M. Nijhuis

Azza's story

I aim to establish a firm focused on addressing spatial problems, particularly in disaster management, finance, logistics, and food and beverage sectors, using geospatial technologies. 

My Background

My name is Azza, and I am from Klaten, a small town in Indonesia located along the Indian Ocean Ring of Fire. Growing up in this geologically dynamic area, I experienced numerous natural disasters, including earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. These events not only shaped my early life but also sparked my curiosity for geoscience.

I pursued this interest through my undergraduate studies in Cartography and Remote Sensing at Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia, where I focused my thesis on lahar modeling of the Kelud volcano, which has claimed hundreds of lives over the past two centuries. Post-graduation, I worked as a Geospatial Data Analyst at the Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs in Indonesia, where I helped collect and analyze various maps to support the One Map Policy initiative. My career then transitioned to product management, where I spent four years as a Product Manager for a location intelligence platform at Bhumi Varta Technology. This role provided me with invaluable experience of utilizing geospatial technology in sectors such as food and beverage, retail, finance, and logistics.

Despite its utility, I noticed geospatial technology was less recognized compared to emerging fields like AI and blockchain. This underappreciation often stems from its community’s focus on technical capabilities rather than practical problem-solving. Many people don't realize how integral spatial solutions are to addressing everyday problems, especially in a logistically complex archipelago like Indonesia.

Studying at ITC

This realization led me to pursue a Master of Spatial Engineering at ITC, renowned worldwide for its specialized geospatial programs. Unlike other geospatial programs, this program’s unique approach of solving wicked problems and its reputation for producing excellent alumni (including several of my undergraduate professors) drew me in. The curriculum’s emphasis on real-world challenges such as disaster risk, logistics complexities, and spatial decision-making exactly aligns with my findings in my professional years.

Thanks to the ITC scholarship, I am now studying at one of the most well-known geospatial institutions globally, gaining knowledge that bridges the gap between technical capabilities and real-world applications. Without this scholarship, my journey wouldn’t be possible. My coursework, particularly in Spatial Policy and Governance (SPG), has introduced me to new concepts like Spatial Finance and Spatial Knowledge Management. These courses have underlined the practical impacts of geospatial technology for everyday people.

Through projects in Mashhad, Iran, and Zwolle, The Netherlands, I have collaborated with friends from around the world (the Netherlands, the US, France, Ethiopia, Pakistan, India, and Malaysia) to develop solutions for these wicked spatial problems. The projects have taught me different values and norms around the world and ultimately the importance of collaborative problem-solving from a multicultural team.

Looking ahead, I aim to establish a firm focused on addressing spatial problems, particularly in disaster management, finance, logistics, and food and beverage sectors, using geospatial technologies. My education at ITC and the connections I’ve made here are invaluable and I will leverage them to achieve these goals.

I enjoy living in Enschede for its friendly atmosphere and it is not too crowded, much preferring it to the intensity of Jakarta I experienced before. It is, figuratively, closer to Klaten (my hometown) than Jakarta. I love the fact that even the bus drivers are so friendly that most of them smile at us whenever we enter the bus.