A Summer at Blue Raster: Internship Edition

As a summer intern at Blue Raster, I was given the opportunity to contribute to a multitude of projects. I was able to explore customizations of basemaps and manipulation of satellite data, work hands-on with 3D buildings in ArcGIS Pro, and contribute to a variety of other GIS work.

One such project, in conjunction with MIT Media Lab’s Space Enabled Research Group, aimed to track the growth and spread of aquatic surface vegetation. Focused on the Lake Nokoue region of Benin in West Africa, the goal of the collaborative project was to create a method of identifying the growth of water hyacinth in the lake and its tributary rivers for remediation purposes.

Intern work on GEE Lake Nokoue

I, along with several interns at Space Enabled, used Google Earth Engine (GEE), which provides immense processing power using Google’s server infrastructure, to access and manipulate several satellite data sources such as Landsat8 and Sentinel2. With additional support from the Blue Raster team, we were able to create a script for GEE’s Python API that scanned for changes in reflectance in Landsat8 and Sentinel2 and helps to track growth trends of the water hyacinth for future ground truthing trips by the MIT Media Lab Space Enabled team. We are exploring the use of Esri ArcGIS ImageServer for analysis for future work in this space.

Intern work on GEE classification

Throughout the summer, I also had the opportunity to work extensively with 3D data in ArcGIS Pro. In our work supporting a global Commercial Real Estate firm, we innovated with 3D to deliver a new suite of tools. Using a special data package created by Esri for City/Local Government GIS, I was able to create stacking plans of building floors to be implemented as a 3D layer along with full 3D models of the corresponding buildings in an ArcGIS Online Webscene.

Intern work on Floor stackingIntern work on 3D Buildings

During the summer, I learned a tremendous amount about ArcGIS Pro and 3D data. The opportunity to learn the functionalities and intricacies of ArcGIS Pro, particularly in a real-world setting, is not something offered through my university coursework. Working interactively with Blue Raster to troubleshoot and solve 3D issues in a quick paced environment provided valuable insight.

Overall, my time as an Intern at Blue Raster and the lessons I have taken away have helped to further my understanding of what a possible career in GIS has to offer. I feel that the projects I was able to contribute to will have a genuine impact. Having the opportunity to assist in their creation was an experience that will last a lifetime. I am excited to continue supporting Blue Raster as I return to Penn State.