Intern - Geospatial Data Scientist

Location : Home-based
Application Deadline :30-Jul-21 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Internship
Post Level :Intern
Languages Required :
Expected Duration of Assignment :3 to 6 months

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Reporting jointly to the Director of the Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development and the Senior Principal Advisor for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the intern will be joining an UNDP team developing a geospatial visualization and analysis web platform. The next phase of the platform will focus on the use of machine learning and other geospatial analytics tools to generate development insights for the SIDS. The intern is expected to support the platform through 1) development of a generic ML pipeline between the Azure backend and web frontend of the SIDS data platform 2) the development of a parametric ML model to extrapolate survey data to new spatial and temporal domains 3) support data management and geoprocessing functions in the cloud environment

UNDP works in some 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results. Inclusive growth, better services, environmental sustainability, good governance, and security are fundamental to development progress. We offer our expertise in development thinking and practice, and our decades of experience at country level, to support countries to meet their development aspirations and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development is a joint initiative by the Government of Singapore and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which aims at identifying and co-creating technological solutions for sustainable development. The Centre curates partnerships, identifies solutions and connects partners and innovations with UNDP’s global network of Country Offices and development partners. UNDP has a large portfolio on digital transformation and digital solutions for sustainable development through the Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development as well as strong focus on digital transformation under the policy advisory and programmatic focus on Small Island Developing States.

UNDP is committed to Small Island Developing States (SIDS), working to connect the UN global processes to regional and local development priorities and supporting and advocating for SIDS-specific development solutions. UNDP is committed to support SIDS through a global framework, consisting of three main pillars: Climate Action, Blue Economy and Digital Transformation. Through strategic partnerships and advocacy, UNDP aims to bridge gaps and create a network between SIDS and other key stakeholders. UNDP supports SIDS governments to build capacity — institutional, policy, technical — which enhances regional support the implementation of international normative standards and commitments in their own countries. With a broad country presence, UNDP has a major organizational investment and a multi-sectoral programme portfolio in SIDS. UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support (BPPS) is responsible for developing all relevant policy and guidance to support the results of UNDP’s Strategic Plan. BPPS’s staff provides technical advice to Country Offices; advocates for UNDP corporate messages; represents UNDP at multi-stakeholder fora including public-private dialogues, government and civil­­­ society dialogues, South-South, SIDS-SIDS and Triangular cooperation initiatives; and engages in UN inter-agency coordination in specific thematic areas.­­­

Duties and Responsibilities

The intern is expected to support in the next phase of development of the SIDS data platform, specifically with cloud-based geospatial machine learning and analysis tools. The SIDS geospatial platform is designed to visualize and analyze the challenges and solutions for development in the SIDS. In addition to visualizing publicly available datasets, the platform will present specific geospatial studies being developed by UNDP and other UN agencies. Analysis tools are being developed extract insights from the geospatial datasets, such as correlation between datasets, identification of high-risk areas within countries, visualizing regional development potential in areas including food security, water, and energy access.

The current phase of the platform is focused on developing a parametric machine learning interface that will leverage the compiled set of geospatial datasets in order to generate custom predictive maps. The architecture will build on work by Microsoft AI for Earth to create cloud infrastructures that retrain models quickly enough to allow parametric modeling to be conducted interactively in the browser. Using prebuilt models with custom parameters defined in the web interface, users will be able to test hypotheses using predictive climate modeling or extrapolate their sparse survey data into gridded geospatial models. The infrastructure will be scalability built in Azure to allow additional ML methods and models to be quickly integrated into the pipeline. A user of the SIDS GeoAI Interface will be able to connect their browser directly to a virtual GPU running all the models and geoprocessing functions. The frontend will be served the results, and end results will be displayed in the MapBox interface as well as available for export as geotiff files, along with analytics and accuracy metrics.

