Takor Group rewards UWA student with $1000 cash prize

UWA Faculty of Science, Awards Breakfast, Uni Club. 3rd May 2016. Photo: (C) Daniel Carson | dcimages

The Takor Group Prize in GIS goes to…

At Takor Group, we love encouraging students who are passionate about geospatial technology and GIS. This is why we’ve teamed up with the University of Western Australia (UWA) on several projects, including hiring two students as Mappt interns over the summer.

Our latest collaboration has been with UWA’s Faculty of Science. We donated the Takor Group Prize in GIS – a $1000 cash prize – to the student who achieves the highest mark in EARTH2201 Geographic Information Systems.

This year that student was Asja Angela Kroeger, who is studying Chemistry and Geographical Sciences through the Bachelor of Philosophy. Mappt’s Brand and Strategy Manager Piotr Dancewicz attended the awards breakfast at UWA to congratulate Asja and find out more about her passion for GIS, what she thinks of Mappt and what she’s going to do with her winnings!

UWA Faculty of Science, Awards Breakfast, Uni Club. 3rd May 2016. Photo: (C) Daniel Carson | dcimages

Mappt’s Piotr Dancewicz with winner Asja. Photo: (C) Daniel Carson | dcimages

Congratulations on winning the Takor Group prize! When did your passion for GIS and Earth Sciences begin? 

Since high school I have been fascinated by how almost every phenomenon in society or the environment has a spatial aspect to it, and can be visualised on a map to illustrate distributions.

What was your favourite unit over the course and why? 

The geographical sciences cover such a broad range of topics that it’s hard to single out one course as my favourite!

In my first year I really enjoyed the introductory course on Globalisation, Environment and Development. I had the chance to explore a number of topics from that course in more depth while studying economic geography on exchange at Seoul National University.

The unit Introduction to Geographical Information Systems also really stood out, as it introduced me to a system that allows the user to visualise the spatial distribution of almost any phenomenon in society or the environment. As such, I have found GIS to be an extremely powerful communication tool and it has been great learning how to operate some of its features.

How did you find using Mappt during your course?

We used Mappt in the Introduction to Geographical Information Systems unit to collect data for features on campus, which we later uploaded into ArcGIS to create a map. We used a simple handheld GPS at the same time for comparison.

The option in Mappt to mark features on an already georeferenced image was a great advantage, especially when sampling a small area that requires accuracy to a few meters. The user interface on the tablet also made identifying features very efficient.

GIS have come a long way from paper maps; where do you see GIS going in the future?

With the advent of smartphones, there has been a large rise in crowd sourced data and disaster mapping software.  allowing people to map georeferenced texts has become a helpful tool in directing aid.

Considering how quickly one can learn how to operate the basic features of a GIS, I think that such systems have great potential.  But this new ease of accessing and processing individuals’ data could also cause new problems. Georeferenced social media contributions already make it possible to identify a person’s home address, their work place and even their favourite restaurant. Ethical questions such as whether uploading georeferenced contributions gives consent to using this information need to be reconsidered.

Have you thought about how you’ll spend your winnings yet?

I enjoyed great teaching in small classes at Seoul National University for two fantastic short term exchanges. I am considering returning to Seoul to complete my electives, so the prize will be a great help to finance tuition and textbooks.

After finishing her bachelor’s degree, Asja plans to pursue postgraduate studies to help her obtain a career in research.

We believe this prize will be one of the many successes Asja will achieve, and wish her the best of luck for her future.