Alumni

Once upon a time

...GEOENGINE Graduates are looking back

The following very personal reviews from former GEOENGINE students will help to illustrate how they experienced their time in Universität Stuttgart and how the GEOENGINE education influenced their current professional career. This for sure this is a non-complete and non-representative list, which is based on reports submitted by graduates on a voluntary base, written quite a while since they left Universitaet Stuttgart. Nevertheless, this information might help to illustrate the GEOENGINE program from a different, very personal point of view. In addition these exemplarily curriculum vitae may also help to answer the question, what kind of careers will be opened with successful completion of the GEOENGINE program at Universität Stuttgart.

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Ms. Gina Alejandra Campuzano (Colombia)

Ms. Gina Alejandra Campuzano

Ms. Gina Alejandra Campuzano (Colombia)
GEOENGINE graduation in 2014

I finished my Diploma of Geodesy and Cadaster Engineering in Colombia and I wanted to apply my knowledge to create something new, demonstrating how important the geosciences are. I already had more than five years of knowledge in geosciences, so it was the time to pull out and gain experience. So, I did it! I started to work, gained experience and had the opportunity to create new things. Of course, those opportunities also expanded my knowledge. My focus was to construct Geospatial Solutions for administration in different sectors. Nevertheless time was passing and I after working for four years, I felt that the time for experience was done and I required more knowledge. I wanted to study again, but the education in Colombia is very expensive! My country was not an option to continue my studies. After evaluating opportunities in different countries, my target was Germany. I found Geoengine in my city, Bogota; through a special event of international academic programs. I talked with a person who was representing Stuttgart University and Geoengine. After of that I realized that I wanted to be there. With Geoengine we learn what is happening behind almost any method to measure the land, and how to get really precise information. Yes, it sounds like any study about geosciences teaches that, but there are a lot of processes and branches. Some master programs only teach how to apply methods, without deeper exploration of the practices behind them. Just to give an example: our Signal Processing lecture; I was really satisfied learning how to create filters getting a certain variation directly on the image, without the typical specialized image processing software. I must emphasize that we learned not just to get computational results; we also learned kinematic measurement systems getting physical motion results. This focus in Geoengine on programming fundamental measurement formulas is an important basis for constructing automation in branches like geospatial infrastructures; that was what I was looking for. Geoengine gave me many gratifications, like very qualified professors; they always give the best of themselves to fulfill the students’ expectations. Nevertheless many times I was feeling frustrated because the time was not enough. I was studying when Geoengine modules were distributed in two semesters, therefore my results in lectures were not the best, and I was also looking for my professional satisfaction. When I finished my lectures, I had another important track to conclude: my master thesis. Everything was really depending on myself. I finished my master thesis with a very good result; I followed my desire researching sources for development of geospatial solutions. My master thesis, besides my deep knowledge of geosciences and my experiences, ended here in Germany in getting the "job of my dreams" in the German Aerospace Center (DLR); researching and automating processes to construct geospatial infrastructures for some satellite missions. One of the projects that currently I am working on is the German Copernicus Data Access Infrastructure.

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Mr. Ibrahim Othman Ghalawinji (Syria)

Mr. Ibrahim Othman Ghalawinji

Mr. Ibrahim Othman Ghalawinji (Syria)
GEOENGINE graduation in 2014

Despite all the surrounding circumstances, I did it! Yes I completed the GEOENGINE master program successfully.

Leaving home to Germany

After completing the bachelor’s degree in Syria, I started to think more about the future. Too many questions were in mind. What to do? Where to go? And How?!

Germany was my goal. It is the country of science and technology. It is the country where Carl Friedrich Gauss was born.

But the problem was the language. I could not at that time speak any German word and I did not have time to stay more in Syria to learn the language due to the war there.

One website stopped me and told me, Hey there! You can still come here and learn in English! This was the website of GEOENGINE master program. So I started the correspondence with the course director at that moment Dr. Michael Cramer who gave me a hand and made everything easier not only regarding the admission, but also regarding the Visa at the German embassy in Jordan.

