September 2022: Prashant Thapaliya, graduate student | Department of Geography and the Environment

September 2022: Prashant Thapaliya, graduate student

Welcome to another school year! For this month's Student Spotlight, please read about Prashant Thapaliya. Prashant is a new graduate student in the Department of Geography and the Environment and is one of the teaching assistants for GEOG 3500: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems. His major professor is Dr. Pinliang Dong, and his thesis will be related to developing inventive algorithm based on deep learning for the classification and segmentation of LiDAR as point cloud classification (one of the essential steps in the reality capture process).

Prashant is from Nepal, a country in Southeast Asia known mainly for the high summits and deep valleys of the Himalayas. He was drawn to our Master's degree program by Dr. Dong's research on the applications of remote sensing (multispectral, hyperspectral, radar, and LiDAR). Prashant is also fascinated by how the power of programming can create entire 3D worlds (where people can use real data, map it into a virtual world and even interact with it). This makes him really think about how the study of spatial technology will evolve in the coming years. With technologies like the metaverse gaining popularity, Prashant thinks only the sky is the limit for people in this field. After working with interdisciplinary teams and projects, distinctly under the domain of geospatial technology, his desire to get better in this field has become even stronger. With this motivation, Prashant is studying Geography with a specialization in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing to help him obtain the necessary knowledge and skillsets about the entire process of extracting, managing, analyzing, and interpreting spatial data.

Prashant graduated from Kathmandu University as a Geomatics Engineer, where he acquired practical knowledge of surveying from traditional chain surveys, plane table surveys, to modern technologies such as total station and Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS). Prashant has already gathered the knowledge of geography from the engineering perspective, but now, he wants to understand the essence of geography from a science perspective to answer the questions: where are they, why are they there and what are they?

For Prashant, the coolest thing at UNT is the generosity and helpful nature of the professors, students, and colleagues he's encountered. And what's more, he enjoys the Geography Department Tea Time (complete with snacks!) that happen every so often. Outside of his classes, Prashant has experienced UNT by participating in events related to academics, administration, students, arts, music, and so on.

Here are some facts about Prashant! He earned the most punctual student award in high school. If his life was a character of a TV show, he'd want to be Chandler Bing of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. who is notable for his sarcastic and witty sense of humor. In his leisure time, you might find him: exploring places, reading about technology, playing guitar and ukulele, being involved in social organizations, or playing football (i.e., soccer). For people who admire natural beauty, camping, and nature outings, he suggests visiting Lake Texoma on a weekend (though be sure to not make too much noise after dusk since there is a 'No Noise' zone at night).

Student Spotlight

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