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PhD position: Big data methods and scalable tools to combine optical and RADAR Sentinel satellite data for rapid change detection

Job description: The Laboratory for Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing (GRS) at Wageningen University (NL) is offering one PhD position to perform …

4 maanden geleden


Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


Job description: The Laboratory for Geo-information Science and Remote Sensing (GRS) at Wageningen University (NL) is offering one PhD position to perform four-year research as part of the coordinated effort on Big Earth Observation analytics (Big-EO-Analytics) funded by the Dutch National Science foundation's Open Technology program (NWO-OTP). Over the last 2 years Europe has acquired some of the world's best Earth observation satellite sensors; the Sentinel satellites. They provide groundbreaking data that is driving a revolution in Earth Observation research and development. Sentinel satellites offer significant potential, as for the first time, dense RADAR (Sentinel-1), and optical (Sentinel-2) satellite image time series are available free-of- charge to support services and science better. We have developed new approaches to combine optical and RADAR data for rapid change monitoring, for example to detect illegal deforestation activities in the tropics (www.wur.eu/changemonitor). However, a solution that makes it easy to analyze large data amounts of the Sentinel satellites is missing. This project will address this central challenge and will build on our existing algorithms and expertise. Two PhD students and a Postdoc will work closely together with key Dutch end-users in the context of this project.

Resources and supervision:
The PhD position is a full time four-year position and is conducted mainly at the Centre for Geo-Information at Wageningen University (NL) and the related Graduate School (www.pe-rc.nl) under the supervision of Associate Prof. Jan Verbesselt, in close collaboration and supervision with Prof. Edzer Pebesma and Dr. Johannes Reiche. The candidate is also expected to spend some time at the Netherlands E-Science Center (https://www.esciencecenter.nl/) to work with high performance computing and data-infrastructures offered by SURF (https://www.surf.nl/).

Data science-oriented PhD position:
The goal here is to evaluate and implement existing big data solutions that enable efficient and scalable application of algorithms on satellite images. They include distributed file systems (e.g. HDFS), scalable databases (e.g. Apache HBASE and MongoDB), and analytical frameworks (e.g. Apache Spark), as well as more geoscience-related tools as GeoPySpark, Magellan, and the Google Earth Engine[1]. Applying algorithms easily and efficiently on large amounts of Sentinel satellite image time series is critical. Storing satellite images in an effective way must enable fast data access and scalability of algorithms using commodity hardware, High Performance Clusters and cloud environments. We will apply and test our change monitoring approaches for two use-cases focusing on Sentinel-based rapid detection of forest change in the tropics and land cover monitoring in the Netherlands.

[1] https://earthengine.google.com/


We are looking for a motivated researcher with data science, geoinformatics MSc degree. Strong English skills are fundamental. Knowledge about Linux, programming skills to handle spatial data and remote sensing are favorable.


We offer:
We offer a full time (38 hours/week) temporary position for a period of 4 years. The appointment will be initially for 18 months. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years.
The salary will increase from € 2.222,- gross per month in the first year up to € 2.840,- in the fourth year based on a full-time employment.

Additional information

Applications for this position should be submitted before 22 May 2018.

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