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Jimmy Van der PauwLucky enough to spend his last year of secondary school at Mt Aspiring College in Wanaka, Jimmy fell in love with the natural beauty of the Otago region and the down to earth people who call it home. He hadn’t yet decided what to study; only knowing that it would be something in the Applied Sciences.

Jimmy remembers flicking through the University of Otago prospectus and stopping on the page about a Bachelor of Surveying, thinking that it looked pretty cool, and realising a mixture of field and office work was what he was after in a career, he attended a Careers Day at the University of Otago.

Reflecting on his time at Otago Jimmy fondly remembers being involved with social rugby, which was as much about getting out there for a run around with mates as it was about the rugby.

“My true passion however, was out on the coast of the Otago Peninsula. Dunedin has some world-class surf breaks if you know where to look. I spent four happy years down there, exploring the coastline with friends and more often than not getting up close and personal with the seals and penguins that would frequent the line-up."

“Otago offers more than ‘just academic studies’. I believe that studying at Otago and living within the student culture in Dunedin helps to prepare students for life in general…”

“With a few years under the belt, I now understand that surveying is a very technology driven industry, and the lecturers gave us not only an understanding of past and current technologies, but also the skills required to learn and adapt to new technology advances as they come along.”

After seven years of working overseas, Jimmy returned to New Zealand and started working for Discovery Marine Ltd as a senior surveyor where his work takes him all over the country. Discovery Marine are among the leaders in the field of hydrographic surveying in New Zealand, specialising in mapping solutions for coastal and inland waterways within New Zealand, and throughout the Pacific Islands.

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself because my work often involves exploring the many nooks and backwaters of New Zealand’s amazing harbours, rivers and lakes.”

"Where to next? Well, there have been many technological advances within the hydrographic surveying field over the past 10 years. Technologically advanced equipment and new data acquisition techniques have been coupled with state of the art data visualisation software packages, which has allowed us to push the boundaries. In the near future, I can see the data visualisation field continuing to develop as well as the very exciting field of remote vehicle surveying carried out by drones, automated vehicles and boats.”

“Otago offers more than ‘just academic studies’. I believe that studying at Otago and living within the student culture in Dunedin helps to prepare students for life in general… Whether it’s the lifelong friends made during time spent there, or becoming accustomed to Dunedin winters living in classic student flats; I believe the whole Otago experience contributes to students who are well balanced in academic and life skills.”