PROGRAMME: Applied Earth Sciences with specialization in Geo-Hazards (2007-2009)
I was about to finish my BSc degree in Geology at the University of Pavia, Italy, when just before choosing my thesis topic I followed a course on GIS and remote sensing. Well, it was illuminating − thanks also to the passion of my professor, Franceso Zucca. The idea of exploring and studying − with just a few “clicks” − the endless variety of scenarios that our Earth can reveal overwhelmed me completely. During the same period, I felt the need for an experience abroad. I talked to Francesco about my wishes and he immediately showed me the ITC website. It took me just a few seconds to make the best decision of my career!
It was May 2007. In September of the same year, I started my courses at ITC at the Department of Applied Earth Sciences, stream Geo-Hazards. I was enrolled in a 9-month diploma course. The first month was astonishing: the ITC building was a melting pot of cultures. Every day I learned something interesting in GIS and remote sensing. The courses covered GIS and remote sensing applications in Applied Earth Sciences, with a particular focus on natural hazards. Usually, the day was split into two parts: theory/lessons in the morning and practice/exercises in the afternoon. Such a mix worked perfectly. I learned fast, and even now I can remember many of the techniques and analyses I learned during the courses. After the third month – and because I was really enjoying the time spent there and my expertise was rapidly increasing − I decided to complete the entire MSc course.
After 18 wonderful months of hard work, I got my MSc degree in March 2009. I remember that day as one of the best moments in my life. Afterwards, I decided to go back to Italy for personal reasons. I have to say that, outside the GIS and earth observation environment, ITC was almost unknown in Italy at that time. This was due mainly to the lack of interest of Italian industry in these subjects. Nevertheless, I found a job as a GIS analyst in less than one month, because the person who selected me had seen the name ITC on my CV.
After a year I got the chance to join the Laboratory of Remote Sensing at the University Politecnico of Milan. My studies at ITC played a crucial role in this case too. The name ITC on my CV was enough. At the Politecnico, we carried out research into the use of remote sensing techniques in subjects related to oil and gas exploration in collaboration with the Italian hydrocarbon company ENI. The task was new to me and highly challenging. Everything I had learned at ITC was useful − particularly the critical and proactive approach I had acquired from that experience. Every time I am confronted with a problem or difficult task, I always know how to tackle it, without getting discouraged. This is the result of days and nights spent struggling on the assignments during my courses.
I changed job again a few months ago and now I am a consultant at ERM Italy in the impact assessment and planning team. My duties include GIS applications, basic GIS programming (ESRI model builder, python), remote sensing applications, 3D data analysis and visualization (CTech MVS). As before, the studies at ITC were a key factor in my interviews. ITC does not work magic but it provides you with the right weapons to approach a new job: skills, attitude, experience in an international environment, and of course its name and what it stands for − excellence, high-quality performance and certified competence. Right now my group is assisting oil and gas companies (ENI SAIPEM, TAP, TOTAL etc.) in planning, perforations, pipeline routing and plant location, with a focus on environmental, social and health aspects. Every morning I start work with the idea of trying to preserve a sensitive habitat, an indigenous village or a threatened animal species. Using what I have learned to try to preserve our world heritage makes me feel a bit better.
I would like to say a few words to any new ITC student. “First of all, the period spent at ITC will be one of your best memories in your life; therefore fully live every minute spent there. I was class representative and general secretary of the ITC Student Association Board (SAB) – in both cases great experiences. I suggest you really try to be part of the SAB; it can be a way to help other students and it will give you great satisfaction. One of the main aspects of ITC is its international network. From the first day, start to set up your own project − maybe with your own universities or organizations. You will be fully supported by everyone on the ITC staff. Build good relationships with your professors and lecturers: they will last for a very long time and will be useful. But first of all, decide for yourself what you want to do. ITC offers you an endless number of programmes and courses. If you have a clear idea of what your specialization will be, you will get the best out of your experience at ITC. Finally, if you like GIS and remote sensing and if you think you want to work in these fields, visit the ITC website and find your way to personal success!”