Geospatial Analysis and Data Visualization Officer, AUB
Rim shares her "thrill ride" after finishing her BLA degree, describes her exceptional experience as part of LDEM family of faculty and staff, and explains what drew her to geospatial analysis and how this field informed her career orientation.
After graduation, where did your BLA degree take you?
I would briefly say: BLA took me on a thrill ride!
After graduation, I occupied a research position on two consecutive projects involved in the physical and social well-being in the outdoor built environment and sustainable pedestrian infrastructure in urban areas. Afterwards, I became part of LDEM family as a departmental research assistant where I closely worked with faculty members and coordinated various academic support functions.
During my first 2-year research position, I utilized my research skills in exploring fundamental concepts in geospatial and statistical analysis tools, field measurements and surveying, statistics, and attributes of the outdoor built environment. In addition, I developed my research writing tools, documentation, and methodology and applied GIS spatial analysis to develop an extensive system of mapping. A very unique feature of this type of work was the participation in various national and international conferences, workshops, and training programs. One of those exciting experiences was my visit to Lund University in Sweden, where I took part in a faculty educational exchange at the Department of Technology and Society and expanded my professional network and research skillset.
LDEM later offered me the opportunity to be part of its exceptional and supportive team. I worked closely with the Chairperson on developing the BLA curriculum assessment tool, creating and executing LDEM's digital identity on social media platforms and the institutional website, coordinating the BLA accreditation process, and much more!
The experience I have acquired through pursuing my BLA degree and completing projects in this domain have equipped me with essential research and technical skills that, I trust, qualify me to be a passion-fueled and competent professional.
You are very enthusiastic about geospatial analysis and technology; where do you see meeting points between the BLA program and your geospatial-oriented career choice?
It all started when I discovered my passion for photography. Sounds a bit conventional right? Well, think again. I am drawn to pixels, and I believe that pixels speak and tell stories that we frame. This visual language helped steer my research interests towards the exploration of how pixels of geospatial data can be transformed to actionable insights on different scales.
Geospatial Analytics is a booming industry. It is used to describe the range of modern tools contributing to the geographic mapping of the earth and human societies. This exciting field paves the way to solving problems by finding patterns and seeing what others can't. Geospatial mapping and analysis is only useful if well communicated through user-friendly data visualization. Being part of this field allows you to tell the story of a specific area, country, or planet through satellite imagery and mapping.
When we root ourselves in a geospatial mindset, we can understand the context of our decisions and rethink where our actions can have the most impact. We find answers when we look at the world through the lens of where and when we closely understand people and the spaces they inhabit.
This is where the BLA program played a crucial role in developing my spatial perception and representation, which is a key component to a geospatial-oriented career. During my undergraduate studies at LDEM, I got involved in studying and designing streets, squares, plazas, residential gardens, refugee camps, under-bridge spaces, neighborhood parks, urban rivers, city-scale networks, and much more. This rich blend of scales helped me go beyond design, and paved the way for the expansion of my spatial analysis skillset.