Master's Student in Earth Sciences - Ocean Mapping
A native of Moscow City, Russia, Anastasia Abramova came to CCOM/JHC in 2008 as a GEBCO certificate program student. For the summer 2009 cruise portion of the program she was aboard the German icebreaker Polarstern for two months as part of the bathymetry group processing multibeam data and making maps. The ship sailed between Greenland and Svalbard in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea. The cruise marked the end of her GEBCO certificate program, serving as practical training for the courses she had undertaken while at CCOM/JHC.
Of the GEBCO experience Abramova says, “It was really intense, and in spite of the fact that I’d had field experience and operated a multibeam on ships before I came to CCOM, I basically didn’t know much about all the hydrography or all the technical aspects of the field.” She adds, “But after GEBCO I understand how multibeam works and I have a much broader understanding of things because all the coursework seems to intersect – one subject helps you understand another subject.”
Upon completion of the GEBCO program, Abramova returned to Russia and worked back at the Laboratory of Geomorphology and Ocean Floor Tectonics at Geological Institute Russian Academy of Sciences where she is a laboratory assistant – a position she took after graduating from Lomonosov Moscow State University with a Specialist Degree in Geography/Marine Geomorphology.
But in the winter of 2010 she came back to CCOM to pursue her master's in ocean mapping. By doing so she hoped to put together all the fieldwork and technical information she had acquired over the course of a year as a GEBCO student.
“The GEBCO program provided a lot of theory and I think that helped me do the master’s work. And the master’s has helped to settle things in my head and have more practical experience dealing with actual data and interpreting it,” Abramova says.
For her master’s project Abramova has been comparing six publicly available bathymetry grids by ground truthing the grids against multibeam data. She is evaluating differences between the datasets it terms of their accuracy, consistency, reliability, and other issues in order to help end users choose the right grid for their specific needs.
“Most of the time, when people need to have bathymetry in their analysis, they just download it and use it as truth – they don’t have enough information to judge how reliable it is,” she explains. “But the problem is, the people who create these grids don’t provide the information on the quality. I am providing metrics that might be important for the choice of the right grid.” She hopes her analysis will also help lead to overall improvement of the grids.
On a personal note, the GEBCO/CCOM experience and time outside of Russia gave Abramova the opportunity to be “baptized” onboard of RV Polarstern, travel to Peru where she flew over the series of ancient geoglyphs – the Nazca Lines located in the Nazca Desert, cross the Andes to see Lake Titicaca, and travel around U.S. National Parks – Canyonlands and Arches in Utah being her favorite.
“And I got to meet four generations of GEBCO students from all over the globe, learning their cultures, and missing them now,” she says.
All in all, she says, her time at CCOM broadened her way of looking at life in many ways and helped her grow professionally.
“It’s just a been great experience, there are so many people here who are real professionals, and there’s a concentration of people from so many different fields and so much going on.”
- David Sims