Wednesday, September 12, 2012

[DMANET] PhD position at the Delft University of Technology

A PhD position is available at the GIS Technology group at the Delft University of Technology.

Simplification of digital terrain models using three-dimensional methods

New technologies such as laser-scanners permit us to collect millions, and even billions, of elevation points for a given area. An example is the AHN dataset in the Netherlands: every square meter contains at least 4 samples, which yields a 200-billion points dataset. While such a digital terrain model (DTM), representing the surface of the Earth, provides great precision about the morphology of an area, computers have problems dealing with such big datasets: they often cannot efficiently display all the information, storing it efficiently is problematic, and processing it can be painfully slow. One solution to this problem is to simplify/generalise DTMs. Most research to date reduces a DTM to a 2D object in order to simplify it. In this way, however, possible valuable information will be lost.

The aim of the project is to develop new simplification algorithms that treat a DTM as a 3D object and permit us to identify and focus on the important features of an area (valleys, peaks and ridges). Techniques from different disciplines related to GIS will be used, for instance computational geometry (the Voronoi diagram and the 3D skeleton) and geomorphology (surface networks). The project includes a theoretical part (design of algorithms and data structures) and a development part where a prototype will be built and tested with real-world data.

The project will take place in the GIS technology group under the supervision of Dr Hugo Ledoux. It is fully funded by the Dutch Technology Foundation (STW), and a few companies will be involved by providing datasets and support.

The GIS technology group

The GIS technology group at the Delft University of Technology carries out research on the technologies behind geographical information systems, and aims at designing, developing and implementing better systems. It is a multidisciplinary group of around 20 people, including computer scientists, geomatics engineers, and geographers. All these people work together on the different aspects of GIS: data models and data structures, design and implementation of algorithms, and geo-DBMS. These are applied to model 3D cities and buildings, keep people safe in case of disasters, manage cadastral and topographical maps, etc. The group has a history of successful collaborations with the industry, which have led to the availability of better tools for the management of geographic information.

Doing a PhD at TU Delft

At the Delft University of Technology, a PhD student is a full-time employee of the university who gets paid a salary, no extra funding is necessary. The gross salary is €2042 per month for the 1st year, going up to €2612 during the 4th year. TU Delft also offers an attractive benefits package, including a flexible work week, free high-speed Internet access from home, and the option of assembling a customised compensation and benefits package. More information about doing a PhD in the Netherlands can be found here.

Job requirements

Applicants should hold an MSc degree (or almost completed) in geoinformatics/geomatics, computer science, applied mathematics, or in a related discipline. They are expected to have good programming skills, a good command of English (oral and written) and strong interest in 3D modelling and/or computational geometry. Prior experience with GIS is highly desirable.

How to apply

To apply, please submit:
- a detailed CV and a letter of application,
- the name of two referees,
- copies of BSc/MSc diplomas and grades obtained,
- proof of English competencies (if applicable)
- MSc thesis or any publications you have authored (a URL to a PDF is fine).

The deadline to apply is October 15th 2012. Please e-mail your application materials Mrs. Celia Moualed, When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number OTB12010.

For more information about this position, please contact directly Hugo Ledoux (+31 15 27 86114,
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