The life as a GEOENGINE student

It was not easy at the very first moment when our lecturers started to explain the contents of the modules. Firstly I was not used to hear the lecture in another language than Arabic. Secondly most of the subjects were totally new for me. Thus, I decided to give a double effort in order to reach the success. So I got the GEOENGINE scholarships twice.

As a GEOENGINE student I got to know the latest techniques in kinematic surveying and how to combine many different sensors in one navigation system to get the optimal result. I could also experience the result of the digital aerial triangulation during the airborne data acquisition module. Moreover, I got the chance to learn deeply how to transform between the different coordinate systems and between the geodetic datum through the Map projection and geodetic coordinate systems module.

The most interesting part during the master program was the practical part "Integrated Field Work". We as GEOENGINE students had to work in different groups in the field. Using GPS, total station, laser scanner and other surveying instruments we enjoyed this experience because we could apply what we learned in the classroom practically.

After Graduation

Due to the reputability of the University of Stuttgart and the results which I achieved during my study, I could get a job quickly at a surveying company in Germany as a land surveyor/ crew leader. I worked at this company for 5 months then I found a better job opportunity as a survey engineer at a German company which is specialized in undersea cables laying. My main job now is to monitor the surveyed data on the Barge, evaluate and process the output raw data.

This means that GEOENGINE opened different doors for me to go through. And YOU as a current or an incoming GEOENGINE student can choose your way after the graduation, but firstly you have to invest every minute here in Germany to learn German as I did because it is very important if you are thinking to work in Germany!

Last words

31.07.2014 is an unforgettable date for me. On that day, I could say that I am an MSc. graduate student from the University of Stuttgart.

Many thanks for all my lecturers and my friends.

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Mr. Hailong Fu (China)

Mr. Hailong Fu

Mr. Hailong Fu (China)
GEOENGINE graduation in 2013

Right now I am a GIS software developer in a Chinese surveying company, and it has been 2 years since I left Germany and GEOENGINE. It’s a great pleasure to write down my experience in the Alumni forum.

The willing of going to Germany

In 2010, I was 23 and working as a field surveyor. The time was elapsing and the same tasks were repeating every day, I begin to think of trying something new. That was the first time when studying in a foreign country came to my mind. With the knowledge from my bachelor, I decided to focus into photogrammetry and study in the University of Stuttgart. Long had I heard this university has the leading photogrammetric group. Afterwards the application process was simple since GEOENGINE was the only program I applied; I passed IELTS and got the admission letter easily with the help of the admission committee.

Happy time in GEOENGINE

The moment was exciting when I first stand in the GEOENGINE ROOM; I got the warm welcome from the old people and got ready for the upcoming student career. Besides the 1 month German class, we had our GEOENGINE classes. The lectures were given by the professors and other working members. They were all kind and patient to our mistakes. The studies were arranged well and I learned both the basics and advanced topics. We also had filed work and many excursions to the companies which gave us more feelings of the industries.

Photogrammetry

You have to keep asking yourself what brought you to Germany. The answer for me is photogrammetry. Back to 2010, China had many companies developing the 3D digital cities. The demos look cool but the models were all made manually. I was wondering if the 3D digital cities can be made from Photogrammetry completely. With such curiosity I came to Germany, and luckily I got a Hiwi job in the Institute of Photogrammetry. I was involved in a project which turns airborne images into the dense point cloud. With a very strong love of it, I spent almost all the leisure time in the 2 years to read papers, understand codes, do experiments and write new codes. My master thesis was also about dense matching which was even helpful. I enjoyed very much during my photogrammetric studies in Germany.

Later on the inspired people in that project even created an IT company called nFrames, and the project had a new name SURE which was keep growing and surviving in the severe competitions. The automated 3D digital city is no longer a dream.

