Careers at SkyTruth

At SkyTruth we believe that if you can see it, you can change it. We are searching for a few good people to join our team and help us visualize the impact of human activity on the environment through the use of satellite imagery, remote sensing and digital mapping technology.

Machine Learning / Computer Vision Engineer

Are you a data and tech nerd? Are you passionate about big data, machine learning, and satellite imagery? Do you want to apply your time, energy, and skills to saving the environment, stopping pollution, protecting biodiversity, and improving the wellbeing of people around the world?

Then this position may be what you’re looking for.
And you may be the person we’re looking for.

SkyTruth is looking for a creative, innovative, experienced Computer Vision Engineer to join our growing team of committed tech + conservation advocates. This is an exciting opportunity combining cutting-edge earth observation data, cloud computing, and scalable analytics to solve the world’s environmental challenges.

In collaboration with our staff and our conservation, data, and technology partners, you will develop environmental change indicators — derived from near real-time satellite imagery and other remote sensing data — that enable intervention and other positive conservation actions and impacts. You’ll help save endangered species and their habitat by detecting new road construction encroaching on protected areas, and by measuring forest thinning and unauthorized land-clearing that reveals illegal logging or settlement. You’ll protect water supplies by identifying ground-water fed agriculture depleting aquifers, and mining and fracking operations that consume huge quantities of water. You’ll join a team that’s stopping pollution in the ocean by identifying ships that are dumping bilgewater, and by helping us shine a spotlight on oil leaks and spills from offshore platforms and pipelines.

What you’ll do

  • Design and implement highly scalable computer vision algorithms and image processing pipelines
  • Rapidly iterate algorithms to continuously improve precision and recall under a variety of conditions
  • Collaborate with SkyTruth staff and end-users to understand computer vision needs
  • Design and implement test methodologies for testing and accuracy assessment
  • Support build deployment, management, and monitoring systems
  • Provide production support for applications and infrastructure

Gotta haves

  • A desire to save the planet’s biodiversity, ensure that high conservation value areas are protected on land and at sea, and improve the lives and wellbeing of people everywhere
  • Comfort working with large, messy datasets that have sparsity in some dimension (e.g., spatially, temporally)
  • Comfort working with a small, dynamic team, with a willingness to jump in and help on other projects and gain experience in other areas
  • Experience working with relational databases (e.g., mySQL, PostgreSQL) and spatial extensions (e.g., PostGIS)
  • Excellent coding skills in Python, including deep familiarity with NumPy, SciPy, pandas, OpenCV, TensorFlow or PyTorch, and Keras
  • Expertise in traditional machine learning/modeling techniques like SVMs, K-nearest neighbor and Random Forest
  • Familiarity with deep learning, including semantic segmentation and object detection
  • Understanding and experience with Cloud architectures specifically: Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Proven ability to work with software engineering / data science teams to develop and then deploy predictive models in a production environment
  • Experience with collaboration tools software like GitHub / GitLabs
  • An ability to communicate complex data science concepts and results in plain English to non-technical audiences
  • Deep experience and subject matter expertise with the analysis of satellite and/or aerial imagery using QGIS, Google Earth Engine, GDAL and other geospatial tools
  • Advanced degree and significant work experience

Nice-to-haves

  • Expertise in deep learning architectures including FCNs, ResNets, Faster R-CNN, and YOLT
  • Familiarity with DevOps tools like Docker and Kubernetes
  • Understanding of continuous delivery and deployment patterns and tools (Jenkins, Artifactory, Maven, etc.)
  • Experience designing and executing complex machine learning projects in a fast paced and agile development environment using the latest software development technologies, infrastructure, and methods
  • Experience working with distributed teams

Nimble, scrappy, and with a relatively flat hierarchy, SkyTruth encourages initiative and leadership at all levels. We innovate in the application of technology to demonstrate the art of the possible for conservation: opening new doors for scientific research and management, and creating new paths for sustainability, as exemplified by our Global Fishing Watch project in partnership with Oceana and Google. Our toolkit includes Google’s Earth Engine platform and cloud-compute suite, as well as data and analysis platforms operated by others. We use satellite imagery from the European Space Agency’s Copernicus program (Sentinel-1 radar for offshore pollution monitoring; Sentinel-2 multispectral imagery for terrestrial monitoring and analysis), as well as Landsat multispectral imagery and images from commercial vendors (Planet, DigitalGlobe, Airbus, MDA and others).

We cultivate a flexible work environment and a humane culture to foster work-life balance. Remote work is possible — we use Slack, Zoom and Google Meet/Hangouts.

