Natalie joined TCarta’s team this spring as a part-time member of the NOAA SBIR Phase II Grant program focusing on Satellite-based solutions for Alaska and the Arctic. Her passion for her home state of Alaska and for GIS, mapping and Esri tools are a wonderful match for TCarta’s mission, vision and strategic plan and for the environmental challenges at play in these regions and around the world. Now a full-time satellite derived bathymetrist for TCarta with a specialization in Alaska, Natalie represented TCarta just last month at the 2022 Alaska Coastal and Ocean Mapping Summit.
Learn more about Natalie from her responses to our Staff Q&A:
Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A marine biologist focused in bioluminescence!
Q: How do you describe your professional role to people who don’t know anything about it?
A: TCarta is a mapping company that focuses on nearshore coastal waters using remote sensing techniques. Most days I am working on Satellite Derived Bathymetry, which is a process where you can determine the depths of the seafloor along the coastline using satellite LiDAR and Imagery. If they are at all curious, I then explain by saying – think about the pixels in an image – if we know the depth in red pixels is five meters and the depths in the green pixels is seven, then we can assume that the depth in the yellow pixels is 6 meters. If they are not familiar with LiDAR and it’s a friendly interaction, I introduce it as a giant space cat with laser eyes that can tell the height of things by bouncing the lasers off of the earth!
Q: Tell me something about how you came to work at TCarta?
A: I watched a presentation that a former TCartan gave at an Esri conference when I was doing research for my thesis. I remember sharing with a few people close to me that TCarta is doing something really cool and I should try to work with them after I finished school!
Q: What do you love about your work?
A: It feels like I get to hop around the world every day! I am discovering the world’s oceans every day – and am often the first person to conduct SDB in those regions! I am a modern day explorer – discovering old places with new technology!
Q: What software or tool makes the most difference in your day-to-day assignments?
A: The Trident Tools are my bread and butter – but if I had to pick a favorite script – it would be the irregular composite script that can combine several images with irregular overlap. It’s always a joy seeing how the input images blend together and I enjoy refining the composites to find the best image for SDB!
Q: What industry or subject-matter resource or publication do you recommend?
A: The remote sensing journal is top notch!
Q: What is the most relevant real-world application of TCarta’s and/or your work?
A: I feel that our work becomes as ‘real-world’ as it gets when clients like Seabed 2030 use the data we produced in the Seychelles and Saya De Malha for navigation and for planning their charting efforts.
Q: What’s your current favorite hobby / past-time?
A: Backcountry skiing!
Q: What country or region do you hope to explore next in travel?
A: I would like to spend more time exploring Iceland and Greenland!
Q: What is one of the coolest things you’ve seen or visualized in your work at TCarta?
A: Using the pure file magic software (https://pfmabe.software/), it’s really amazing to see our seafloor models in a 3D point cloud.
Q: Who inspires you or is a professional role model of yours?
A: My favorite contemporary cartographer is John Nelson, an ESRI basemap engineer who spends his free time making artistic maps and youtube tutorials of creative things that can be done with GIS. I also am inspired by Kate Berg, a GIS officer for the State of Michigan who runs Pokateo_ a GIS based meme account. In the SDB world, I have looked up to Chris Ilori since I began my research into SDB and I find it so cool that we are co-workers now!
Before joining TCarta, Natalie was Esri Innovation Program’s 2022 Student of the Year! We are fortunate to have Natalie join our team every day from Alaska, bringing her passion for geospatial, hydrospatial and remote sensing to modern-day environmental issues.
Other recent resources Natalie has shared with TCarta’s team: