''GIMA gives me the opportunity to explore basic techniques before specialising in various theoretical and methodological topics of your own choice.''
My interest in Geographic Information Management can be traced back to my time as a Bachelor’s student in Human Geography. During the thesis project, I utilised geo-information techniques to predict so-called ‘ripple effects’ in Amsterdam’s housing prices. It was clear that the focus of my Master’s programme would be to further explore GIS, but I wasn’t sure which specific field of research I was most interested in.
GIMA gives me the opportunity to explore basic techniques and applications before specialising in various theoretical and methodological topics of your own choice. The freedom and flexibility of this Master’s programme enabled me to find out where my strengths and weaknesses lie.
Moreover, the programme focuses on project management. I am currently working part-time as a project developer for large-scale solar fields. My long-term goal is either to become a project manager or establish my own business. GIMA’s scientific and practical approach will help considerably.
''GIMA has a distance-learning programme, which enables me to live wherever I like.''
GIMA caught my eye because it focusses on both the application and management sides of geo-information and it is taught at four universities. The study is therefore quite broad, which I like. GIMA consists of a variety of modules, in which you can often choose your field of interest. While working on your thesis or internship it is possible to develop these interests even further. This means you can shape your studies partially yourself, which to me means I can find out which subjects interest me most and develop my knowledge on these subjects.
GIMA has a distance-learning programme, which enables me to live wherever I like. I live in Groningen (NL), where I did my Bachelor’s degree and where many of my friends are settled. Here I’m also able to work together with some fellow students who live there too. When I work with students living in other places, it is easy to get in contact with them by using email, WhatsApp, Skype, and the like. Although you won’t see your fellow students face-to-face daily, the contact weeks give you opportunities to get to know them. Besides attending lectures, many fun and educational activities are organised for the students. This helps you to get in contact with your fellow students, and also gives you the opportunity to explore your host city.
At the moment there is a great demand for geo information. The GIS field is still growing and therefore there are great job opportunities, which I find a pleasant prospect!
''GIMA was a perfect fit for me, because I could still work on topics related to Human Geography while applying new technical tools.''
I started at Utrecht University as a Bachelor’s student of Human Geography and Urban Planning. I did two GIS courses and had five months of work experience at a GIS company during the Bachelor’s programme and this made the transfer to my Master’s gradual and smooth.
I find Human Geography interesting because of the wide range in societal topics. However, I wanted a more practical approach to societal problem solving. GIMA was a perfect fit for me, because I could still work on topics related to Human Geography while applying new technical tools. Cartography and other means of data visualisation are one of my favourite aspects of working with location data. I enjoy the challenge of displaying larger quantities of dense information to the end user in as effective a way as possible.
What I would suggest when choosing a Master’s is to pick one based around the knowledge you would most like to acquire. That said, do not hesitate to start the GIMA programme even if you have little experience in a field related to the Geosciences . One of the fun things about GIMA is that GIS can be used in various industries, which makes it a choice which should be of interest to a wide range of students.
''GIMA seemed to be the perfect combination of geography and technical aspects.''
I did the Bachelor’s in Human Geography and Spatial Planning, which made it easy to get into GIMA. I enjoyed geography, but sometimes missed more technical aspects. GIMA seemed to be the perfect combination of these two.
During the first year I was not always sure I made the right decision, because I found it difficult being enrolled on a distance-learning programme. I missed both interaction with teachers and fellow students. In the second year, however, this was no longer the case, thanks to my supervisor being really involved. I am very glad for everything that this programme taught me. This Master’s is the perfect example of ‘hard work does pay off’. It is not always easy, but the knowledge and insights you gain from it are worth it. Nevertheless, as a new student you should know that this is a ‘blended learning’ programme, which is rather different from a Bachelor’s and provides less interaction with teachers and students.
What I love about the job that I got after doing the GIMA Master’s is that none of the assignments or tasks are ever the same and the variety of client questions I have to answer is enormous. You won’t be easily bored by it!
''For GIMA you need loads of self-discipline.''
Before choosing GIMA, I did a Bachelor’s in Sociology at Utrecht University and an additional minor in Human Geography and some GIS courses. Both the minor and GIS courses helped get me onto the GIMA Master’s programme. So you don’t need to choose a Master’s that fits in perfectly as a follow-on after your Bachelor’s. Talk to a staff member and they will tell you about electives that will help you to get onto your preferred Master’s programme.
GIMA is intensive and it can be a lot of work. This means you need loads of self-discipline. If you get stuck on a certain assignment, you need to continue working to find a solution. If you do this, the Master’s is great and provides lots of opportunities. It is a useful programme and can be applied in many fields, which will give you the opportunity to work for an organisation that is committed to an issue that you are interested in.