SCGIS Scholars

The board

Alejandro Coca Castro

2013 Program

  • Cali, Colombia

  • Environmental and conservation issues have been the focal point of my education and professional background. I am an Agricultural Engineer from the National University of Colombia, Bogotá. Currently, I am working as a researcher in the Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) research area at the International Center of Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia. More specifically, I am working as the GIS analyst of the Terra-I project, the first tracking tool in near-real time of habitat loss in Latin America and the Caribbean ( In total, I have around 3.5 years of developed skills and experience in the GIS and Remote Sensing fields.

    In my current job, I work daily with several GIS and remote sensing tools and data. My tasks include working with the downloading, processing and post-processing of data (HDF, BIN, ASC and ESRI raster and shape formats) and information (literature) to support the monitoring of deforestation in Latin America and the Caribbean. To process the output data mentioned above, I use tools provided by NASA, ESRI and my own research area. Specifically, I have been working with GIS and remote sensing software with varying levels of familiarity: advanced (ArcInfo), intermediate (ERDAS, ENVI) and basic (GRASS, SPRING, ILWIS). Additionally, I am familiar with the raster and vector libraries of the R software which allow to me to carry out analyses of large GIS databases and also facilitate the performance of multiple statistical tests. To reduce the time necessary for processing steps, my team and I create scripts in programming languages, the vast majority in Java and Python, which allow us to automatize and analyze large data sets. Furthermore, my knowledge in web GIS technologies has been increasing since my involvement with my current job. One aspect of the project is to assist with the visualization and sharing of the output data in two platforms, one made based on ESRI web tools, and the other one using Google APIs.