Mini conference showcases leading student research

November 12th, 2019, Published in Articles: PositionIT

The University of Pretoria’s Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology recently held its annual mini-conference to showcase the work of its Masters and PhD students.

Prof. Gertrud Schaab, a visiting lecturer from Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, Germany, opened the presentations by showing her final year students’ projects. She tasked her students to come up with infographics and cartographic designs to communicate different aspects of the 2011 Census. Reviewing their project outputs with the audience she showed which cartographic techniques and information illustrations were most effective. This teaching approach received good feedback from those in attendance, especially since cartography is longer part of most geospatial courses in South Africa.

Mike Loubser explaining how different ultrasonic transponders affected his rock weathering measurements.

Several MSc and PhD presentations followed. In particular, Mike Loubser’s presentation on the quantification of equipment bias in ultrasonic pulse velocity measurements drew great interest. Loubser discussed the difficulties in studying rock weathering, given the how long such weathering takes and the molecular scale at which it happens. He therefore focused on studying proxy variables to determine the relationship between climate and rock properties. To do this he measured weathering on tomb stones using in ultrasonic pulse velocity measurements, and explained how different transponders rendered different results, what this meant for the study, and how he is working to standardise his data collection process.

Other presentations on the day covered topics ranging from particulate matter (PM) concentrations estimations from a meteorological index to investigating water leakages and costs through the implementation of an economic model.

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