Data Scientist - Vessel Identity

Global Fishing Watch

Global Fishing Watch

Data Science
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Job Description - Data Scientist (Geospatial)

Background: Global Fishing Watch is an international, non-profit organization committed to advancing ocean governance through increased transparency. We create and publicly share knowledge about human activity at sea to enable fair and sustainable use of our ocean. Founded in 2015 through a collaboration between Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google, GFW became an independent non-profit organization in June 2017. Using cutting-edge technology, we create and publicly share map visualizations, data and analysis tools to enable scientific research and drive a transformation in how we manage our ocean. Our major focus is on commercial fishing because it is the most widespread human activity at sea, the most impactful on ocean health, and the most crucial for global livelihoods and food security. By 2030, we aim to monitor and visualize the impact of ocean-going vessels, both industrial and small-scale, that are responsible for the vast majority of the global seafood catch. We believe human activity at sea should be common knowledge in order to safeguard the global ocean commons for the common good of all.

The Position: The Research and Innovation team at Global Fishing Watch (GFW) connects data science and machine learning experts with leaders in the scientific community to produce new datasets, publish impactful research, and empower others to use our data. This work aims to harness satellite technology, machine learning, and big data to shed light on some of the most pressing issues facing the ocean and help make human use of the oceans more sustainable.

The Data Scientist will play a key role on the Research and Innovation team by helping develop and improve GFWs database of fishing vessels and expand this database to all large vessels at sea. This identity database, and the associated work on vessel identity, is the foundation of GFW’s platform, and it is critical to the organization’s success. To develop and improve this database, the data scientist will support data mining, natural language processing, and large data pipelines that process AIS and registry data, as well as engaging with external partners who use and contribute to this dataset. In line with these responsibilities, the successful candidate will begin by researching groups of vessels and their identities with various risk indicators to get familiar with GFW’s core datasets.

The incumbent will gain experience working with leading researchers and will interface daily with GFW’s team of data scientists and machine learning experts. They will develop diverse technical skills in programming, big data, and cloud computing while working for a globally diverse, fully distributed, and growing organization. The successful candidate will be highly organized and excited to help Global Fishing Watch develop strong partnerships and cutting-edge science. They should also have demonstrated experience working with complex datasets, analytical research, and communication.

This is an opportunity to join an exciting team which encourages and supports professional growth within the organization.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

Vessel identity research

  • Support research summarizing the identity and activity of fishing vessels that operate outside of a flag State’s national waters (Year 1 focus)
  • Coordinate with the external research partners collaborating on vessel identity (including vessel ownership) and help them with data requests, analysis support, and research publications.
  • Improve the classifications of types and characteristics of all industrial vessels through consulting various stakeholders, in collaboration with our Product team, to improve its consistency, cohesion, and usefulness of our datasets and vessel classification model.
  • Provide data science support to other projects related to vessel identity, as needed.

Data improvement and data sharing

  • Oversee and improve the regular data collection process of vessel registry in coordination with the engineering team to ensure a high standard of vessel identity database.
  • Improve and scale up our database of fishing and non-fishing vessels through unstructured data mining, natural language processing, and the engagement of public and private vessel identity data owners.
  • Provide analysis and general technical support to help develop and publish GFW datasets on vessel identity.
  • Help enhance vessel identity data with hull identifiers and produce training datasets for improved vessel behavioral/classification models.
  • Help build a comprehensive public vessel identity platform

Candidate Description

Skills you should have

  • Bachelor's degree and at least five years of professional experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience, in computer science, ecology, fisheries, or a related field
  • Demonstrated experience and data science skills with Python (preferred) or R
  • Highly organized, analytical, detail-oriented and self-motivated
  • Ability to work with large datasets and visualize data effectively
  • Ability to work efficiently to a very high standard of detail while managing multiple priorities
  • Experience with version control software and collaboration tools such as Git and GitHub
  • Willingness to take ownership of projects and effectively communicate updates in a transparent and proactive manner

Also great

  • Experience in data mining, web scraping, natural language processing, and automated processes using docker containers and Airflow
  • Some experience with database query languages such as SQL
  • Familiarity with issues of international fisheries policy and management
  • An understanding of the complexities and collaboration required to work effectively for a globally remote organization
  • Graduate degree and experience with the peer-review process and engaging with academic researchers

If you don't think you check all the boxes, but believe you have unique skills that make you a great fit for the role, we want to hear from you!

Please apply by November 27,2023

Additional Information

Reporting to: Senior data scientist

Manages: N.A.

Team: Research and Innovation

Location: Remote - we welcome candidates based in any country

Term: Permanent position

FT/PT: Full-time

Recruiting Process: A cover letter along with a CV will be requested to see how your experience and interest connect to the position. We expect the cover letter to allow applicants an opportunity to explain details on how their skill set aligns with the role and provide a better understanding of their suitability for the position. If selected for consideration, the hiring process for this position will include a formal 45 minute interview with 2-3 staff followed by a 30 minute administrative screening by an Human Resources manager. Candidates advancing beyond this round will be asked to take a technical assessment and/or submit a representative code sample. Lastly, an informal 30 minute call with 3-4 members of the Research and Innovation team will be held with finalists.

Compensation: A compensation range for this position is US$ 85,000 - 105,000. Compensation is commensurate with experience and will vary depending on the hired candidate’s country of residence, in accordance with local laws and regulations. GFW offers pension/retirement, health and other benefits commensurate with similar level GFW employees in the country of employment. The position may be a GFW employee or consultant, depending on the country of residence.

Working Hours: Global Fishing Watch supports flexible working, so the pattern of hours may vary according to operational and personal needs. Global Fishing Watch works across different time zones and weekend work may be required on occasion. The post holder may be required to undertake periodic domestic and international travel. No overtime is payable.

Equal Opportunities​: Global Fishing Watch is an equal opportunities employer. Global Fishing Watch is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within our organization and in the greater ocean management and conservation community. We believe that diverse backgrounds, skills, knowledge and viewpoints make us a stronger organization. Bringing together professionals who possess broad experiences and a spectrum of perspectives will enable us to reach our goal of improved ocean governance faster. We hire and promote qualified professionals without regard to actual or perceived race, color, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or parental status, national origin, age, physical or mental disability or medical condition, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Our organizational goals match the urgent challenges facing our global ocean, and our mission is designed to help secure a healthy ocean for all. We are committed to building a workforce that is representative of humanity’s diversity, by providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all employees of Global Fishing Watch and for our partners, vendors, suppliers and contractors.