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Questions & Answers with our Technical Coordinator, Ross Smith

  • We are very excited about this week’s blog - a Q & A session with TCarta’s Technical Coordinator, Ross Smith.

    Ross Smith began his career in remote sensing and geospatial sciences  while serving as an infantryman and company intelligence support team leader during overseas duty with the US Army. After joining TCarta in 2017, Ross has transitioned into the role of Technical Project Coordinator,  where he facilitates bathymetric remote sensing research & development, and geoprocessing workflow enhancement. By leveraging multifaceted experience and innovative solutions to modern technological challenges, he seeks to keep TCarta on the cutting edge of satellite-derived data production, supplying superior content to support global applications.

    How did your academic work lead to your current position? 

    My academic work centered around Geospatial Sciences, with a focus on Geographic Information Systems (GIS). A wind-turbine suitability analysis project and a green-roof modelling project really drove home how powerful geospatial data can be when applied to real-world scenarios. I knew I was in the right field when got excited about my findings during this research. Couple this with my exposure to remote-sensing during my military career and the introduction to python programming while at MSU Denver, and the rest is history!

    What excites you about your work?

    A lot! Primarily, that I am able to work on projects in locations around the world, for a wide variety of clients. I also thoroughly enjoy the daily challenges that arise when working for a small technology-based company. Every day is a bit different, and I am constantly learning more about my field, myself, and the world around me. Finally, working with a motivated, skilled, and composed group of professionals really drives home how good I have it with TCarta!

    Ross visiting the TCarta team in Bristol earlier this year. With offices in the UK, USA and UAE, the team gets a chance to travel at work! 

    What stands out about how TCarta approaches satellite derived data?

    TCarta’s focus on delivering high-quality geospatial and remote sensing products extends further than stringent quality & control procedures. We are constantly looking for new ways to create data, and for innovative methods to improve our existing processes. This is well demonstrated by our partnership with DigitalGlobe, our interactions with the DigitalGlobe Research Group, as well as our NSF research grant award.

    Why is machine learning important to integrate into your work?

    Machine learning is essential to propelling TCarta into the modern realm of data science and data manipulation. Humans are producing more and more data every single second of every day. If we wish to take full advantage of the massive volumes of information around us, we cannot rely on human-driven processes. Relevant to TCarta, this means using machine learning not just to facilitate efficient ingestion of data, but also using artificial intelligence to improve our existing products, create new outputs, and to reveal more about the world around us than ever before.

    Where do you recommend TCarta put its emphasis next?

    I see TCarta transitioning our product-base to include a substantially larger volume of information, across many vectors. Providing a one-stop-shop for relevant data needs. Instead of seeking a product from TCarta, another complementary product from vendor B, and a third complimentary product from vendor C, customers will instead be able to acquire all of their data in one place, and continue to do so as their needs see fit.

    Here at TCarta we are always looking at improving the availbility of geospatial data - find and request data at explore.tcarta.com

    What kind of insights do you strive to bring to your work?

    I always aim to make decisions that will improve the quality of our products, the efficiency of our workflows, and the quality of life of our team! I’ve always had an eye for structure and a mind based on order and flow. This mindset is very well matched with geospatial and remote sensing data production.

    What advice would you give someone who wants to succeed in a geospatial science profession?

    Python Python Python. Learn python. Also, learn as many different softwares as you can, or, at the very least, understand the core components of geospatial and remote sensing data, separate from the common tools and softwares used by most entry-level positions and educational institutions. In my opinion, the key to success in this field, is not becoming too compartmentalized in any one facet. There are numerous aspects to the field, and having a solid, broad skill-set will do wonders.

    About which professional resources would you say, “I can’t live without it!”

    Stackexchange! Just kidding… I’ve always found the ESRI ArcPy documentation invaluable for some of the work we do at TCarta.

    How are you transforming TCarta’s business?’

    I am transforming TCarta’s business via the development of new and exciting technology, which will allow us to produce more data than ever before, in more places, with more confidence.

    More articles from the TCarta Team:

    TCarta wins National Science Foundation Grant

    A new way to explore geospatial data