(G)EOHack Mentors

Meet the (G)EOHack19 Mentors, experts from different fields including remote sensing, GIS, climate change adaptation and more, who will guide participants throughout the hackathon process.

Margaret Gold is a Project Officer at the European Citizen Science Association on the WeObserve project, which is building an Ecosystem of Citizen Observatories for Environmental Monitoring. ECSA is a non-profit association set up to encourage the growth of the Citizen Science movement in Europe in order to enhance the participation of the general public in scientific processes, mainly by initiating and supporting citizen science projects as well as performing research on citizen science. Margaret combines 10 years in the mobile & web technology sector with 5 years of community building in Citizen Science - engaging the public in the transcription of digitally imaged specimen labels at the Natural History Museum in London, and in scientific research within the Citizen Cyberlab project. Margaret has an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, and an Honours BA in International Relations from the University of Windsor in Canada.


Dr. Manish Verma, CSCAR Consultant, University of Michigan.

Expertise: Spatial data analysis, GIS, terrestrial remote sensing, image processing, spatial statistics, programming in Python, R, Arc/Gis, and Matlab; applications to earth science, natural resources, and public health.

Bio: I am interested in geospatial science and its application for spatiotemporal analyses, policy, and decision-making. I have nearly fifteen years of experience in combining observations from multiple satellite and airborne sensors, vector data from secondary and primary sources, and models to monitor and understand spatiotemporal variation across a range of topics. My specific interests include geospatial analysis, image processing, location analysis, spatially distributed dynamic models, model inversion, radiative transfer modeling, signal processing, and nonlinear dynamics.

In my research and consulting I have analyzed a variety of data including remotely sensed data such as from MODIS, Landsat, AVHRR, OCO-2, AIRS, AVIRIS, and SRTM; vector data such as from Census, road network, FLUXNET, SURFRED, OzFlux, Phenocam, and weather stations; and gridded and reanalysis data such as from CMIP5, NCEP, NOAA, and NASA. I often combine multiple languages including MATLAB, R, and Python, extensively use ArcGIS and QGIS, and occasionally also turn to Mathematica and ENVI/IDL.

I have assimilated data across multiple spatial and temporal scales to bridge gaps in our understanding of small-scale processes and large-scale patterns. My domain knowledge includes remote sensing, mass and energy exchange between the land surface and the atmosphere, photosynthesis, carbon and water cycle, ecosystem ecology, and watershed analyses. I have set up and used instruments such as radiometer, spectrometer, gas exchange, and PAR sensors. A list of my publications is available at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Manish_Verma21.

Before coming to research/academia I worked for more than a decade with non-governmental organizations promoting better and inclusive management of natural resources in ecologically fragile areas. I also worked as a consultant and advised several organizations including Oxfam, KfW, Winrock, and Aga Khan Rural Support Program. I love wild animals and go through phases where my enchantment skips from birds to reptiles to mammals. I like reading, cooking, seeking connections between abstract ideas and realities, and traveling with my spouse (Preeti) and my son (Aman).


Dr. Jorge Vazquez, Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology.

Expertise: Applying High Resolution Remote Sensing Data to Coastal Studies, Validation of satellite derived sea surface temperature data sets, development and analysis of climate data records, statistical modeling of remote sensing data, improvement in quality of sea surface temperature data records.


Professional History:

  • Project scientist for Salinity and Sea Surface Temperature for PODAAC
  • Principal Investigator at JPL for the NOAA/NASA Pathfinder SST Project
  • SST Pilot Project (GHRSST) Science Working Team. Chair of the Data Management
  • Chair of GHRSST Applications and Users Services Technical Advisory
  • Adjunct Faculty in Earth Science at Azusa Pacific University
  • Visiting Scientist, Institute of Marine Science, Barcelona, Spain. Spanish Grant to apply remote sensing techniques to study the Mediterranean (1993)
  • Guest Editor for Deep Sea Research for special edition on Satellite Oceanography and Climate change
  • Guest Editor for Remote Sensing for Special Edition on Sea Surface Temperature Retrievals for satellites
  • Editor Remote Sensing


  • BS, Physics, University of Miami, with honors (1980)
  • MS, Oceanography, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island (1983)
  • PHD, Geological Sciences, University of Southern California (1991)
  • Editor Remote Sensing

Selected Awards:

  • NASA MANNED FLIGHT AWARENESS PROGRAM in recognition of excellence and support of the NASA manned space program and its mission payloads.
  • Who's Who in Science and Engineering
  • NASA Group Achievement Award for implementation of the Global Data Assembly Center
  • National Ocean Partnership Award for Excellence
  • NASA Group Achievement Award for the Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center.
  • National Ocean Partnership  Award for excellence supporting joint programs between NASA and NOAA.

