PhD Position `coastscan` Coastal Variability and Resilience Assessment By Permanent Laser Scanning

Delft University of Technology, Netherlands is inviting applicants to apply for a PhD position in atmospheric sciences. Applications will be evaluated on a continuous basis.

The Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology and delta technology. The research covers global social issues and is closely connected to education as well as the work of a wide range of knowledge institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to realise these goals and supports its scientists in integrating Open Science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

The Department of Geoscience and Remote Sensing (GRS) seeks to advance the understanding of dynamic processes on Earth and of human interaction with the Earth, with a focus on geodesy and atmospheric sciences. The approach is based on the development of observation technology as well as the modelling of processes. Our ambition is to create an interdisciplinary research environment in which scientific staff and students explore, learn, and teach. GRS (with about 110 staff members of which 25 faculty staff) conducts a research programme in the disciplines of geodesy and remote sensing, natural geophysics, and climate and atmospheric sciences. It focuses on the interrelation between new observational techniques and applications in engineering and geosciences, including the development of ground-based, airborne, and space-borne methods and models. The department has an internationally leading role in research related to 2D and 3D surveying, satellite remote sensing, natural hazards, geodynamics and climate studies.

Within the Dept. of GRS, the Spatial Laser Scanning Lab develops methodology to efficiently extract geometric information on the state of our Earth and its infrastructure using notably different types of laser scanning data. A laser scanner samples the surface geometry of our surroundings by creating a dense spatial point cloud. The quality of such point clouds is characterized by combining sensor knowledge, acquisition geometry and geodetic data description techniques. Algorithms that extract valid geometric information from such point clouds are built using tools from fields like computational geometry and computer vision. Efficient implementation of the algorithms, both from a hardware and software perspective, is required to process spatial point clouds at an operational level.

Within the CoastScan project you will develop, implement and validate methodology to extract and parameterize changes from 24/7 Permanent Laser Scanning (PLS) topographic beach data. The overall goal of the CoastScan project is to obtain better understanding on how a sandy beach changes in between storm periods. During those periods, changes are relatively small and were, until now, difficult to measure. PLS involves a terrestrial laser scanner that is mounted on a fixed position like a beach hotel and scanning the beach at regular (hourly) intervals. This setup results in an unprecedented 3D space-time cube of topographic beach data, consisting easily of thousands of consecutive point clouds of beach topography. Until now, little experience exists on how to efficiently extract valid geometric information from such data set.

1.a: PLS acquisition optimization and validation. How to optimally acquire repeated point cloud data and how to evaluate the quality of the acquisitions?

1.b: PLS spatio-temporal data mining for change detection and terrain classification relevant to coastal morphology studies.

1.c: Develop methods to efficiently store, distribute and visualize dynamic PLS derived changes

Within the CoastScan project you will closely cooperate with a PostDoc working on the interpretation of the changes involving coastal processes. This PostDoc work is led by dr. Sierd de Vries (Assistant Professor) at the coastal engineering section of the same faculty. This collaboration and the combination of developing in depth remote sensing techniques and explaining unknown processes regarding coastal morphology is unique for both the fields of coastal morphology and remote sensing.

You hold a MSc degree in Geodesy, Geoinformatics, Computer Vision, Data Science or another relevant topic. You have an affinity with geomorphological applications, and enjoy it to go out for in situ validation of results. You like programming, for example in C++ or Python, and have proven experience in handling big data sets. You are able to express yourself clearly in the English language, both on paper and in discussion, and are looking forward to work together with other people in the project and the faculty.

You will work together with two top academic groups in the world related to geodesy and coastal processes. Doing a PhD in Delft is challenging but highly rewarding. You get the opportunity to develop your own ideas, to present these at conferences and publish. You are surrounded and supervised by the best researchers in the field. In the Dept. of Geoscience and Remote Sensing there is a strong community of PhD students. For research, PhD students get freedom and responsibility and if you will be able to travel to different places and make international friends. Delft itself is a great place with many bars and restaurants and close to historical cities like Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amsterdam. And Schiphol Amsterdam airport is only 35' away.

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children's Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

To apply, please send your motivation letter (approx 1 page), CV and publication list. Make sure to include in your motivational letter (and/or CV) examples of projects in which you successfully demonstrate your skills relevant to this project. Also mention when you could start. We are somewhat flexible here; but latest starting data would be early 2019.

Please e-mail all your application information in one single PDF entitled Lastname_ CITG18-43 .pdf byOctober 28, 2018 to

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. R.C. Lindenbergh, e-mail:


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