Earth Observation Scientist - Belfast

We are an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists offering a broad range of professional services. Through our work, we make a positive difference in the world.

Our West sub-region (Belfast, Cardiff, Bristol and Winchester) employs upwards of 700 people in a multitude of different disciplines with approximately 15-20% of these being employed within Consulting disciplines across planning, environment, water, project management and energy.


This is an opportunity for a Remote Sensing Scientist to join our successful, growing ecology team in the West to work initially on a project delivering habitat mapping through earth observation data.

You will work as part of a wider ecology team and also work closely with our digital insight team in a truly integrated and multi-disciplinary way. We work seamlessly across Northern Ireland, South West England and Wales and collaborate with our colleagues across the UK and internationally.

You will be based in Arup's Belfast office primarily with trips to other offices in the UK and Ireland as required to further develop the role. As an employee owned business, Arup is able to offer unique professional development opportunities and a highly competitive employee package.

We expect specialist input via this post primarily to our ecology team in Belfast but also potentially across our four West offices and throughout the UK and Ireland. As an ambitious, remote sensing scientist you will be given the support to fulfil the immediate responsibilities of the role as well as the opportunity to input to identifying and pursuing business development opportunities locally and globally. This is an opportunity to join a highly motivated and ambitious team with the support to develop new business as well as the continuing delivery of genuinely interesting and challenging projects.


  • Collaborate with GIS and IT professionals to coordinate work and resolve technical issues associated with hardware and software resources
  • Maintain current knowledge on latest developments in theory and application of EO technologies and implement and provide training to staff where required
  • Develop and build databases for remote sensing and related geo-spatial project information
  • Attend meetings or seminars and read current literature to maintain knowledge of developments in the field of remote sensing
  • Prepare and deliver reports and presentations of geo-spatial project information
  • Discuss project goals, equipment requirements, and methodologies with colleagues and team members
  • Integrate other geo-spatial data sources into projects
  • Organize and maintain geo-spatial data and associated documentation
  • Design and implement strategies for collection, analysis, or display of geographic data
  • Participate in fieldwork as required
  • Collect supporting data, such as climatic and field survey data, to corroborate remote-sensing data analyses
  • Direct all activity associated with implementation, operation, or enhancement of remote-sensing hardware or software
  • Compile and format image data to increase its usefulness
  • Other duties as assigned

Requirements and skills

Essential Skills and Knowledge

This role will be suitable for an individual with the below skills and experience:

  • Advanced degree in a relevant discipline (such as GIS; Satellite Imagery; Natural Resource Conservation/Ecology)
  • You should typically have around 3-5 years experience in this field, with an aspiration to apply technical skills in emerging fields
  • Ability to program scripts to automate EO/GIS processes (preferably in Python, R, C++ or other)
  • An understanding and experience of machine classifier algorithms (e.g. random forest);
  • Able to identify ground truthing sites for mapping habitats
  • Experience of working with satellite imagery e.g. from Landsat-8, Sentinel-2
  • Ability to search archives for appropriate data and have a knowledge of satellite image pre-processing tasks such as geo-rectification, atmospheric correction, and classification tasks such as accuracy assessment
  • Experience using imagery analysis and classification software and techniques (e.g. Erdas, ENVI, Ecognition, Gamma Remote Sensing)
  • Problem solving ability to compile, organize, and present relevant spatial data, interpretation and conclusions relevant to addressing ecology, habitat and landscape management issues;
  • Strong team-working skills
  • A planned and organised approach to work and meeting deadlines
  • Ability to use own initiative / be proactive / work independently with minimum supervision
  • Excellent verbal and written communication and proven ability to write clear and concise reports
  • Ability to be flexible to the needs of the business, and changes to project plans
  • Highly motivated and willing to take on new challenges
  • Ability to flex skills and approach across a wide range of project types

Desirable Skills and Knowledge

  • Experience defining relationships between biological data, spatial representation and designing GIS databases to use for wildlife planning, ecosystem modeling, landscape ecology, biodiversity studies, and sensitivity analysis

Shape your time with us

We are keen to support flexible and part-time working wherever the role allows. If you wish to explore the possibilities associated with this opportunity, please let us know what you're looking for in your cover letter when you apply.

Reward and Benefits

We offer a competitive salary at all levels, and one of the best benefits package in our sector.

Core benefits include cover under the UK Healthcare Plan (private medical insurance), Life Assurance, Accident Insurance, and Income Protection (long term disability) cover. Core benefits are funded by us and made available to all permanent staff in order to support and safeguard your financial, physical and mental wellbeing. You will also have access to a grade-related Flexible Benefits Fund which you can choose to take as extra cash, or spend on a wide range of Choice Benefits to help with your work/life balance and financial security.

In addition all permanent employees are eligible for the Global Profit Share scheme. Subject to scheme rules employees can receive two Profit Share payments per year, which are dependent on the firm's financial performance.

published: 31 May 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.