Open MSc position

Posting date: April 2016

Monitoring deforestation caused by palm oil production using satellite remote sensing


A MSc position is available at the Department of Geomatics Sciences of Laval University, which offers the opportunity to explore the use of Google Earth Engine for detecting deforestation caused by palm oil plantations in Indonesia. The main goal of the project is to develop an automated satellite remote sensing-based detection system able to generate alerts when palm oil production fields are settled in locations previously occupied by forest. The project is carried out in collaboration with a private sector partner and benefits from a unique geospatial database on palm oil producers.

This MSc project is part of a larger research project funded by NSERC in which one other MSc student and one research assistant participate. The MSc project will contribute to this research framework with algorithmic tool development under Google Earth Engine and validation of deforestation alerts against actual deforestation cases retrieved from the partner’s geospatial database. The successful candidate will thus join a collaborative group conducting research in applied remote sensing.


We are searching for a highly motivated student with a BSc in geomatics, environmental sciences, forestry, physical geography, or any related field. There is no field work currently planned as part of this project. The candidate should have good communication skills, a strong work ethic, and work well in a collaborative research environment. Knowledge of computer programming, basic GIS and remote sensing principles and image processing techniques is preferred. Experience with handling large datasets is a merit.

Working Environment

Laval University is North America’s first French-language university, nearly all lectures and interactions are in French, students must therefore be sufficiently comfortable with the language (language development courses are offered). Graduate students have the option of writing their master’s or doctoral theses in English.

Start Date

The position start date is flexible but is anticipated to be between August 2016 and January 2017.


Full funding is available for 2 years

How to apply

Students interested in this position should send a statement of interest outlining relevant qualifications, an unofficial transcript and a CV to Prof Martin Béland.
Review of candidates will start May 9th and will continue until a suitable candidate has been identified.