Post GEOENGINE life

After the studies I went back to China due to the family reasons. It was sad to say goodbye to the people there, but the good thing is I still have a very close contact with the nFrames guys and the members in the university. So my photogrammetric careers didn’t really stop there, and the research is still going on. My new interest is the GIS applications of the oblique imagery models. The knowledge from the GEOENGINE also helps me to find the new job in China in the respects of mathematics, programming and also photogrammetry. With an abroad experience for 2 years, I had quite some superiority over the other employees due to the international view and knowledge. I am sure the experience of GEOENGINE will affect my career in the future, at some point, somewhere and sometime.

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Mr. Saleh S. AbuWarda (Palestine)

Mr. Saleh S. AbuWarda

Mr. Saleh S. AbuWarda (Palestine)
GEOENGINE graduation in 2012

Long trip, from civil engineering to Geomatics

In my last days in Germany, after getting my GEOENGINE master degree and working for seven months in a Hiwi job in the ISWA institute, finally I have free time, while I am waiting for my visa to join another university to start my PhD studies, It is good time to remember, evaluate and share my experience with GEOENGINE in Germany.

After four years of work experience, as a civil engineer, it was not easy decision to go for starting my Master studies. Determination was needed to go back to school again, and to suddenly stop my ongoing career. In 2009 I started looking for appropriate master program to join, I found out that the common thing they require and I didn’t have at that time is the English efficiency proof. Thus I wrote the IELTS test, and I believe that the first step when you decide to go for further study is to have such a certificate. Later on I applied for many programs which I found interesting for me, and which I met their requirements. It is important to notice the application dates. It is also important to read the whole available description for the programs and for the modules if applicable.

Why GEOENGINE?

I got four admission letters in three universities in Germany, for different programs. Three of them were for classical civil engineering topics in addition to GEOENGINE, which was a bit far from my bachelor major as civil engineer. At the moment I had the four admissions and I had to decide, I had to find out the best choice. At first glance, going for classical civil engineering topics would be the easiest choice, but as far as I have work experience and I had some idea about the jobs demand, I knew that civil engineering market is almost saturated in most of the countries, but geomatics engineering was a promising field to join since that it have better jobs demand, and it gives me a better chance to have new challenges and learn new things. During my work period in UAE I noticed that most of the associations are moving into computerizing all of their work, thus high demand for GIS work was there. High accurate navigation and positioning systems also were some of the best growing fields there.

GEOENGINE face to face for the first time…

Thinking that I was joining a master program with a topic which almost new for me, and knowing that I have lots of challenges to overcome, made me stressed and worried at my first days in GEOENGINE, but by the time, Ice began to melt, and I started to discover the warm GEOENGINE. I had to revise a lot of my previous studies, and to learn more of new things. Despite the big amount of studying and assignments load, I honestly say that I really had nice time in GEOENGINE. 18 months passed really fast and at the end I got my master degree.

GEOENGINE is done… what is next?

According to my experience in job searching, it is essential to have good skills of German language in order to find a permanent job. Thus if you are looking forward to find a job in Germany you have to but some time during your study period for improving your German language skills. Free of charge courses are available in the university language center. In addition, being in an environment where you are surrounded with people mostly speaking German is giving a good opportunity to improve the German language.

For finding a PhD scholarship, it is important to have a ready research proposal, and to but good effort in searching the internet for available scholarships. For scholarships and PhD positions outside Germany it is essential to have a valid English language proficiency certificate. Mostly the one you entered the Master program with will not be valid any more after you finish it, while usually it is valid only for two years.

I got a PhD position offer to join a research project in Ireland; I had to rewrite the IELTS test in order to complete my documents for that.

With GEOENGINE in few words…

For me, as civil engineer with more than four years of work experience, it was challenging chance to explore a total new field, get good knowledge in a promising field, to find myself better opportunities in both job market and further studies. Spending 25 months in Germany gave good chance to know a lot about the German culture, working system and to successfully finish two levels in German language.

