Alumni profile - Kate Fairlie

Kate FairlieBE Hons Surveying and Spatial Information Systems 2008
Geoinformation Analyst, Shell

Surveying and Spatial Information Systems graduate Kate Fairlie is helping energy giant Shell find oil and gas in the cold seas off the coast of Scotland.

As a Geoinformation Analyst, Kate, 22, assesses data from formations under the sea for petroleum exploration. The information is also used to restore the sea floor after drilling has finished. Surveying and Spatial Information Systems is a truly international discipline: Kate, originally from Mildura in Victoria, travelled to Sweden and worked with Shell for her internship during university and then accepted her job in Scotland before graduation. The skills a surveyor develops at university can be used anywhere in the world.

“There are limits to where an engineering degree can take you but these consist of only yourself and your own initiative,” Kate says. Surveying and Spatial Information Systems covers every aspect of mapping and analyzing the surface of the planet and the built environment. It employs satellites, aircraft-mounted remote sensing equipment and ground-based devices. This rapidly growing field also covers the development of new-generation GPS devices, satellite navigation and imaging systems. As demand grows for GPS-enabled mobile devices, for example, Surveying and Spatial Information Systems engineers will be the ones to develop the interactive, intelligent mapping technology that will make them work.