Selected Publications:

  • Gierach, M., J. Vazquez-Cuervo, T. Lee, V. Tsontos, Aquarius and SMOS detect effects of extreme Mississippi River flooding event in the Gulf of Mexico, 2013: Geophy. Res. Lett. 40 (19) 5188-5193.
  • Vazquez-Cuervo, J., B. Dewitte, T. M. Chin, E. M. Armstrong, S. Purca, E. Alburqueque, 2013: An Analysis of SST Gradients off the Peruvian Coast: The impact of going to higher resolution. Remote Sensing of the Environment, 131,76-84.
  • Armstrong, E. M., G. Wagner, J. Vazquez-Cuervo, T. M. Chin, 2012, Comparisons of regional satellite sea surface temperature gradients derived from MODIS and AVHRR sensors, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 33:21, 6639-665.
  • Garcia-Soto, C., J. Vazquez-Cuervo, P. Clemente-Colon, and F. Hernandez, Satellite Oceanography and Climate Change: Introduction to Special Issue as Guest Editor, 2012, Deep Sea Research Part II: Satellite Oceanography and Climate Change, 77-80, 1-9.


Georges Labreches, Founder of Open Data Kosovo (ODK).

A problem solver, entrepreneur, and the founder of the Balkan’s leading civic-tech organization: Open Data Kosovo (ODK). Georges holds a BSc in Software Engineering and an MA in International Relations so he constantly busies himself with ideas that merge technology, good governance, and social impact. He likes to play with satellite data and is currently concluding his MS in Spacecraft Design while working on solar arrays for a Mars rover. In his spare time he likes to get carried away with registering for space related MOOCs.

Dr. Preeti Rao, Research Associate & Lab Manager at the School for Environment & Sustainability, University of Michigan.

Expertise: data synthesis across multiple spatio-temporal scales, mentoring, collaborative research, and project management.

Bio: Preeti worked for 10 years in natural resource management in the Indian ​non-profit sector before g​oing on to do a Masters in Geo-Information Science from the EU and PhD in Geography from Boston University. Her background is in applied research in the natural and urban ecosystems, and she has been applying geospatial analytics (GIS and remote sensing) across various themes for problem-solving and to inform policy. She is interested in geospatial data science and its application in coupled human-natural ecosystem processes, and environmental change. Her expertise and interests include data synthesis across multiple spatio-temporal scales, mentoring, collaborative research, and project management.


Brian Fuchs, CTO of the Mobile Collective.

Brian Fuchs is a developer and hacker. In his day job, he is Technical Lead at Eezylabs (https://eezy.ai), an AI-based life-planner. He is also CTO and Co-Founder of The Mobile Collective (https://mobilecollective.co.uk/) , where he helps citizen scientists and other hackers design and develop mobile applications for hackathons and citizen science projects. Previously, Brian was Co-ordinator of the Internet Centre (aka London e-Science Centre) in the Department of Computing at Imperial College, where he led several e-Science projects. His expertise is in iOS, Android, java, python, javascript, backend/cloud systems (AWS, Hadoop), c/c++, and arduino applications.


Dr. Paruthummootil Jacob Philip, Secretary, of the Institute for Sustainable Development and Research ,ISDR, India and Former Dean and Professor -, Department of Humanities and Social Science, National Institute of Technology, India.

Expertise: Social  science, Humanities,  Poverty and unemployment, Food security  and  ending  hunger,   Human-climate interactions,  Mountain Agriculture, Agriculture Economics, Agriculture commodity production, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Bio: Dr. P J Philip  is  Secretary of the Institute for Sustainable Development and Research ,ISDR, India, an organization having  consultative  status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, UN-ECOSOC, UN-Habitat, UN-Environment, UNCTAD,UN-Ffd, UN-WCDRR,CFS-FAO-Mountain Forum, FAO GFAR,IPCC,IPBES,UNFCCC ,GACSA. He has experience of  more than 35 years   as a Dean, Head of  Social  Science  and  Humanities   department  and Department  of Business  Administration   as well as Professor   in Skill Development  ;  Social  science  and  Humanities  ; Finance and planning  etc. at  National Institute of Technology , Kurukshetra, India  .He  has a multi-disciplinary academic background with qualifications in humanities and Social science  , Management and Law (MA, MBA, LLB, PhD).    Dr.Philip is also associated with several  national and  international  NGOs   working for  sustainable  development  including – Institute For  Sustainable Development and research ,ISDR,India ; Muktainagr Taluka Education Society, Muktainagar; Open University geological Society,OUGS, Switzerland   and  ISDR-MTES-NIT-OUGS-UNMDGs Implementation center  ,Muktainagar and  UN-ECOSOC partner  organizations in Asia-Pacific region.

