This interview with Reuma Arav is the fourth in the Lidar News Young Geospatial Spotlight Interview series. Congratulations to Reuma for a great start on her career. Please be sure to think about sharing your story and/or recommending us to a colleague.
(Editor’s Note – Be sure to check out the new Younger Geospatial Professionals LinkedIn Group. To join click here.)
I am a registered surveyor and a Ph.D. candidate in the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. In my research, I develop new autonomous ways to detect and characterize subtle features within laser scans, regardless of the scanned environment – be it built or natural.
I came across the geomatics profession completely by mistake. After registering to study Material Engineering, I received a leaflet inviting me to study Mapping and Geo-Information Engineering.
Curious to find what “Geo-Information” is, I met an old relative – a retired registered surveyor. He tried to convince me that this was not a “woman’s job”: working in the field on hot days, lifting heavy equipment, while every day you are somewhere new. The more he talked the more I was persuaded this was the job for me. The next day, I changed my registration.
I graduated my B.Sc. at the Technion, majoring both in Digital Mapping and Land Surveying. Continuing directly to Masters’ degree, I studied and developed means to detect changes in natural environments, within both airborne and terrestrial laser scans. To improve accuracy, the scanner’s mechanism and the errors that affect its measurements were taken into consideration.
I applied the proposed method to study the coastal cliff retreat, detecting changes that were difficult to trace otherwise.
During my M.Sc., I investigated sinkholes development along the Dead Sea coastal plains, as part of a cooperative research with the Geological Survey of Israel. We used airborne laser scans for fan-scale interpretation, and terrestrial ones for more localized and detailed monitoring, leading to an extended and more comprehensible model for the evolution of sinkholes. Both works were translated into papers.
Apart of being a full-time graduate student, I am also a teaching-assistant in the Department, teaching photogrammetry, surveying, and cultural heritage preservation courses. Because the Technion is the only institute that qualifies geospatial engineers in Israel, I get to know all future professionals, while trying to show them the beauty of our profession.
I think that the way to attract young people to our profession is first to make it more known. Most people never heard the word “surveying” let alone “geomatics”. We need to signify the fact that surveyors are an invaluable part of society: no construction or infrastructure project can be materialized without them. Not only that, but also a large variety of disciplines require our quantitative-positional understanding.
I have been studying land degradation in the desert, mapping abrasion platforms in the sea, and characterizing archaeological sites all over Israel. The greatest advantage of surveying is that you can choose how and where you want to work. You can work in an office or in the field, you can work low-tech or high-tech, and of course, you can combine the lot.
This will be a long-term career for me, as I love exploring the new possibilities that mapping enables, and I enjoy discovering how much my profession affects the world I live in, even if it’s in small scale.
Selected works that were published can be found on my Google Scholar profile.
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Reuma Arav, Reuma Arav, Reuma Arav