EO Detective ID PL6-1202-AL-d0p19

What do you work on?

My job is to deal with the management and marketing of Pixalytics, and part of this is the promotion of remote sensing and EO data. Each week, I deal with accounts, write a weekly remote sensing blog, do social media promotion and produce a variety of supporting EO images.
One of the most interesting things I’ve done is co-author a book called Practical Handbook of Remote Sensing, which teaches people who have no experience in this area to find, download, process and use satellite data. The picture is from at our book launch event at the Plymouth Athenaeum in February 2016.

Image courtesy of Pixalytics

It’s not just scientists who should think about a career the space industry: it’s an industry like any other and needs its fair share of creatives, marketers, accountants and writers.

How did you come to be an EO Detective?

I took a long and winding road towards becoming an EO Detective. I left education at 22 after completing a degree in maritime business and law with marine computer applications, and then embarked on a 15-year career working in IT in the National Health Service. In 2008, after leaving the NHS, I took a master’s degree in creative writing. It was only when Pixalytics was set up that my EO experience really began. I started by only doing the accounts for the company, but EO has continually seeped into my job until now it is part of what I do every day.

What do the images show?

I created both of these images from Landsat data.

Data from USGS/NASA

The first is of Uluru in Australia, and it was the first remote sensing image I personally created! It was used as the basis of an exercise in our book.

Image created by Pixalytics using Landsat data from USGS/NASA

The image of south-west England, where we live, is one I use a lot for the promotion and marketing of both Pixalytics and EO.

How is the data you use collected and used?

I try to use data that is freely available such as that collected by instruments on the Landsat and Sentinel satellites. This means that anyone can download images of the Earth and use them to investigate their neighbourhood and local area. It is really exciting to see how places have changed over time by looking at images from different years.
The images I produce are often used as part of a blog, in a Tweet or alongside a Facebook status update to help promote or market Pixalytics.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I work for a very small company with only a couple of employees. This means you never quite know what you might be doing from one day to the next, as you never know who might get in touch or what they might want to do. I have to do whatever is needed, and the variety makes work enjoyable.

Tell us about your favourite image of the Earth from space

This is a Landsat 8 image of the Eye of the Sahara (also known as the Richat structure or Guelb er Richat). It is a forty-kilometre wide series of concentric rings of rocks of different ages, in Mauritania. It’s inspiring because it is only from height that you can fully see the feature, whilst on the Earth you could walk through it and not see it. It shows why remote sensing can show you the world in a new light.

What do you do in your spare time?

I write short stories and poetry, and even occasionally perform my work to an audience!