Internship: evaluating the potential of surveying drones for station inspection

Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management

  • Stand­plaats De Bilt
  • Uren per week 36 - 40
  • Vergoeding €635
  • Niveau Master/doctoraal, Bachelor - HBO
  • Vakgebied Onderzoek / wetenschap
  • Reageren voor 26 april
  • Vacaturenummer Stage KNMI 2021-06
  • Plaatsingsdatum 1 april 2021
  • Dienst­verband Onderzoeksstage
  • Periode 1 mei 2021 - 30 sep 2021


The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) operates a nationwide observing network consisting of 48 observation stations on land and at sea. The environmental conditions at these stations are regularly examined because the terrain, obstacles and heat sources influence the quality of the measurements, such as air temperature, precipitation, wind and global radiation. Currently, this examination is performed by experts visiting the stations in the field once a year and checking them according to guidelines of the World Meteorological Organization siting classification scheme.

The availability of new technology, such as advanced cameras and sensors on board surveying drones, creates a wealth of opportunities to improve the quality of our observations. By collecting data from drones, the analysis of on-site conditions can be enriched with accurate 2D/3D images, and more information based on, for example, infrared cameras and synergetic use with GIS data. This allows KNMI to facilitate the inspection work and determine the possible effects of the station environment on weather observations in more detail.

A previous study (Stuurman, 2019) led to a working prototype for an automated siting classification (ASC) method for air temperature measurements. It was found that automatic classification based on freely available geodata sets for the Netherlands (such as AHN3 and BGT) is possible, but that inaccuracies and the limited update frequency inhibit reliable results. The goal of this internship is to expand and improve this initial analysis by developing methodologies combining field measurements and drone imagery. A collaboration with the Aerosensing drone team at ILT is scheduled in the first quarter of 2021 to provide sufficient data for exploration and testing of this hypothesis.

Your assigned tasks are:

  • Short literature study on WMO siting classification; background and relevant attributes;
  • Exploration and comparison of (1) traditional data sources (inspection tooling) and (2) surveying drone data, focusing on usability of both data sources for the intended applications;
  • Analyse (and assess) options to combine drone data in the automatic siting classification method;
  • Define use case for one atmospheric variable (temperature, wind, precipitation etc.);
  • Implement use case based on collected data for a selection of stations;
  • Give an estimate of the quality and practical usability of this system compared to (manual) inspection results used as reference;
  • Write report.

Besides a report describing the research, we also aim at documented and reproducible results from the code delivered. The internship is part of a pilot project where a KNMI team investigates the added value of drone data for operational site inspections; this project also covers organizational, economical, legal and safety aspects.


We are looking for an HBO college student or university student in an educational field, with a background or an interest in geographical information science, meteorology, physics, or similar.

Required: Programming skills (Python or R), acquaintance with raster analysis theory, good command of geospatial tools (QGIS, GDAL). Experience with Linux is recommended.


  • Dienst­verband Onderzoeksstage
  • Minimaal aantal uren per week 36
  • Maximaal aantal uren per week 40

Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is committed to improving quality of life, access and mobility in a clean, safe and sustainable environment. The Ministry strives to create an efficient network of roads, railways, waterways and airways, effective water management to protect against flooding, and improved air and water quality.

KNMI, R&D Observations and Data Technology department
The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) is a part of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The R&D Observations and Data Technology department is responsible for the innovation and expertise of KNMI’s observation and product chains — from sensor to end-user. The department employs around fifty specialists in three clusters, one of which is Measurement Network Netherlands and Cabauw (NL&C).

This cluster is responsible for innovating the techniques and measurement methods that are applied in the KNMI measurement network and assesses their quality. The resulting data are used in research into climate change and atmospheric processes. The main research facilities of the department are the development lab and test site in De Bilt, and the national atmospheric research facility surrounding the KNMI measurement mast at Cabauw: a cauldron mixing up new knowledge that is the focal point of our long-term measurement program to support research into the atmosphere in three dimensions.


Voor meer informatie over deze vacature:

Irene Garcia Marti


Digitaal solliciteren

Het Rijk hecht waarde aan een diverse en inclusieve organisatie. Werken in divers samengestelde teams maakt ons effectiever, innovatiever en het werk leuker. Eenieder wordt daarom uitgenodigd te solliciteren.

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