Here is an inspiring interview with leading expert in Geographical Information System and Remote Sensing – Farheen Khanum. She has been awarded by Municipality and Planning Department Ajman, UAE in 2018 (for her excellent vision and performance), Alleem Business Congress (Sustainability) in 2018 and she has also been awarded as ECO Ambassador by Environment Agency Abu Dhabi in 2022. She has been selected among Top Women in Technology 2023 by Stylfemina as a leading woman responsible for understanding the role of technology in reducing the carbon footprints and climate change impact. As an environmentalist, she believes that the modern technology offers a clear and sustainable pathway towards solving global environmental challenges. Here is more from Farheen Khanum …
Farheen Khanum’s Journey in Environmental and Geographic Science:
Farheen: My journey started back in 2009, when I completed my Masters in Geography and started an Internship Program in GIS (Geographical Information System) in Government Ministry of Antiquities. It encouraged me to pursue my career in GIS and Remote Sensing. Soon after, I successfully accomplished my Doctorate in Environmental Geography with Geo-informatics. Presently, I am the Director of Environment and Spatial Analysis in a consulting firm in the Middle East, where I deal with various national and international projects in GCC and Pakistan. I want to set a bench mark in Environment and GIS, by contributing to transition to sustainable society and wildlife conservation, especially Marine turtles.
Farheen’s professional contribution to the field of Environmental and Geographic Studies:
Farheen: The best one I must say is to utilize the Geo-informatics in Environmental Impact and Predictions. Most of all, I encourage and train my colleagues and clients to use this effective technique for effective planning and better outcomes. I have written various national and international research articles in my field to share knowledge. I have also been selected as Eco-Ambassador in 50years50ambassador program by Environment Agency Abu Dhabi-UAE. I have been invited as resource person for various conferences to showcase the contribution in GIS and Environment in the past few years. I have had the honor of training hundreds of professionals and students in the field of GIS.
Impact of Farheen’s Work:
Farheen: My work has been around raising awareness of environmental conservation, waste management and eco-friendly lifestyle. Apart from performing at my job, I have been preferring to do my bit by encouraging people to live a sustainable healthy lifestyle, manage waste production on a micro level and have more eco-friendly habits in real life.
Directly or indirectly the Community and the Academia are continuously getting the benefit of my work. I encourage people to join the awareness sessions and clean-up activities, learn and adopt the green practices, which involves No Plastic Initiative and other environmental goals.
Academia is always my favorite to tie up with, therefore I always try to keep it side by side with my professional career: writing research articles, conducting workshops on Deep learning/Machine learning in GIS, and devising new GIS applications. I counsel students for selecting best career paths as well.
Farheen: I believe in hard work with smart strategies as GIS is one of the smartest platforms in the technology world. I think user-friendly Artificial Intelligence for the benefit of environment is the future. GIS would enhance the capabilities of a person in any domain to maximize their knowledge, skillsets, and discrete decision making.
Women in Technology:
Farheen: Women are not preferred by hiring managers when it comes to environmental studies and GIS. It is a very male-dominated sector. In my opinion, definitely it is one of the major issues despite of several women working in the GIS in Pakistan. Unfortunately, the preferences are still different and most of the women do not pursue their career after completion of their education. They are hardly encouraged as professionals in this sector. Moreover, absence of a strong platform that could support women in technology in Pakistan affects the number of women in this sector. However, future is promising and things are likely to change.
The Five Year Plan:
Farheen: In next five years I want to offer intense career counselling and professional mentoring to women who are eager to build their professional career in the realms of GIS. I strongly believe in thinking positive and sustaining optimism: I know women will excel in GIS.
How May Women Rise:
Farheen: I advise women to pursue Advancement then they must showcase their work in the field. They must perform on to the front lines. They should have the strength to refuse to be limited by norms. It is fact that there are hurdles, nonetheless they can achieve anything they want. No one can stop them if they are consistent, motivated, knowledgeable and determined to materialize their dreams and aspirations.
I am professional member of various organizations such as OWSD-Pakistan Chapter and International, Pakistan Geographical Association, Karachi GIS Society etc.