geo4women scholarship report 2019

This year's geo4women scholarship, which is awarded annually by the research group remote sensing, was given to two women: Dragana Panic and Nina Gnann. We are happy to share their reports on their work and personal experiences at TU Vienna:

For eight weeks this summer, I have been occupied with implementing and designing a QGIS Plugin called “OpenEO” in the framework of the H2020 funded project OpenEO. The purpose of this plugin is to enable users from all over Europe to query data in a simple and unified way from different clients and cloud backends. A common problem in that regard are the existing, but tailored and custom-made codes for specific data infrastructures and hence, the lack of standard. However, these issues do not address the openEO Plugin, since everything is based upon one interface. I really enjoyed the programming challenges, which arose every day. Creatively solving latter ones delighted me very much. Summing up the working part, I learned a lot during these eight weeks, partly developed a new QGIS Plugin and met new and kind colleagues, with which I will stay in contact.

As I usually live in Germany, it has been a bit of organizational work before I started at the TU Vienna. Rather quickly, I found a good place to stay within the “Gürtel”, from which I could get to work each day by bike. Personally, I think this is the best way to move within Vienna. Especially since the weather in summer is dry, warm and very comforting. Vienna offers cultural highlights, architecture of timeless beauty, lots of events, open air cinemas, different sports and my favorite: the Vienna State Opera. After eight weeks exploring and enjoying Vienna, I still have the feeling I have not seen everything. Vienna keeps surprising me and this is not just due to the lovely Austrians and their dialect.

These two months have been an amazing experience for me and I am really grateful for being chosen. Thank you Matthias Schramm, Bernhard Gößwein, Claudio Navacchi and Wolfgang Wagner for these eight weeks of collaboration, the support and discussions with and about the openEO Plugin and the lovely coffee breaks. I am very happy that I took this opportunity!

Nina Gnann

My name is Dragana Panic, and I am Master’s student studying Geodesy and Geoinformation at TU Vienna. For this year's geo4women summer scholarship I proposed to be part of the microwave remote sensing research group working on the current BMon project. This was a great opportunity to work with a great group of researchers from different institutes and get plenty of expert knowledge in the field Microwave Remote Sensing.
The aim of the project is to provide high resolution (100 m sampling) soil moisture products over Austria by combining different models and Earth Observation data. My activity carried out during the research internship has been related to the validation of high resolution soil moisture data sets. On one hand, pre-processing part as reading and implementation of different data sets, masking, averaging per pixel and temporal matching and on other hand, validation metrics like temporal and spatial analysis.

The reason why I was interested in this topic is, in my Bachelor and Master studies the subjects related to Microwave Remote Sensing helped me to revive my interest in the combination of Earth Observation (EO) data and in situ data. The analysis of this combination made me very curious and motivated to observe their different behavior under similar conditions. For instance, when comparing the in situ data sets with EO data we can observe discrepancies which can be explained by the higher/lower temperature, frozen soils or snow cover during different seasons. In order to be able to distinguish the reliable data from these outliers it is necessary to apply masking using auxiliary datasets. Other phenomena requires different approaches.

My four-month research experience with the Remote Sensing group can be described as a significant step in my personal development, full of adventures and new experiences. The major challenging parts of my research were getting familiar with different soil moisture data sets and programming in Python. Five types of datasets were available for the validation steps; the ensemble product calculated from the four soil moisture datasets, and the separate products from the hydrological model, meteorological model, agro-meteorological model and S1ASCAT Earth Observation dataset. The final result was writing the validation algorithm including all necessary steps pre-processing which will be applied for the further validation analysis.

To conclude, I really appreciate this opportunity of the Remote Sensing Research Group. Beside a lot of experience in this field, it encouraged me to take into consideration my future career and to stay in the science field. The knowledge I gained from my colleagues with various background helped me a lot to establish new way of independent thinking as a researcher.
I would recommend everyone to take this opportunity and develop their research abilities and of course to visit one of the most beautiful cities in the world and feel unique magical spirit of Vienna.

Finally, I would like to thank Prof. Wolfgang Wagner, Dr. techn. Mariette Vreugdenhil, Dipl.-Ing. Isabella Pfeil and PhD Andreas Salentinig for their support, their great help and encouragement during this research in the Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation at the TU Wien.

Dragana Panic

 Nov. 5, 2019

 Microwave Remote Sensing