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Ms. Małgorzata Jarząbek-Rychard (Poland)

Mrs. Malgorzata Jarzabek-Rychard

Ms. Małgorzata Jarząbek-Rychard (Poland)
GEOENGINE graduation in 2009

After graduating as an engineer at a Polish university I decided to get academic experience abroad. Choosing GEOENGINE was a continuation of my former studies in Geodesy and Cartography.

Living in a different country and studying in foreign language was demanding at the beginning but soon afterwards it became a natural part of life. Since the second semester of my studies I started to work as a student assistant at the Institute of Navigation. The scope of my job was a LiDAR data processing.

Basing on the gained knowledge and also – the former experiences from my country – I chose to perform my master thesis in a domain of photogrammetry. According to my interests in informatics I wanted to connect the master project with software development. With the aid of the GEOENGINE program coordinator who introduced me to my future supervisor I started to work on my master thesis at the Institute for Photogrammetry. The aim of the project was to create a test-bed software for presentation and segmentation of multiple point clouds. The six months of work in that field gave me a valuable practice in 3D data processing and increased my programming skills.

After finishing my master thesis in April 2009 I have started PhD studies again back in Poland. As I was very satisfied of the choice of the subject for my master project, I decided to stay in that domain and perform PhD in the field of 3D building modeling.

Besides the obvious knowledge benefits, the time spent in Stuttgart was a great opportunity to broaden mind. Living in the foreign country, studying with colleagues coming from different continents, establishing friendships with people who brought up in other cultures - had a great influence on my life attitude. I have never experienced and learned so much in such a short period of time.

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Mr. Jagmal Singh (India)

Mr. Jagmal Singh

Mr. Jagmal Singh (India)
GEOENGINE graduation in 2009

After obtaining my Bachelor of Technology Degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering from Regional Engineering College (now National Institute of Technology), Kurukshetra, India, I started my career with Defence R&D Organization (DRDO), Govt. of India. My stint with DRDO in the field of Satellite Image Processing helped me to define my career goals and generated an affinity towards interesting but challenging field of Geomatics. To understand core concepts underlying every phenomenon of this domain prompted me to think about going for higher studies. And I found GEOENGINE program perfect for me.

But why Germany and why this program? Actually this program was not my first contact with Germany. From Dec. 2005 to April 2006, I was the member of summer team of Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica. We were accompanied by a fleet of two Helicopters with flight crew members from Germany. That was the time when I was planning to go for higher studies and was a little bit confused about which university and country to choose. My experience with flight crew members from Germany was so good that Germany reached on the top of my options for higher studies. So I started searching for programs in the Universities in Germany with good reputation and which should also match my career interests, and I found GEOENGINE program perfect for me.

I was always keen to have a deeper understanding of static and dynamic modeling approaches, coordinate systems & frames and global navigation satellite systems. I got the answers to all my questions here. And what I gained during this period was surely not just technical exposure, but studying and living in an international group enabled me to understand different cultures, which was very interesting indeed and I am sure I will be benefited from this in my professional as well as personal life.

When I was about to finish my second semester, it was the time to decide about the topic for Master Thesis. Due to my prior experience in Synthetic Aperture Radar Image Processing, I was highly interested in continuing in the same domain. With motivation and great support from Prof. Dieter Fritsch (Head of Institute of Photgrammetry at University of Stuttgart) and Dr. Michael Cramer (Course Director, GEOENGINE), I managed to secure a place in the team at DLR (German Aerospace Center) working on processing of TerraSAR-X data. TerraSAR-X is recently launched SAR satellite from Germany, so working on this data during my Master Thesis was a great challenge and I learned a lot during my Thesis which was titled: “ Information Extraction for Classification of TerraSAR-X Images”. After successfully finishing my Thesis and thus Master study also in May 2009, I decided to work on the continuation of same topic. So I made an application for DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Doctoral Fellowship and I was also lucky to get this Fellowship.

