Sawaid is a spatial data scientist who works at the nexus of earth science, ecology and climate change through leveraging remote sensing, machine learning, and strong domain knowledge. His key work involves forest succession, drought, and rangelands which were accomplished through collaboration with institutions like WWF, ICIMOD, ICRAF, AFCD, and KFBG. His ten years of extensive work on 70-year tropical/subtropical secondary forest succession in the degraded landscape of Hong Kong have been acknowledged by the local institutions and reported in the South China Morning Post.

He developed the first wall-to-wall forest degradation and deforestation map in Pakistan. The models and frameworks are being implemented for monitoring the forest resources of Pakistan. His collaborative work on Mangrove Cover Change in South Asia is acknowledged by NASA’s Landsat Science.  

In the area of the urban environment, his work on Smart Sensing Technologies received a team award for Outstanding Achievement in Technology Transfer from the Faculty of Construction and Environment, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His work on Marine Ecology is being translated to develop a comprehensive remote sensing based system of water quality monitoring coastal and open water of Hong Kong in the South China Sea. He applied machine learning and Big Data applications for sectoral emission monitoring across major cities of Asia. He brings a unique combination of data science and communicating knowledge by involving regional stakeholders to translate scientific knowledge into policies and sustainable management practices.

He has authored more than 80 research articles, edited special issues, and provided reviews for various scientific journals. He is also an editorial board member of Remote Sensing Applications: Society and Environment, Environmental Informatics and Remote Sensing (Frontiers in Remote Sensing, Frontiers in Environmental Science, Frontiers in Earth Science, Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution), and Journal of Spatial Knowledge and Applied Research. He has also joined the Topical Advisory Panels of the Remote Sensing and Earth.