He was a Coordinator of the IPR Cell of the National Institute and has undertaken two sponsored projects of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India. He was also involved in drafting an IPR Policy for the National Institute and has organized a number of workshops, seminars, and conferences on IPR.He  has  organized and participated  in several  training  programs on social science,  Humanities , Human –environment interactions , poverty  alleviation,  food security ,  climate smart agriculture , social –economic  rehabilitation  of  victims  in disaster  region , Sustainable development goals , climate change adoptions and mitigations  socio-economic- cultural  development  of the  disadvantaged  communities , international  community exchange programs in association with NGOs and CBOs .  He  has organized   training program for graduate students in European  countries focusing on  Consumer  rights, Social and economic aspects  of Trade  communities, Agriculture commodity marketing management ,Social housing , unemployment   and related problems, climate smart agriculture, relief and  rehabilitation of  disaster victims  etc . . He has represented the institute in the   meetings and programs of the United Nations Framework convention on climate change and the intergovernmental panel on climate change . Dr.Philip  has  organized  several  programs  in  Asia-Pacific and Europe region  on  implementation of  Sustainable development  Agenda of the United Nations .  He  has   coordinated  the International  study  visits   on Global  climate change, disaster    management, Himalayan studies  and  urban  sustainability. He was invited for  a lecture in Copenhagen Climate Change Conference-“Climate Change, Global risks, challenges & decisions,'' Copenhagen 10-12 March, 2009, University of Copenhagen, Denmark for the  preparatory process of  The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, was held at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 7 and 18 December. The Copenhagen conference included the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 5th Meeting of the Parties (MOP 5) to the Kyoto Protocol.

He was also  invited  by the  United Nations  center for trade  Development  to deliver a lecture on Ending  Hunger and Poverty through  Agriculture  commodity  management at Geneva, Switzerland  in 2010. He was invited  by FAO  for participation in Mountain Forum. Dr.Philip is involved in organizing sessions on Water and agriculture at World Water Forum,  Mexico ,Istanbul and Brazil. He is Author for the EC-DRMKC flagship report on "Science for Disaster Risk Management 2020 –Acting today, Protecting tomorrow" of  Disaster Risk Management knowledge Center, European Commission, DG Joint Research Centre – Disaster Risk Management Unit, Ispra, Italy.

Dr. Philip is also associated with several national and international NGOs working for sustainable development and UN-ECOSOC partner organizations in Asia-Pacific region. Dr. Philip was invited for scientific and sustainable rehabilitation of marine and coastal resources during the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster in 2004.  He has participated in the Regional assessment process for the IPCC, UNFCCC and COP in Asia-Pacific region. He has organized several international seminars on Marine and Ocean conservation, Biodiversity management of Marine areas organized by UNESCO-IOC, International Tsunami Partnership, The International Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) project and Earth System Governance -a global research alliance, is the largest social science research network in the area of governance and global environmental change. Currently  he  is  organizer  of  Session on “ Policies and Strategies for Ocean and Marine Governance: North-South participation for Economic and Social development of Coastal Regions (E2-Marine policies and strategies)”  during the  Fourth Xiamen Symposium on Marine Environmental Sciences Which will be held at Xiamen University, China, on Jan 6-9, 2019     (http://mel.xmu.edu.cn/conference/4xmas ). Dr.Philip  was invited  by the World Meteorological Organization, Geneva Switzerland to make a presentation in Technical Workshop on Enhancing ocean observations and research, and the free exchange of data, to foster services for the safety of life and property, ocean Safe ,5 - 6 February 2019, Geneva, Switzerland organized by WMO- UNESCO-IOC Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology.

He has published about thirty papers in journals and conference proceedings on the  socio-economic development, industrial labor issues, poverty alleviations and self employment problems , technology  for  social  and economic upliftment of the  communities  and  other  allied  subjects focusing on human  rights. He has organized  sixteen workshop/seminars and attended about fifty conferences on social, economic, financial and  environmental   disciplines including  climate change, agriculture  and forestry development ,  Poverty and skills development,  disaster  management , climate resilient societies  and vulnerability   in  Asia- Pacific, Africa ,Europe and America  region.