InSAR Scientist

"I work in a small team, which I think is great because it allows me to see projects through from start to finish."

MESci, University of Liverpool

At A level, I took Geography, Physics and Maths, which I enjoyed but I did not know how I wanted to apply those skills and interests going forward. I took a gap year to give myself some time to research my options and I came across Geophysics. It was not something I had heard of before but combining Geo and Physics seemed cool!

At university, I completed an integrated masters in Geology and Geophysics. It was a fantastic experience and the subject combination for me was perfect. Geology and Geophysics are obviously both Earth sciences but they develop quite different yet complementary skills.

I initially heard about CGG through friends who were applying, careers fairs and from having some understanding of where a geophysics career could take me. I think the consensus was that it was a top tier employer and would be an excellent first step into the world of work and with that, I knew it was somewhere I wanted to apply.

I was using LinkedIn while at university and saw some of my connections get jobs at CGG. One of them shared an advert for a CGG Satellite Mapping seminar series held in London and open to all. It was primarily aimed at clients and the remote sensing community to showcase the capabilities of CGG Satellite Mapping - I think I was the only student to attend but found all the presentations very interesting and accessible! I made a point of talking to some of the speakers in the networking session afterwards and met the manager of the InSAR team. This was a major factor in how I landed a job as an InSAR Scientist a month later as the hiring team already knew me when my CV came across their desk.

My job involves processing satellite radar data to measure ground deformation with milimetric precision from all over the world! Typical examples of applications include tunnelling projects, mining and oil & gas to name a few. Although in my degree, I did not gain much remote sensing experience, the subjects gave me a good grounding in earth science and the core skills can be transferred, for example, an appreciation for the big picture that I got from Geology, and data processing and coding skills from Geophysics.

I work in a small team, which I think is great because it allows me to see projects through from start to finish. This includes initial enquiry from a client, creating a project proposal, data processing, analysing in GIS and reporting on the results. The pictures below give examples of the data I work with. The rainbow image on the left is a ‘wrapped’ interferogram; this is a comparison of radar phase between two dates surrounding an earthquake in California. The image on the right shows the velocity map of a dam at a mine in Australia, post collapse.

Within my role, I have had opportunities to present to, and collaborate with, major mining and oil & gas clients on projects and initiatives across the world as well as across CGG business lines. I contribute to some of CGG’s new ventures, placing me at the cutting edge of what CGG has to offer and allowing me to make new connections across CGG globally. I love the variety of the work I undertake whether it be highly technical satellite remote sensing processing or creatively solving clients’ problems. There is the flexibility to get involved in a variety of complementary CGG roles that interest you and you can develop your career over time to reflect that.

I joined CGG Satellite Mapping 6 months before the pandemic took hold in the UK. This gave me some time to establish myself and make some connections within the CGG Satellite Mapping family. Even during the quarantines and close to a year of remote working, we still manage to get together for a chat, play games and have a laugh online so we have managed to maintain a sense of community. CGG has regional social committees that run and promote activities for employees and their families. These are a great way of meeting your colleagues outside of work and having a go at something new like curling. During the pandemic, activities have been harder to arrange and socials such as quizzes, multiplayer computer games, guided work-out, cooking and art sessions and soon, the xmas party are all being held online, so we’re not totally missing out.