Please tell us about yourself

Currently in the midst of her 6-month internship at Intergraph, one of the foremost global giants in the field, Nissi is all set to complete her Masters in Geoinformatics from TERI University this year. She is intent on converting this internship into a PPO (Pre-Placement Offer).

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How do you explain Geoinformatics to a layman?

It’s a question that naturally comes to mind when you are talking to someone studying for her Master’s degree in Geoinformatics at TERI University. Not many have been able to put the answer as simply and lucidly as Nissi A Varghese.

“Have you ever wondered how a government tracks all the vehicles in a country?” she quizzes you back. “Ever wondered how a criminal investigation department visualizes and analyses the crime incidence pattern? Or how our government tracks and manages water resources, drainage network… even the receding of glaciers? Ever wondered who makes the maps you use for reaching from one location to the other? Or why governments across the globe spend billions of dollars in launching a satellite? Ever wondered how our meteorologists forecast weather?”

Nissi goes on to enlist a number of applications of Geoinformatics – from E-governance to decision support, from health to Disaster management; oceanography and identifying potential fish zones to pollution control monitoring. After seeing this impressive list, you can’t help but marvel at the scope of Geoinformatics, and the grasp on the subject that Nissi displays.

 Tell us about your internship

“Intergraph has a wonderful working environment,” she says. “The fact that we are working on a National GIS project, which is a government project, is the icing on the cake. For this project, we have been given training first and then we were deputed at National Informatics Center under senior scientists.”

Nissi’s excitement about being a part of a dynamic workplace is understandable. She is actively engaged in “National GIS project – National GIS Web Portal”. In this capacity, she applies modern tools of the RS GIS technique with an updated version of IP/GIS softwares for Orthorectification/ Orthocorrection, Autosync, Imagine objective for seamless data generation and automated feature extraction.

“Managing and updating the spatial satellite database for all of the states in India is an immensely challenging task,” confesses Nissi Varghese. “To start with, I had a lot of bookish knowledge and a series of practical experiences and case studies from my teachers at the TERI University. But upon coming to Intergraph, there were lot of new things to be done on my own. This was difficult at the beginning, and we had to do our own R&D. Being from TERI University – which has a formidable reputation for well known reasons – expectations were quite high and I am happy that I could live up to them.”

How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?

While environmental conservation has always been a subject of interest to Nissi, it was during her BSc in Environmental Sciences from Baroda University that she developed an interest in GIS and Remote Sensing. She became so involved in the subject that she wanted to master the subject.

“Through my professors in college, I got to know about TERI University, and, thanks to my father’s support, I packed my bags from Vadodara, Gujarat, and got onto a train to New Delhi to pursue my passion and make a career of it,” she explains. It’s been a little over a year since Nissi made that decision, and she believes it to be the most fruitful decision of her life.

How was your experience at TERI?

“TERI University has a truly international presence,” she proudly boasts. “There is no other university in India akin to it. Perhaps the most obvious opportunities lie in its academic rigour – a world-class combination of researchers, professors, students and facilities. This has helped me be at the cutting edge of my chosen discipline. But TERI University’s strength also lies with its 700 odd students, each studying a highly specialised discipline.”

TERI U has a student exchange program with the best universities across the world, and sports activities under the TERI Sports club are immense. But for Nissi Varghese, the opportunity for students to present their views and thoughts in great detail is what actually makes TERI University the best research institute in the country.