Elena Field from University of St Andrews was highly commended in 2015 in the Earth & Environmental Sciences category for her paper titled “A comparison of object-based vs pixel-based classification methods for geological mapping”
After the Undergraduate Awards Elena completed a Masters in Geoinformation Technology and Cartography at the University of Glasgow to better understand the complex mathematics and technical aspects that underpin the science of map-making. She graduated in 2016 with Distinction, producing a thesis examining how remote sensing can be a key tool for monitoring thermokarst lake dynamics and permafrost degradation in arctic regions over time.
Elena’s undergraduate research was published in the journal Remote Sensing, expanding on the potential for object-base image analysis as a useful method for geological surveys in remote areas.
She is currently living in Cambridge, UK, where she works for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Mapping and GIS Team as a GIS Officer. This involves creating maps for the operations and logistics involved with sending people to one of the harshest environments on Earth, as well as providing geospatial support to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This role has allowed her to really understand the practical applications of cartography, provided an opportunity further develop her web-mapping skills and has taken her to some exciting places!
Elena has just returned from a 7-week deployment to Antarctica. Based at Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula, she was there to provide geospatial support to BAS Antarctic operations.
“As a cartographer it was a chance of a lifetime to go to one of the least-understood places on Earth. On one research trip we even landed a Twin Otter in an area where no-one has set foot before!”
While there she worked closely with communications officers, pilots, scientists, field guides and many others who contribute to making the Antarctic scientific season a success. This was an absolutely fantastic experience – she camped in Pyramid tents, carried out sea ice observations as from a Twin Otter Aircraft and learned how to take accurate Meteorological observations for aircraft.
“This was a fantastic experience and I hope to go back one day!”