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Prof Adriaan van Niekerk
October 25, 2022 @ 17:3018:30
Data Science: Opportunity or threat?
Data science is the fastest-growing profession worldwide. This growth has been fuelled by the massive volumes of data created daily and the growing need for skilled people to make sense of and draw conclusions from it. To meet this growing demand, an increasing number of universities, including Stellenbosch University, are offering courses in data science and machine learning. In this lecture I consider data science from a geospatial science perspective by first comparing how the two disciplines have developed in parallel over the last six decades and then by providing some examples of how I have made use of machine learning in my own research. I conclude by reflecting on the opportunities and risks that machine learning holds for science in general and geospatial science in particular.
Adriaan van Niekerk is the director of the Centre for Geographical Analysis and a professor in Geography and Environmental Studies at Stellenbosch University. His academic focus is on the application and development of geographical information systems and remote sensing (Earth observation) techniques to support decisions concerned with land use, bio-geographical, environmental, agricultural, water and socio-economic problems. Much of his resent work has been on the use of expert systems and machine learning for effectively extracting useful (actionable) information from large volumes of remotely sensed imagery, particularly for applications in agriculture and forestry.