How to apply

By July 30, please fill out this form and upload a cover letter and resume that includes links to a few samples of your work (published writing, presentations, GitHub repos, etc.).

As an equal-opportunity employer SkyTruth welcomes applications from diverse candidates. We evaluate contractors, employees and applicants for employment based on merit, competence, qualifications and performance, and do not tolerate discrimination.

Location

213 West Washington Street, PO Box 3283, Shepherdstown, WV 25443-3283

Internship

SkyTruth works to track, and raise awareness of, a wide range of environmental issues including overfishing, fracking, coal mining, and marine pollution.

Why should you work for SkyTruth? You can help protect the environment by applying science and technology to track real world issues with far reaching implications! Get professional experience working at a dynamic, internationally recognized nonprofit research organization based in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Summary

SkyTruth’s internship provides advanced undergraduates or graduate students exposure to a broad spectrum of geospatial tools and technologies (​e.g.​, satellite imagery, geographic information systems), cultivates and sharpens technical and analytical capacity (​e.g.​, scientific programming, statistical analysis, web development), and promotes project management skills by giving students ownership over the role.

Essential duties

  1. Download, analyze, and annotate satellite imagery as part of our global environmental monitoring work. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    1. Sentinel-1 radar imagery of oil pollution from vessels and offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) coastal areas, the Caspian Sea, the Strait of Malacca, and the Gulf of Guinea;
    2. Landsat, Sentinel-2, and Planetscope multispectral imagery related to resource extraction activities like mountaintop removal, hydraulic fracturing, commercial logging, or hardrock mining.
  2. Assist SkyTruth technical staff with:
    1. cleaning and investigating large, messy data sets of numerical and textual data;
    2. collecting training images for machine learning models; and
    3. designing rich data visualizations to communicate complex ideas to the public.
  3. Regularly produce posts for SkyTruth’s blog and social media accounts that (a) demonstrate the value of satellite imagery for global environmental monitoring, and (b) provide specific intervention points for the public to demand policy changes (​e.g.,​ tailings pond failures provide arguments against mining elsewhere).

Expectations

We are looking for self-directed individuals, with a passion for using science to protect the environment. ​Interns should have demonstrated GIS experience, strong research and analytical skills, a proven ability to work with people from a variety of backgrounds, a desire to learn new skills and solve complex conservation problems, and superior written and verbal communication.

Interns should be available to work a minimum of 8 ​hrs per week (up to 20) at SkyTruth’s office in Shepherdstown, WV. Interns can expect to earn $12 per hour.

Preferred qualifications

Other desirable attributes include:

  • Strong interest in Python for data management, statistical analysis, and visualization;
  • Geospatial analysis including work in QGIS, ArcGIS, and/or Google Earth Engine;
  • Strong interest in Javascript and relevant web mapping platforms/libraries (​e.g.​, ArcGISOnline, Carto, Mapbox, Leaflet, Google Maps, and Google Earth Engine);
  • Experience with gathering and analyzing satellite imagery and other remotely-senseddata;
  • Graphics production skills and video editing;​ and
  • Superior written and verbal communication;
  • A background in Environmental Science or Policy, Ecology, Earth and AtmosphericSciences, Natural Resources Management, Geography, Political Science, or a related field.

How to apply:

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to Brendan Jarrell at info@skytruth.org.​ Interested applicants should also feel free to reach out to Brendan (at info@skytruth.org) with questions about SkyTruth or the expectations of the internship.

SkyTruth is an equal opportunity employer and actively works to ensure fair and equal treatment of its employees.

About Shepherdstown

SkyTruth is located 70 miles north-west of Washington DC on the Potomac river in a charming little town called Shepherdstown.  Home to nationally acclaimed arts and film festivals, and a small liberal arts university, this small town is packed with creative and technical people that support 15 great places to eat in the 4-block historic downtown, 3 independent coffee shops, an independent book store, and a rockin’ live music and film venue in the Old Opera House (“Music and Entertainment since 1910″). Just 90 minutes from downtown DC by car or commuter train, we have all the amenities of a big city within easy reach, without actually having to live there.

SkyTruth is located in Shepherdstown because when your mission is global monitoring with satellites, you can live anywhere you like. The SkyTruth founders chose Shepherdstown because that’s where they and their families wanted to live. When you come to visit, we’re certain you’ll see why.

About the SkyTruth Team

SkyTruth is a small group of dedicated people using remote sensing to help protect the planet. We use satellite imagery to create compelling visuals that illustrate the environmental impacts of human activity, and provide these images and supporting data to researchers, environmental advocates, policy-makers, the media, and the public.