Ronny Rowe - Geospatial student profile

Ronny is undertaking a MSc in GIS at the University of Otago

Geospatial graduate Ronny Rowe standing in front of snowy mountains
  • Qualification and GIS component studying for: MSc in GIS
  • Tertiary Institute: University of Otago

What Year 13 school subjects did you take?

Geography, Statistics, Calculus, Physics, Chemistry

What secondary school did you attend?

Shirley Boys’ High School, Christchurch

Why have you chosen to study GIS?

GIS was incorporated into the curriculum of by BSc in Geography in the 200 level Geography courses that I did at the University of Canterbury. I have always found Geography to be an interesting subject and one that I was able to perform well in since high school. Naturally, this led me to continue taking GIS courses through my undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

How important is GIS for your future career options, and why?

In the future I hope to be an academic researcher for developing cognitively inspired geospatial interface designs that aim to enhance the way people carry out spatial analysis and make spatial decisions both within and outside of the workplace. Consequently, understanding what GIS is, its origins, and where it is going in the future is very important for my future career prospects.

How has studying GIS shaped your career goals?

There is evidence of a symbiotic relationship between exposure to GIS courses and their effects on spatial thinking and the development of a person’s spatial cognition in general. For me this type of transfer learning had a fundamental impact on guiding me towards pursuing geospatial sciences in addition to related research in cognitive science. This ultimately culminated in the ideas that informed my master’s thesis, and set up my career goals to unify the geospatial and cognitive sciences through catered user interface designs.

What advice would you give to future students considering adding a GIS component to their studies?

A GIS course is beneficial to any STEM degree because it shows how spatial data science is a prominent aspect of daily life and how it is practically used to understand the natural and built environment. I would also stress that the sphere of GIS is more than what you may be exposed to in introductory courses. It is an amalgamation of geography, computer science, information science, and interface engineering that emphasises effective ways of storing data in addition to analysing and visualising complex events in both real and abstract spaces. Taking a GIS course provides you with invaluable skills across all of these fields and has a profound impact on the way you perceive the world.

You applied successfully for a Toitū Te Whenua LINZ external tertiary GIS scholarship. What difference has this made to you and your GIS study courses?

Having a Toitū Te Whenua tertiary GIS scholarship has been hugely beneficial for me both academically and financially. During study it motivates you to focus on your work, while after study the scholarship allows you to develop your academic skills and provides a platform to promote yourself and your research interests.