my hometown's local magazine, Alive Magazine, they did an interview on me and my journey from a regional town in Queensland to the International Capital of the world! The second is an interview I did with UNDRRs Prevention Web on my experience being a woman in GIS and DRR and my journey thus far.
I have also joined the Women in Geospatial + network and taken on the role of regional ambassador for Oceania! I am super excited about connecting with other like-minded women in the industry and hearing their stories and forming friendships!