Now I am working on my PhD dissertation since July 2009, within the team of Center of Competence at Remote Sensing Technology Institute, DLR, Oberpfaffenhofen, which is a cooperation of DLR (German Aerospace Center), CNES (French Government Space Agency), and Telecom ParisTech in the field of Information Extraction and Image Understanding for Earth Observation.

Without any hesitation, I would like to give the credit of all this to GEOENGINE program. I strongly believe that this program at University of Stuttgart was the most logical extension of my academic pursuits and a major step towards achieving my objectives. I can assure you: if you are fascinated by Statistics, Mathematics, Planetary Motion, GPS, Time & Coordinate Systems, Map Projection, etc., and if you are interested in knowing new cultures by studying with International group of students, then this is the program for you.

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Ms. Yifang GAO (PR China)

Ms. Yifang GAO

Ms. Yifang GAO (PR China)
GEOENGINE graduation in 2008

I’ve already been back to China for some years. But my memories of Stuttgart are still fresh, seems like I never left. So far the life in Stuttgart is the most rewarding experience for me.

Why I choose GEOENGINE? I’d got a bachelor degree in GIS (Geographic Information System) in China in 2004. I didn’t have a plan then after graduation, just simply found a job. But after one-year’s working in an IT company doing GIS related job, I found many deficiencies in my subject. And then I decided to study abroad to get a broader view in this field. I finally chose GEOENGINE after a lot of research in internet and through careful comparison too. Not only because the Geoscience of Stuttgart University has quite good reputation in the world, but also because this international program is supported by well-known and distinguished professors and experts who already gained remarkable and extraordinary achievements in Geoscience. Another reason is that it is taught in English, I don’t need to spend one year or more to learn German. It was a perfect choice for me.

It is said that the start is always tough. When I just arrived in Germany, I have no friend and everything is completely new for me. But it is so considerate of university to provide the “buddy program”, which is a program to let every freshman has a senior student to be his or her contact person and life guide. This really helps me a lot. When I saw that Chinese girl in the train station, suddenly, I didn’t feel lonely and helpless any more. And the “GEOGINE Students’ Welcome” provided by our program is also very helpful. I received a warm welcome party; got to know my new classmates; took a tour around all the institutes, and more important I had a basic understanding how to study and work here.

Two-semester study is very intensive, which benefits me most is the whole exercise system. In China we pay more attention to just learn the theory, and there is little homework after class. But here is totally different. After each single part finished, we got enough exercise to apply the knowledge from former classes, and at the end of some lectures we were given a big one which requires combining all the results before to solve a project. Most of them are really difficult for me. I had to work hard together with my classmates and communicate with lecturers again and again until the problem solved. It was really hard, but the more I did, the more understanding about the knowledge. I learned more by solving problems than just sitting and listening in the lecture room.

My master thesis is about automatic photogrammetric DSM generation and accuracy analysis. The topic was quite new then. Automatic processing of aeroimage is the hot spot of photogrammetry and a lot of research was done these years. It was interesting but also a challenge for me. During the project I did a lot aeroimage processing and precision analyzing of DSMs generated by different models. I also had to cooperate with the software provider, which gave an opportunity to have some idea of how the industry was running of this field. I was not so satisfied with my final thesis, and I always thought I could make it better, but at least I did my best then. And surprisingly for me, finally this thesis also was of interest for national mapping institutions!

Now I’m working as an assistant GIS project manager in China. My interest is in photogrammetry, but there is little position related to that in the job market here. If you ask me how I would think about the time in Stuttgart, the first thing entering my mind is --- tough. Really I still feel lucky now. I actually survived! If you ask me what I learned in Stuttgart, my answer would be the ability to solve the problem independently and work in a team. All that skills make me more confident to face challenges in the future. I would like to thank all my teachers there; your efforts will be always appreciated. Especially I want to thank Dr. Cramer who helped me a lot during the whole study and life in Stuttgart.

If you are interested in Geoscience; if you have firm foundation of mathematics; if you want to know some interesting professors and doctors; if you would like to challenge yourself, I guess, GEOENGINE would be your right choice.

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