"Babak has been great to work with as an MSc student and his committee and I, as co-supervisor, are excited to continue collaborating in his PhD program.  Babak has a wealth of experience in both soil science and geographic information science … a rare combination that makes him an ideal researcher in his chosen area of digital soil mapping. Babak’s persistence and determination are outstanding."

Dr. Margaret Schmidt

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Student Profile: Babak Kasraei

Digital Soil Mapping PhD student in the Faculty of Environment

December 02, 2020
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I came to Canada in 2005. I completed a BSc in soil science in Iran and a B-tech in GIS here in Canada at BCIT. I started my MSc program in Fall 2017 and defended my thesis in Summer 2020. I have started my Ph.D. program in Fall 2020.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

I was looking for a program to cover both areas of my education: soil science and GIS. I found that digital soil mapping is the combination of both soil science and GIS, and the program was presented in the Geography department at SFU.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH.

Digital soil mapping is a new subdiscipline of soil science in which we use soil field data and environmental data to generate maps for soil properties such as soil pH and soil organic carbon.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AT SFU?

My research is a combination of fieldwork, lab work, GIS, and programming. The results are useful soil maps that can provide a lot of environmental information that is very helpful for farmers and scientists and it is exciting. I enjoy making useful soil maps using all those sophisticated techniques.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

The awards that I have received were a graduate fellowship, graduate awards to participate in conferences, and a one-time bursary. However, the last award that I received for my thesis and when I started my Ph.D. program was a BC Graduate Scholarship that was very important for me to be able to chase my dreams for further education and doing more research.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM?

Digital soil mapping is a very young branch of soil science and there are many scientific areas in it that should be discovered. Currently, we are working on mapping soil carbon and soil carbon sequestration potential, which is very important in dealing effectively with global warming.

Contact Babak: bkasraei@sfu.ca