Rovco Innes Hamilton

Staff Profile: Innes Hamilton, Onshore Geophysicist 

January 18, 2024 Time to read:  min

In the latest edition of our Meet the Team series, we introduce Edinburgh-based Innes Hamilton, who joined Rovco earlier this year as an onshore geophysicist. During her time at Rovco, she has become an asset to Rovco’s survey team, supporting with marine site characterisation and the interpretation of geophysical data.  

We recently caught up with Innes to learn more about her, including her career background, her interest in geophysics, and what attracted her to join Rovco.   

Can you tell us a bit about what your role as an onshore geophysicist involves?   

I work within the survey team at Rovco, which manages site characterisation for offshore wind farms. As part of this, I process the offshore geophysical data that comes from survey vessels and ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles). This usually involves analysing information that has been captured through different techniques such as side-scan sonar, magnetometry, or from various types of seismic datasets.  

We interpret the data to see if there are any geohazards like boulder fields or shallow gas in range of potential wind farm sites, or look at how far a certain type of sediment or geological unit extends across the site. We then incorporate this with environmental and geotechnical information to create a fuller picture of what is present in a survey area.   

Can you tell us about your career and educational background?  

I did a Bachelor of Science degree (BSc) in geology at the University of St Andrews, which was followed by a year working in environmental remediation in Glasgow. I then decided to study for a master’s degree in geophysics which, after completing, led me to three years working in near-surface, land-based geophysics, mainly for infrastructure with a bit of geothermal energy.  

I have also spent time in unexploded ordnance (UXO) risk management, which primarily involved looking at magnetometry surveys, both on land and on the marine side. That role offered a fantastic introduction into the marine sector, which eventually led to my role at Rovco.   

What attracted you to come to work at Rovco?   

I always wanted to work in renewables and wanted to take my career in that direction. Rovco is also a very people-focused company, we like to do a lot of social events, so it is nice to be able to interact with everyone socially as well as professionally. I also have flexibility if I want to work from home or work from the office.  

Specifically to my role, I enjoy working with a range of datasets, rather than just one thing all the time, it means there is plenty of variety in my work. 

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

I would say, maybe it’s an obvious answer, but working to facilitate green energy. Being able to play a part in that is a highlight. My work is a nice mix of technical elements, and more geological and creative elements. And of course, the people in the geo team are very nice, friendly, and helpful.  

What have you learned since you started working at Rovco? 

Even though I have only been with Rovco for a few months, I have learned a lot of the ‘tips and tricks’ to working in geophysics from the people in my team. Coming from working in land-focused roles, I have learned a lot about the marine side of geomorphology and North Sea geology. It is very interesting work, and I am learning new things all the time.  

Do you have any advice for someone interested in working in geology or geophysics?  

I think the right educational background goes a long way, and I think you should choose a university course that you think you’ll enjoy doing. But that’s not the only thing that led me to where I am.  

I think if you have a love of the outdoors, are a very practical person and have a scientific mindset, geology and geophysics are great spaces to work in. I think you should also have the want to make the world a better place, to understand our environment and work to protect it.  

What challenges are facing the industry today and how can Rovco help address these?    

Something that we are actively trying to do is collect fully accurate data so that we can reduce the time spent on doing surveys for clients and the amount of money that is spent doing a survey. This will also reduce the risk of geohazards arising from bad data, if an error was to occur. We want to increase the quality of data and the quality of outputs, which will make the whole operation more efficient.   

We also need to be mindful that we have a duty of care for the environment and that we must be conscious of any disturbance while we are working. 

How do you think the marine survey sector will change in the next 5-10 years?    

One thing that Rovco is trying to do, through its work with Vaarst, is to increase the presence of automation in the sector. We as geophysicists handle a lot of data that, once inspected for certain parameters, are put through a lot of similar processing steps and sequences. Many of these tasks could be done with a computer.  

So, I think in the next 5-10 years, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and automation will have a bigger presence in the industry and will be used for a lot of the more mundane tasks that humans currently take care of.    

What do you like to do in your free time?     

There are quite a few different things that I like to do outside of work, I like to read, and I love being outdoors. I enjoy going on runs and hiking, and I like to travel and explore new places. If I’m on a hike with friends and it seems like they are struggling or not enjoying themselves, I am always that friend who is trying to lift their spirits and get them to be motivated and enthusiastic. 

What is your favourite movie?    

It’s so hard to choose just one, I can be so indecisive! A few come to mind like The Incredibles, Harry Potter, Star Trek, or Pan’s Labyrinth. But if I had to pick something, I would say Hot Fuzz. It’s absolutely hilarious and is one my sisters and I would love to endlessly quote to each other. 


Follow Innes on LinkedIn here.  

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