Planning a Placement Abroad?


Emma Trojak, Geographic Information Science student at Newcastle University, shares what she enjoyed about her year-long industry placement in Hong Kong.


1. Where did you do your industry placement?

ARUP, Hong Kong headquarters.


2. When did you do your industry placement?

September 2021 – 2022.


3. Why did you choose to do a placement with that organisation?

During the second year of my geospatial engineering degree I decided I wanted to do a placement year abroad. ARUP in Hong Kong were advertising sandwich student year placements in their geotechnics department GIS team. The multidisciplinary nature of ARUP, including their recent engineering feats in HK such as the Hong Kong-Macau Bridge (2018), assured me I would be working on diverse, interesting, and possibly historical projects. I was excited to apply!


4. Why did you want to an industry placement?

The last two years at university have taught me that the best knowledge is gained through practical experience. This is especially paramount in the geospatial engineering industry where technical competence is required on multiple different software platforms. This year in industry gives me the opportunity to improve upon skills I have gained at university in a professional setting as well as learning new skills required for a career in GIS.


5. What type of skills did you learn during your industry placement?

During my placement I have been introduced to many new software platforms including MicroStation, TerraExplorer, and 3ds Max and had the chance to improve my competence in ArcGIS Pro. I have improved upon my ability to analyse accuracies for 3D mapping applications using lidar data, annotate landcover types, and organise large geospatial data sets. It has been incredibly valuable to learn how GIS is applied in the professional environment and to communicate with colleagues from all around the world.


6. How has it benefitted you on the course?

On my return to university the software experience and skills I have gained whilst on placement should allow me to complete assignments and exams to a higher level as I am now more familiar with a variety of software and analysis techniques.


Discussions with colleagues about the future trends and applications of GIS for megacities such as Hong Kong have been enlightening and the greatest source of inspiration for my dissertation for my final year.


7. What work did you do?

I have had three main projects whilst on placement:

  1. Quality checking accuracies of 3D building models against Lidar point clouds for a 3D map of Kowloon.

  2. Annotation of landcover types in Hong Kong for the training of an AI model to then identify landcover types accurately on its own.

  3. The preparation and organisation of geospatial datasets for publishing.


8. What would you say to a student who might want to do Geospatial Engineering at University?

Geospatial engineering is a highly diverse, dynamic, and stimulating discipline. You will gain a holistic overview of the techniques we use to monitor, analyse, and therefore inform decisions to make improvements to the world we live in. The ever-changing character of the earth means that geospatial engineering courses are constantly changing to keep up to date with the newest trends. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time studying geospatial engineering and am excited about all my future career possibilities.


Some disciplines you may learn include:

  • Global scale navigation systems that are used to connect people and ideas like never before.

  • Remote sensing that is used to monitor environmental changes and natural disasters.

  • Mapping and spatial data modelling applications to analyse geospatial datasets and represent the real-world virtually.

  • New and exciting technologies we use to sense our environments including drones, satellites, and laser scanners.

Thinking about studying Geospatial Engineering at Newcastle University? Click here for more information.

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