PROGRAMME: Governance and Spatial Information Management (2011)
Despite my educational background, which was a bachelor’s degree in Management and Microeconomics, I started working for the GIS and remote sensing consulting centre Geographic in 2003 − a completely different sphere. For me, this job was a stepping stone to shifting my professional interests towards the field of GIS. Then several years later, in 2006, after acquiring some experience and skills, I applied to ITC to follow the short course Principles of Spatial Data Handling: Databases, GIS and Remote Sensing. I was admitted, was funded by NUFFIC, and gained the certificate. After experiencing the high educational level, as well as the pleasant study environment, I was encouraged to apply again, and so I gained two more degrees at ITC in the following specializations: in 2007-2008 Professional Master in Geo-information Management with emphasis on Land Administration, funded by ITC, with the research topic “Geo-information provision in land consolidation”; and in 2009-2011 MSc in Government and Spatial Information Management, funded again by NUFFIC, with the research topic “Accessing the feasibility of using local spatial knowledge in disaster risk management in Georgia”.
Despite the stressful moments that usually accompany studies, I had many pleasant times during the study period. I met and became friends with international students, and together we went out and about, learned and experienced Dutch culture, enjoyed cycling, and had the opportunity to travel abroad. I also experienced some significant changes in my personal life.
In 2009, while I was doing my MSc, ITC and the Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (CENN) embarked on the joint project Institutional Building for Natural Disaster Risk Reduction in Georgia, which was financially supported by the Social Transformation Programme (Matra). And so I carried out research within the scope of the Matra project. This enabled me to find a job at CENN directly after I had finished my MSc and returned to Georgia. At the beginning, I became involved in the Matra project, which was still ongoing. It was successfully finalized in April 2012, producing several useful results. I was mostly involved in developing The Atlas of Natural Hazards and Risks of Georgia. Working at CENN is interesting and very challenging because it always offers opportunities to become involved in new disciplinary fields.
Currently, I am still working at CENN and my main tasks are researching, reporting and implementing practical work; cooperating with different institutions at central and local level on various topics; coordinating and managing project activities; and − what is the most enjoyable − working with spatial information in a GIS environment. At CENN, I have had the chance to acquire skills and deepen my knowledge in the fields of environmental sciences, natural resources management, sustainable development and climate change adaptation.
I would like to keep moving forward in the future and take a PhD in a field of interest where geo-information science is a significant component of the research. To sum up, I am really grateful to Geographic, where I got the chance to shift my interests towards geo-information science; to ITC, who gave me the chance to study; to NUFFIC, who financed my studies twice; to CENN, who gave me the opportunity to become a member of a team where I could hone my skills, acquire knowledge and deepen my experience; and of course to everyone who has always supported me during the development of my professional career.
In conclusion, I would encourage any students who are thinking of learning more about the field of geo-information science and earth observation to stop, look no further, and apply to ITC. It is a strong educational faculty that will give them great skills – skills that will assist them in overcoming the professional challenges in their future career. I would also like to tell students who are currently studying at ITC (preparing for exams or writing their thesis) to keep moving forward and not to give up, to work hard but rest when it is necessary, and to enjoy their stay in Holland.