The duties of the intern will involve:

  • Development of a machine learning pipeline between the Azure backend and web frontend that can be used to integrate external machine learning models
  • Development of a parametric machine learning model to extrapolate survey data to new spatial and temporal domains
  • Support data management and geoprocessing functions in the cloud environment
  • Conduct geospatial machine learning research support on SIDS, particularly related to the thematic areas of climate action, blue economy and digital transformation;
  • Collaborate with UNDP’s data management team to build the database of SIDS geospatial datasets
  • Support the SIDS portfolios’ and efforts of the Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development on an ad hoc basis as tasks arise.


  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN's values and ethical standards;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism.
  • Strong organizational, analytical, reporting and writing abilities;
  • Strong data analysis and visualization skills;
  • Results driven, able to meet targets/deadlines;
  • Capacity to plan, prioritize and deliver tasks on time;
  • Creative thinking ability;
  • Highly organized and an ability to work independently;
  • Excellent analytical, writing and communication skills;
  • Openness to change and ability to receive/integrate feedback.

Required Skills and Experience


Experience training, validating, and deploying geospatial machine learning models

Good knowledge of regression methods, deep learning, computer vision

Experience working with Azure or comparable cloud computing services

Experience deploying ML algorithms to virtual environments and server-side architectures

Experience with a GIS software such as QGIS, or ArcGIS, or ESRI

Fluency in Python and ML libraries, and experience in PostgreSQL, PostGIS,

Familiarity with publicly available geospatial datasets

Voluntary / internship experience in conducting research in international development or related field

An understanding of development issues pertaining to SIDS is an advantage;

Good knowledge of United Nations System is desirable

Written and spoken proficiency in English is a prerequisite.

Field of studies:

Machine Learning, Data Science, Geography, Geographic Information Systems, Cloud Computing, GIS Solutions Architect, Geospatial Intelligence, Cartography, Computer Science, or related fields.


Interns are selected on a competitive basis. Applicants to UNDP internships must at the time of application meet one of the following academic requirements:

(a) Be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher

(b) Be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent)

(c) Have graduated with a university degree (as defined in (a) and (b) above) and, if selected, must start the internship within one-year of graduation.

(d) be enrolled in a postgraduate professional traineeship program and undertake the internship as part of this program.

How to Apply

Internship candidates are expected to submit electronically through the UNDP job portal:

  1. Application form (you can access through the link below)

  1. Cover letter and Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Note: UNDP internship application form, Cover letter and CV needs to be combined in one PDF document for upload.

Conditions of internship

Internships within the UN system are subject to following conditions, which the candidates should familiarize themselves with prior to applying:

  • UNDP GC-TISD will provide a stipend in the amount of SGD859.13 monthly in accordance with the provisions of the UNDP Internship Policy.;
  • Any further costs associated with the internship must be borne by the nominating institution, related institution or government, which may provide the required financial assistance to its students; or by the student, who will have to obtain financing for subsistence and make his or her arrangements for travel, accommodation and other costs;
  • UNDP accepts no responsibility for the medical and life insurance of the intern or costs arising from accidents and illness incurred during an internship. The Intern must provide proof of enrolment in a health insurance plan;
  • UNDP does not provide assistance with travel and/or housing and the Intern will be responsible for obtaining the necessary visas and arranging travel to and from the duty station where the internship will be performed;
  • The purpose of the Internship Programme is not to lead to further employment within the UN System, but to complement an intern’s studies. Therefore, there should be no expectation of employment at the end of an internship.
  • Interns must not apply for or be appointed to a position that should be encumbered by a staff member during the period of their internship;
  • Interns are not staff members and may not represent UNDP in any official capacity.
  • UNDP only accepts interns for a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of 6 months.

If an applicant is successfully selected, s/he will be requested to provide electronic versions of:

  • letter from his/her university confirming current enrollment and graduation date;
  • letter of recommendation from a professor;
  • copy of his/her most recent school transcript;
  • copy of passport;
  • completed UNDP internship application form;
  • signed UNDP Internship Agreement;
  • Medical Certificate of Good Health;
  • Proof of medical insurance.

Kindly note the above documentation is required within one week after selection.

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