Data analysis and exploration

A spatial approach

I have a professional background in and passion for biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in natural and agricultural systems. My personal quest is thereby to develop a better understanding of our natural environment and how this may change under human influences. It is the kind of understanding we need to better target and prioritize development and conservation intervention options.

Agricultural research, development projects, conservation prioritization; it all has a spatial component. In geographic information system (GIS) analysis, a crucial step is to link knowledge to location. This has in fact been at the core of much that I have done during my career, from identifying the local distribution of tree species in concession areas of commercial timber companies in the Amazon, to mapping forest genetic resources across regions in Syria, Lebanon, Brasil and Argentina. And from estimating the livestock water productivity in the Nile basin to modeling the distribution of plant species and vegetation units in eastern Africa.

Spatial thinking and data analysis are important skills for our students at the Geo Media and Design program at the University of Applied Sciences geographic. We teach our students to utilize these skills, in combination with design and technical skills, to tackle a wide range of societal and environmental issues. Topics I teach include data handling and analysis, spatial interpolation, multicriteria decision analysis and biodiversity, amongst others.

ibm logo

With our biodiversity under more pressure than ever before, there is an urgent need for better and more effective monitor programs. The lectorate Innovative Bio-monitoring, led by Margje Voeten, aims to apply innovative bio-monitoring techniques to concrete social issues, to validate them and to develop them further. As member of the research group , I focus on how we can combine these innovative techniques and spatial analysis and modeling approaches to take stock of our biodiversity, measure losses and monitor the effects of intervention.